The YouTube Files – Grrr! It’s Betty Boo!

Here’s a look at one of my favourite pop stars who briefly found fame in the early-90s. Betty Boo (not to be confused with the cartoon character Betty Boop) was born Alison Clarkson in London in March 1970, and she was more than your average pop star. As well as being a singer and rapper, she was also a songwriter and producer, and made a large contribution to her songs, and I think the story of her career is worth sharing on here. This piece will be a look back at her music videos and TV appearances from 1989-1993 on YouTube, she only had seven hit singles during this period but they were great. betty2

Betty began her music career in a group called the She Rockers, and in August 1989, she had her first hit single “Hey DJ – I Can’t Dance (To That Music You’re Playing)” which reached no. 7 and was a collaboration with dance act the Beatmasters, which led to the first of her seven appearances on Top Of The Pops. I recently discovered that Betty also performed a remixed version of this song on her own and another video was made for this which is really great. vlcsnap-00297

1990 would turn out to be Betty’s most successful year. In May 1990 her first solo single “Doin’ The Do” was released which reached no. 7, this was also her only hit single in America, and again she appeared on Top Of The Pops. And there’s nothing I can do. Betty was just about the very first pop star I remember becoming a fan of, and I always think of her as my favourite singer of 1990, just like I think that Cathy Dennis was the star of 1991. In June 1990 Betty appeared on the cover of Smash Hits for the first time, she was thrilled. vlcsnap-00330

In August 1990 the next single “Where Are You Baby” was released with reached no. 3 to become Betty’s biggest hit. However, it also turned out to be her third and final Top Ten hit single. As ever it’s a tough choice but I have to say that this is my favourite single of hers and the video is great too. Also in this month, Betty appeared on the cover of Smash Hits for a second time and she performed this song twice on Top Of The Pops. In September 1990 Betty’s first album “Boomania” was released which reached no. 4. vlcsnap-00344

Also in 1990, although not a single as such, Betty performed “The Number One No Smoking Rap” on a 7″ flexidisc that was given away as a free gift with magazine Number One that warned youngsters about the perils of smoking to the tune of “Where Are You Baby”. So if you’ve ever wanted to hear Betty sing about lung cancer it was good news for you. Also around this time Betty appeared on CBBC’s The 8:15 From Manchester, and again it was good to discover that she made a lot of children’s TV show appearances over the years. And in November 1990, Betty appeared on the cover of NMEbetty1

In December 1990 the final single from the first album “24 Hours” was released which made no. 25. She performed this song at the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party live on BBC1, and also on CBBC’s Going Live and Top Of The Pops. Also around this time a VHS called The Boomin’ Vids was released featuring all the videos for the first album singles, plus an exclusive interview, and Betty ended the year with an appearance on the cover of Record Mirror‘s Christmas issue alongside Vic Reeves. vlcsnap-00326

In January 1991 Betty took to the chair on Channel 4’s Star Test, which by this point had been moved from a prime-time slot to Sunday mornings. For this series, there was a phone-poll element so viewers could phone in to say if they thought the interviewee was telling the truth with their answers or not. Thankfully in Betty’s case the majority voted “yes”, so we were treated to her video for “24 Hours”. vlcsnap-00116

In February 1991 Betty won the Brit Award for Best British Newcomer at the ceremony that was shown on BBC1. I hope the award takes pride of place in her cupboard to this day. vlcsnap-00114

In August 1992 the first single from the second album “Let Me Take You There” was released which reached no. 12, and we were treated to another couple of memorable performances on Top Of The Pops. She also appeared on CBBC’s The O Zone, Parallel 9 and Going Live to promote this song. Also in this month, Betty made her third and final Smash Hits cover appearance, and it was looking at this point like a lot of people were anticipating her forthcoming second album, and Betty was very flattered to discover that Madonna was a fan of her work. vlcsnap-00325

In October 1992 the next single “I’m On My Way” was released, but it only made no. 44, missing the Top 40. Also in this month the second album “Grrr! It’s Betty Boo!” was released, but this reached a very disappointing no. 62 and spent only one week on the chart. In 2016 her two albums were re-released as special editions featuring an extra CD containing remixes and previously unreleased tracks which are a great listen. vlcsnap-00284

In April 1993 Betty’s final single from the second album “Hangover” was released which made no. 50. Even though Betty performed this song on various CITV shows including What’s Up Doc and The Disney Club along with BBC1’s Pebble Mill, again she failed to make the Top 40. And by this point, Betty had become somewhat disillusioned with the music scene, and unfortunately this was the last that we heard of her for a while. vlcsnap-00277

