TV Cream

TV: H is for...

Hitman and Her, The

A bit of decent music sneaks into the Hacienda while Anthony "H" Wilson isn't lookingALMOST UNIQUE nightclub-based Saturday night marathon passing quickly into pub-bound TV legend. At the “helm” were eighties Hit Factory svengali, railway buff and future unofficial Music Tsar of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, PETE WATERMAN, together with ex-Wide Awake Clubber MICHAELA STRACHAN. Invariably broadcast from dress to impress, ladies free B4 11pm-type nitespot, usually Mr Smiths in Warrington. Exactly what was supposed to be gained from broadcasting extensive footage of gawky moustachioed northern chancers (including, tellingly enough, about half of what were to become Take That) dancing appallingly to SAWs Packjammed With The Party Posse, with a live PA from The London Boys if you were lucky, is unclear, and now looks rather like a folly. Still, Pete always treated the occasion with the spirit, if not the spirits, it deserved, and always wore a sober suit while Michaela did her honour-bound best to get some sense out of the baying hordes.



  1. B B Beyer

    November 22, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Saw Pete Waterman today as it happens, at the Warley model rail show at the NEC. He was promoting his range of ‘O’ gauge loco kits. Rock and roll, eh?

  2. Glenn A

    November 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    It was of its time, but that Hacienda poster interests me as would Pete Waterman really be welcome in this ultra trendy nightclub and I could imagine the reaction from the ravers if Kylie Minogue was played.

  3. A Half-Naked Dancing Bloke in a Frightwig

    November 24, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Memorably mentioned by Jerry Sadowitz in The Pall Bearer’s Revue during a sketch spoofing Points of View where he wrote in commending The Hitman and Her because it saved him buying pornography.

  4. Paul Gatenby

    November 25, 2009 at 8:56 am

    One of those late night TV programmes that, when I was a child, never had any description in the listings and as a result I had no idea what they were about. I imagined a crime comedy-drama along the lines of Moonlighting.

  5. Bob Hazard

    November 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I have the Hacienda broadcast on VHS. My favourite bit is when Michaela leaps about excitedly and shouts to Pete the dj’s are putting the records together with no announcing and you cant hear the join. Plus alot of rather wide eyed clubbers and facial chewing, for some strange reason… and the lack of taches and ties re clubs like Mr Smiths. Normally I used to avoid this when coming in from a teenage night out. Especially hated ‘pass the mic’

  6. robbie

    June 2, 2010 at 5:02 am

    My fav moment of the Hacienda night was when Michaela dropped the mic on the floor and lost it due to the fact that someone had spiked her drink with LSD.

    Very funny night, most of the regulars would not join in the usual BS that they liked to do on this show at the Kevin and Tracy clubs….Very funny.

  7. mat

    January 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    bob what are the chances of a copy or dvd

    Bob Hazard:

    I have the Hacienda broadcast on VHS. My favourite bit is when Michaela leaps about excitedly and shouts to Pete the dj’s are putting the records together with no announcing and you cant hear the join. Plus alot of rather wide eyed clubbers and facial chewing, for some strange reason… and the lack of taches and ties re clubs like Mr Smiths. Normally I used to avoid this when coming in from a teenage night out. Especially hated ‘pass the mic’

  8. THX 1139

    February 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Incongruously mentioned by John Cooper Clarke on his radio show last Sunday as one of his fondest music TV memories or something. First place he ever saw Sydney Youngblood, apparently. A life of surprises, this.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    June 26, 2021 at 10:55 am

    How nightclubs were in the late eighties, plastic palaces playing SAW rubbish and the sort of place you could end up with a bottle in the face for making eye contact with someone’s girlfriend. I do believe one visit to a provincial club was cut short when a brawl broke out. Also the reference to Kevs makes me laugh, like chav in a more recent era, this was a popular insult in the second half of the eighties for an aggressive poor white male( presumably many were called Kevin).

  10. Richardpd

    June 26, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    In France & Germany Kevin is still considered a chavvy name.

    The Man Behaving Badly book mentions Darrens in a similar contents, with Mandys being their female counterpart, who were worth the effort to date if you could keep away from any potential jealous brothers or ex-boyfriends.

    • Adrian

      January 23, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      Gary seemed to be another popular name in the late 80s/early 90s..

  11. Droogie

    June 27, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Fuzzy memories of seeing this show due to only watching it after getting home from the pub a bit squiffy. A few memories remain though. Pete Waterman always schad a look of an ageing estate agent about him in his dodgy double breasted suits and it was always hilarious watching him attempt a bit of dancing on camera before quickly getting out of puff. There was also a resident dance troupe led by a black bloke who’d wear a bright pink Tina Turner wig. Most bonkers was a feature where Pete and Michaela would read humorous news stories from the morning’s newspapers. Quite who this was for was anyone’s guess.

    • Glenn Aylett

      June 30, 2021 at 8:01 pm

      How mad late night ITV was in those days as through the night broadcasting was introduced. You had The Hitman and Her along with the surreal James Whale Television Show and films like Who Dares Wins. I think nowadays ITV nods off after News At Ten with Chase repeats.

  12. Richardpd

    June 30, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    The introduction of 24 hour broadcasting on ITV lead to some off-beat programming.

    There was even thoughts of making it a separate franchise, but after TV-AM’s struggle for market share I imagine this was idea quickly dropped.

