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Advent Calendar: December 3rd

1980: Peter Davison had been named as the Fifth Doctor a month earlier and was three and a half months away from his regeneration. Not that that unduly concerned Pebble Mill, which brought him out of the Tardis anyway and had him evaluate childrens’ ideas of what he should wear and look like – spoiler: they’re all wrong, including Peter’s own belief he’d be bald by 2005, and surely he already knew what he’d be wearing for the series by then. In passing he still had Sink Or Swim, which began the next day, to promote.

1983: It’s almost a shame that we haven’t had a scene-shifters’ strike at the BBC for thirty years now as the unique chaos they bring to live programming cannot be underestimated. 1983’s labour dispute was the most famous of all for how shows had to relocate to the only pre-furnished studios available, so the Late Late Breakfast Show took place amid the Top Of The Pops set-up while here a stripped back Play School studio plays host for Saturday Superstore. The guests were BA Robertson, BBC political correspondent Christopher Jones, Annabel Etkind – a harpist who was very famous for a very short time, so much so she appeared on Blankety Blank, and is now leading food author Annabel Karmel – and, once the uploader has found the right bit, Bucks Fizz promoting number 34 smash London Town. Pleasingly, Mike Reid and Cheryl both bring up the infamous previous Superstore visit where half the band were prevented by fog from travelling to Jersey so the magic of CSO had to bring them together. Then Bobby and Cheryl take part in the Pop Panel along with nearly everyone else mentioned and someone Reid insists on calling Kenny – that’ll be Michael Barrymore as Kenny The Kangaroo, then.

1993: Twas the season for three dimensions. ITV’s go at the gimmick in a different year is upcoming and a week before this Children In Need had required the special glasses, not that we need to remind you of Dimensions In Time. Tomorrow’s World went behind the scenes of its filming and attempted to explain the science behind it.

1994: It’s already a weird start as they have to catch up on the previous week, but an NTV that everyone remembers comes in the middle of this Noel’s House Party. It’s the one in the cinema, where Noel and colleague hijack the film Chasers to surprise someone who went to see it just to avoid appearing on the show – it’s directed by Dennis Hopper, stars Tom Berenger, Erika Eleniak, Crispin Glover and Gary Busey and has 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, so that’s some commitment – by recreating a moment in the movie as a lead-in. Leslie Ash gets the Gotcha and there’s also appearances by Honor Blackman, Frank Carson, Jon Pertwee, Terence Donovan from Neighbours and a very short and unnecessary cameo by Neil Morrissey. Were they working on Men Behaving Badly next door and he tagged along with Ash?

1995: The Smash Hits Poll Winners Party that year was a weird affair. Reflecting the confused nature of the charts that year your performers on the afternoon were N-Trance, Pulp, Eternal, Shaggy, PJ & Duncan, Robson & Jerome, Backstreet Boys, Take That, MN8, Seal, Alex Party, Bjork, Boyzone, Menswear, M People and the Outhere Brothers. For the record Take That won practically everything. No easily available record of who or what won Most Very Horrible Thing, sadly. But alongside those, Reeves & Mortimerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Acjn7k5Oj2s opened the whole show by covering Hawkwind’s Silver Machine – no explanation, no lyrical changes unless a cameo by the riff from Day Tripper counts, never released, and they weren’t hosts. And that looks wholly explicable next to Radiohead. Radiohead! At the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party! Doing the not exactly party people-friendly My Iron Lung! With Andi Peters completely missing the point of the knowing joke in the intro! Ed O’Brien: “We had to do that just because it was so bizarre… it was bedlam – all these girls just screaming and screaming and screaming. And then we went on, there was this awkward silence and then the screaming started again – for entirely different reasons. It seemed like the entire audience suddenly burst into tears, tugged at its mum’s sleeve and demanded to be taken to the toilet.”

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