This wasn’t the end though. Betty did appear on TV a few more times in the 90s, including Channel 4’s The Music Game in 1993, BBC1’s Pop Quiz in 1994, and Channel 4’s TFI Friday in 1996. She then went on to become a songwriter for other acts, and appeared on Channel 4’s Top Ten in 2000 looking back at her success a decade earlier. Betty suddenly hit the headlines again in 2001 when “Pure And Simple”, a song that she had co-written a few years earlier was recycled as the debut single for pop group Hear’Say who were put together on ITV1’s Popstars series which went on to become one of the biggest Number Ones of its era, and also won an Ivor Novello award, although Betty did say that she wasn’t a fan of manufactured pop groups. vlcsnap-00306

Also, a contestant performed “Where Are You Baby” as Betty on ITV1’s Stars In Their Eyes in March 2002, well over a decade after it was a hit. After this, Betty did have a couple of minor hit singles in the late-2000s, including a project called WigWam which was a collaboration with Alex James from Blur. Betty still performs her hits on stage at various festivals around the world and it’s fantastic to know that nearly three decades on she’s still doin’ the do.

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CITV Memories – Skull.

Skull (CITV, 1990-1991)

I’ve already written about why I was a fan of the rather spooky CITV Saturday Morning show Ghost Train, and one of the reasons was because of the game show segment that deserves a separate piece looking back at it. I don’t think that Skull featured in all three series, but it was definitely in the last two. Skull was a somewhat chaotic game that featured a lot of mess and it was played in three parts.

In the first part a contestant alongside one of the hosts of the show had to jump in a pool and find the skull, because this contained some questions. Whilst they tried to find it, the main villain Barry and his band of baddies would squirt them with gunge and everyone would cheer them on. When they did finally find it, the host, who was already exhausted after having to search, would ask three questions. vlcsnap-00223

While the questions were asked, Barry and the baddies would be watching on, because if they got any of the questions wrong they would throw even more gunge over them, and the contestant would have a disadvantage in the second stage of the game. In case they got all three right, Barry would ask another question himself which was usually impossible with the hope that there would be at least one wrong answer resulting in a squirting. vlcsnap-00222

The second part of the game wasn’t as messy, but was just as unpredictable. The contestant would enter a room with a chequered floor which contained blindfolded baddies holding maces (how many they faced depended on how many questions they got right in the first round), and they could only step on the white squares. If they got hit they would lose the game, much to the delight of Barry. vlcsnap-00225

If they got past them without being hit though, they would enter another room to play the final game where they would have to face the man himself Barry. This time, both the contestant and Barry would be blindfolded, and if they managed to beat him in the main duel by successfully banging him on the head with their mace, they would win a prize that money can’t buy… that’s right, a jacket! vlcsnap-00226

It was also rather amusing when in the final edition of the series the game reached its rather inevitable conclusion when all three hosts took part and pushed Barry in the pool at the end. Also, one of Barry’s baddies was played by Mark Heap who in more recent years went on to have a lot of success as a comic actor. I always thought that Skull was great fun and livened up Saturday Mornings just really because it was so ridiculous.

The Comedy Vault – Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible.

Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible (BBC2, 2001)

I know that Halloween has recently been and gone but here’s a look back at a particularly spooky comedy show that I remember. In 2001 Steve Coogan decided to try something a little different. This was Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible, a six-part series which featured horror stories set in various times that were introduced by the mysterious and rather creepy Dr Terrible who invited you to fill your mouth with fear. vlcsnap-00123

Each week a different story would be told, and Coogan played the main character in all of them, so along with Dr Terrible he played seven characters in the series. Coogan also co-wrote the series, and he was joined by various actors throughout the episodes including Ronni Ancona, Alexander Armstrong, Sally Bretton, Warwick Davis, Ben Miller, and Simon Pegg, along with a few veteran actors who appeared in the original films being parodied for a little touch of authenticity. vlcsnap-00214

There really were some moments that were rather gruesome, including the story where an award-winning ballroom dancer from the 1930s loses his feet in a freak accident, and he then has a foot transplant, but his new pair seem to be cursed, the 1880s doctor from Edinburgh who is having a lot of trouble trying to find a cure for various diseases, and the story set in the 17th century which featured rather a lot of witchesvlcsnap-00215

One of my favourite stories was the one set in London in 1970s where three rather different people are trapped in a lift and their dreams become nightmares, and there was another memorable one set in the 19th century where a newlywed couple encounter some curiously lusty vampires on their honeymoon, and at the end of every story, Dr Terrible would simply conclude “that was truly diabolical”. vlcsnap-00213

The show also featured various characters who were named after production companies that made horror films, and most of the stories were parodies of real films in the horror genre, mostly from the 60s and 70s, and it was clear that the writers were fans of these films and enjoyed the chance to parody them. The show has been released on DVD and features some extras including a look behind the scenes, and some interviews with the cast. vlcsnap-00219

Although Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible was a creative show that did have some scary and funny moments, it received a rather modest response from critics and viewers, meaning that after only one series, Dr Terrible was never seen again and he is forgotten now, but a year later, Coogan returned to BBC2 for another series of his sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, one of his comedy characters that has definitely endured with viewers.

