Surrounded by Cilla

Cilla Black

Just thanks to flicking through catch up on Virgin last night I spotted that BBC Four had a whole night of awesome old light entertainment shows on last night surrounding the excellent Queens of British Pop series. The light entertainment variety show is something that doesn’t really exist anymore, or at least didn’t until the strangely awful Tonight’s The Night appeared last week.

Back in the 60s though it was all the rage, and the popular thing seemed to be to turn chart topping singers into TV personalities. ‘Cilla’ was one of those shows and ran impressively from 1968 – 76. In the episode shown last night, you’ll hear Cilla singing the McCartney written theme ‘Step Inside Love’, as well as performing with a bunch of dancing backing singers and duetting with Georgie Fame. Dusty sings a couple of solo tracks before Cilla joins her for a comedy duet and manages to crush her beehive into a hat. Dusty herself had a shorter 30 minute programme on the BBC in 1966. Watch it here and marvel at just how Jewish a young Tom Jones looks. I’m not sure there’s a better voice in the world out there.

Two other shows were broadcast which I’ve not yet watched. The Sandie Shaw Supplement features ‘Sandie Shaw performs music on the theme of transport and travel. She is filmed riding a horse on a Welsh beach, in a racing car, on a Marylebone station platform and in the studio, singing Route 66, Do you Know the Way to San Jose, Homeward Bound, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Girl Don’t Come, Got to Go, Planes and Boats and Planes, Day Tripper and Ticket to Ride.’ Skip forward then to 1979 for the strange concept of the Kate Bush Christmas Special. Recorded at Pebble Mill, Kate performs songs from her first two albums including a special guest starring from Peter Gabriel.

Watch them all here.

I have touched Neil Tennant’s arm.

Tonight the Pet Shop Boys will be given the Outstanding Contribution to British Music award at The Brits, and boy do they deserve it. Although I wasn’t exposed to most of their material during the time it was released and don’t know every song in their back catalogue, I would label them one of my two favourite bands. They look like such unlikely pop stars but their music and the telling lyrics always are spot on. Plus Chris Lowe is from Blackpool so double woop for him.

I adore It’s A Sin and always thought it was my favourite PSB song but recently I’ve been swayed towards West End Girls. It’s so bleak and the video captures London in the 80s so magnificiently. What London locations can you spot? Does it start on Roman Road? I am rubbish at playing spot the London location!


On the other hand here’s a brilliant Pet Shop Boys production but a terrible video from the 80s. It’s Dusty’s ‘In Private’.