    America’s Top Ten was a good for seeing what British acts were doing on the Billboard charts, along with being the easiest to way to hear of American bands like Guns & Roses months before they made any impact on the other side of the pond.

  13. Droogie

    July 1, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    The first late night ITV shows I recall were Prisoner Cell Block H and a badly dubbed German 70’s cop show called Derrick. A few years later came the yoof tv stylee Night Network that at least included welcome repeats of Batman and The Monkees.

  14. Tom Ronson

    October 27, 2022 at 12:49 am

    I’m sure one episode was either taped or broadcast live from one of Northampton’s concrete bunkers playing instant headache banging dance shit, populated by just enough wankers (or ‘Kevs’) to completely wreck an already unappealing atmosphere. A friend of mine from school said he tried to get in, but was turned away by the bouncers at the door, presumably because his pudgy baby face and bumfluff ‘tache were dead giveaways that he was nowhere near eighteen. Must have been gutting for the lad, because he really fancied Michaela Strachan, but ended up eating chips and onion rings at George’s Takeaway before going home alone.

  15. Glenn Aylett

    January 20, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    Whenever I see Michaela Strachan presenting Winterwatch or Springwatch on BBC Two, I always think back to a time when she wore hotpants and low cut tops and tried to big up Mr Smith’s nightlcub in Warrington with Pete Waterman. I wonder if she ever has nightmares recalling her nights out in some provincial ladies half price before 11, smart dress only club with Pete Waterman, or considers it a step on the ladder to being a semi serious presenter.

  16. Droogie

    January 21, 2023 at 6:09 am

    I recall Michaela Strachan having a very brief & unsuccessful pop career under the supervision of Pete Waterman. Neither of her releases bothered the top 60 , but I do recall her appearing on some Smash Hits Awards type show with a bunch of other godawful SAW acts like Brother Beyond and Big Fun that encapsulated the awfulness of the pop charts in 1989.

    • Adrian

      January 23, 2023 at 4:15 pm

      There did seem to be a massive difference between the music in the singles & album charts in about 1989..

    • Tom Ronson

      January 25, 2023 at 12:00 am

      I found copies of Strachan’s records Take Good Care of My Heart and H-A-P-P-Y Radio (recorded under the simple nom-de-pop ‘Michaela’ – as with S/A/W’s other hot discovery, Sonia, they obviously thought surnames were for squares) in a crate at a charity shop where I was volunteering circa 1997. They failed to chart for a VERY good reason.

  17. Richardpd

    January 23, 2023 at 10:25 pm

    1989 was a mixed bag music wise, it seemed better than I remember when I was watching the Top Of The Pops on BBC4 a few years ago.

  18. Droogie

    January 24, 2023 at 4:13 am

    You had the first wave of baggy/ Madchester bands like the Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays on TOTP at least, but they were still outnumbered by SAW tripe like The Reynold Girls and Sonia.

  19. Glenn Aylett

    May 29, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    @ Droogie, I’d rather jack than Fleetwood Mac. This line always comes to mind whenver this scouse duo are mentioned. I always wonder what happened to The Reynolds Girls as I reckon they’d be 50 or so.

    • Droogie

      May 29, 2023 at 3:09 pm

      @GlennAylett I saw an old clip of them the other night. A guy called Stuart Millard has an excellent channel on YouTube where he collects bizarre car crash TV moments. ( his piece on the Sun newspaper’s Gulf Aid concert has to be seen to be disbelieved.) He does a feature on the Children’s Royal Variety Performances of the 80’s and the Reynold Girls appear miming their hit. My main memory of them at the time as a teenager was the song sucked and neither of them were particularly attractive for pop singers. Betty Boo from the same time however.. ( swoon )

      • Glenn Aylett

        May 29, 2023 at 4:46 pm

        Fleetwood Mac had the last laugh as they’re still going now and The Reynolds Girls jacked into oblivion after one hit. Mind you, their coded criticism of Radio 1 might have inspired the axeing of sixties throwbacks like DLT in the nineties.

  20. Richardpd

    May 29, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    Betty Boo was in a good place at the start of the 1990s being able to sing & rap decently as well as having a fun vibe to her performances.

    Her first few singles were decent, right down to the videos, but it was too good to last as her Mum was diagnosed with cancer & Betty had to give up making music, even turning down a deal with Madonna’s Maverick records which could have broken her Stateside.

    By the time she could get back to recording anything the music industry had moved on & her momentum had long faded.

    In recent years she has written songs for other artists, one for Girls Aloud song that sounds a lot like her second single.

  21. Glenn Aylett

    May 29, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    The Reynolds Girls sunk without trace after their only hit and checking online, no one knows what happened to them. Possibly you could be at the checkout in a Tesco in Liverpool and Aisling Reynolds could be serving you and you’d be none the wiser. I think only people who sang on an early nineties dance record could be more obscure.

    • Richardpd

      May 29, 2023 at 8:49 pm

      I always though it ironic how almost all the acts dissed on their song were still around long after their brief career faded away.

      Yazz, the only newer act bigged up by them & a little better regarded than some pop acts at the time, went on an extended maternity leave not long afterwards & later became a born again Christian.

    • Adrian

      May 30, 2023 at 4:14 pm

      Rumour had it their father mortgaged their house to raise money for a follow up single, which needless to say disappeared without trace once released..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top