35 Years Of Channel 4.

It’s the 35th anniversary of the launch of Channel 4. Just like I did for the 20th anniversary of Channel 5 earlier in the year, here’s a quick look back at some of their most memorable programmes including game shows, sitcoms, and cartoons that I have already reviewed on this blog which are among my favourites to have ever been shown on Channel 4 over the years, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed watching these too. vlcsnap-00087

Absolutely. The sketch show which featured a wide variety of terrifically odd and funny characters.

The Adam And Joe Show. Another enjoyably inventive comedy show.

Ant And Dec Unzipped. The cheeky duo (as everyone likes to call them) have a go at doing a comedy sketch show. vlcsnap-00545

As If. The innovative teen drama.

Backdate. The daytime game show with questions based on 20th century events.

The Big Breakfast. The only way to start your day with Chris Evans and co.

Bits. The lively late-night computer games show. vlcsnap-00088

The Chart Show. All the latest music videos being rewound and fast-forwarded.

Countdown. Where it all began. The very first programme shown on Channel 4, and it’s still going. vlcsnap-00280

The Crystal Maze. The popular adventure game show that was recently revived.

Deal Or No Deal. The rather exciting big money game show.

Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. The Saturday night game show that offered some of the biggest prizes around.

Doug. One of the cartoons that I remember watching on Sunday mornings.

Father Ted. This one needs little introduction. Widely considered to be one of the best sitcoms of its era. ted

Fifteen-To-One. The challenging general knowledge game show.

Fluke. The quirky game show hosted by Tim Vine which was entirely based on luck.

Gamesmaster. Another show that entered the world of computer games. vlcsnap-01284

Garth Margenhi’s Darkplace. Sitcom that was a parody of 1980s drama series.

Harry Hill. Another terrifically creative and funny comedy show.

Hollyoaks. The long-running soap. vlcsnap-00313

The IT Crowd. Another entertaining sitcom.

The Music Game. A game show with questions asked about all types of music.

Peep Show. Mitchell and Webb keep an eye on one another in this sitcom.

Perfect Recall. The memory test daytime game show hosted by Terry Wogan. vlcsnap-00685

Rocko’s Modern Life. A crazy cartoon that I remember enjoying a lot.

Star Test. Celebrities are questioned by a computer.

TFI Friday. The entertainment show that meant the weekend was here. vlcsnap-01438

Think Tank. Another short-lived daytime game show.

Two Stupid Dogs. Another amusingly silly cartoon that was shown on Sunday mornings.

Vic Reeves Big Night Out. The show that put Reeves And Mortimer among some of the biggest names in comedy.

If you’ve got any extra memories of watching Channel 4 shows however popular or little-known they are it’d be good to know about them, and I’ve got many more reviews of Channel 4 programmes to come.

The YouTube Files – The Spooky World Of Shakespear’s Sister Part 2.

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Here’s a question for you. Who holds the record for having the longest-running Number One single by an all-female group in UK chart history? Little Mix? All Saints maybe? It’s got to be the Spice Girls hasn’t it? Well actually, it’s none of those, it’s Shakespear’s Sister. Everyone who enters the music business must hope that they can write that once in a lifetime song that will bring them fame and fortune, and it appears that they had done it with “Stay”, so it became the second single to be released off the second album. vlcsnap-01271

There was little indication of what was to come when “Stay” entered the singles chart at a modest no. 27 in January 1992, actually one place lower than “You’re History” did in 1989. One of their earliest performances of the song was on Jonathan Ross’s Channel 4 show. But what really gave the song a boost was when the video started to be shown on TV. People were stunned by Marcella’s emotion and Siobhan’s rather crazed performance as they battled it out somewhere in space. “I Heard A Rumour” it ain’t. It is remarkable to think that Siobhan successfully left her girl group days behind and became a terrific goth rocker, what a transformation! vlcsnap-00987

What would the public’s response to all this be? They wouldn’t go anywhere near all this strangeness, wouldn’t they? Well incredibly… they loved it. “Stay” spent eight consecutive weeks at Number One and ended up as the fourth biggest-selling single of 1992 in the UK, behind “I Will Always Love You”, “Rhythm Is A Dancer”, and “Would I Lie To You”, and it was the fourth longest-running UK Number One single of the 1990s decade, behind “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”, “Love Is All Around”, and “I Will Always Love You”. “Stay” also made the Top Five in the US and was featured on “Now 21”. It still stirs feelings in me 25 years later and to think that all of this actually happened and it wasn’t all a dream I had really is terrific. vlcsnap-00989

In February 1992 the second album “Hormonally Yours” was released which reached no. 3 and spent over a year on the chart. They were now one of the biggest bands around. But how do you follow “Stay”? In May 1992 the next single “I Don’t Care” was released which reached no. 7, becoming their third and final Top Ten hit single. This was another terrific song accompanied by a classic video, the highlight being the moment when Siobhan’s head appears on a theatre stage to recite a nonsense poem from the 19th century. They don’t make them like that any more. vlcsnap-00013

It’s very difficult to pick my favourite single by them, but “I Don’t Care” is definitely up there with the best. They also performed this on Top Of The Pops, American TV’s The Late Show With David Letterman, and best of all, BBC1’s Bruce’s Guest Night, an entertainment show hosted by Bruce Forsyth. I’m sure that he was a big fan. In June 1992 they performed in front of a huge crowd on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury festival. vlcsnap-00088

In July 1992 “Goodbye Cruel World” was given a second chance, and this time it did make the Top 40, reaching no. 32. Around this time Siobhan was interviewed live on TV-am by Lorraine Kelly. They were also interviewed on CBBC’s The O Zone and performed on Parallel 9. It seems that they didn’t make many children’s TV appearances, but to discover that they appeared on the first series of Parallel 9 which is one of my favourite Saturday Morning shows is something of a dream double. vlcsnap-00171

In November 1992 the next single “Hello (Turn Your Radio On)” was released, which reached no. 14. This is a song that’s so downbeat as to make “Stay” seem a right old knees-up by comparison. Once again, it had an eye-catching video and they really were making songs that sounded like no-one else on the scene at the time. Around this time they appeared on BBC2’s Later With Jools Holland and they were also scheduled to play at the Royal Albert Hall which would have been their most high-profile concert to date, but Siobhan pulled out and it was cancelled. Also in 1992 a VHS was released containing the videos for the singles from “Hormonally Yours”. vlcsnap-00158

In December 1992 they performed at the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party live on BBC1 at the Olympia Arena. Siobhan looked rather exhausted and unhappy, performing “Stay” for what must have felt like the 500th time, it had been a relentless year for them, they had successfully toured around the world and crowds always enjoyed them, and they were hardly ever off MTV, but there were rumours growing around this time that Siobhan and Marcella no longer enjoyed working with one another. Indeed, this would turn out to be their final performance together. vlcsnap-00199

In February 1993 the final single off the album which had been milked somewhat by that point was an EP featuring “My 16th Apology”, “Catwoman”, their cover of T-Rex’s “Hot Love”, and a live version of “Dirty Mind” which reached no. 61. There were no new videos as such. The video for “My 16th Apology” was compiled from highlights and outtakes from the other second album videos, and the “Catwoman” video was a compilation of some live performances. They also performed “Hot Love” alongside Tom Jones on his ITV music show The Right Timevlcsnap-01263

Also in February 1993, they won the Brit Award for Best Video for “Stay”, could any other video have won it? Marcella accepted the award at the ceremony shown on ITV, but Siobhan was absent. In May 1993, they won an Ivor Novello award for their songwriting work on “Hormonally Yours”. Again, Marcella made an acceptance speech. An announcement was then made on Siobhan’s behalf (who was absent again) that Marcella was leaving the band. This was the first that she had heard of it, essentially meaning that she was sacked live on stage. Marcella was reported to be unhappy with how her departure was handled, and went off to resume her solo career. Siobhan and Marcella haven’t seen or spoken to one another since. vlcsnap-00166

In March 1994 Marcella’s second solo album “Jewel” was released which reached no. 15. Also in 1994 she had hit singles with “I Believe” (no. 11), “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”, (no. 24, a duet with Elton John), and “I’m No Angel” (no. 33). In July 1994 she appeared on CITV’s Saturday Morning show Gimme 5 to promote “I’m No Angel” where she got more than she was expecting. First of all she spoke to our old friend Nobby The Sheep, and then played Tweak The Beak. I do remember this game, but I didn’t realise that she had played it. She failed to get the answers right and the end result was that she was gunged. I suppose it was good that she was game but she looked so embarrassed. That’s the perils of live children’s TV, you go on the show to promote your single and you end up being interviewed by a puppet sheep and having green stuff thrown over you. She probably sacked her management afterwards. 

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In June 1996, with Shakespear’s Sister now a solo project again, Siobhan finally returned with what was planned to be the first single from the third album “I Can Drive”, which reached no. 30. She performed this song on various shows including Top Of The Pops, Channel 4’s TFI Friday, and Richard And Judy’s prime-time show on ITV. I also remember watching the video on The Chart Show and it really was great seeing Siobhan back on the scene doing her thing again. Unfortunately the label weren’t too impressed with the content of the third album “#3” and refused to realise it. At this point a somewhat disillusioned Siobhan decided to bring the project to an end. vlcsnap-00174

Marcella released some more singles in the mid-90s which made a minor impact on the chart, “Perfect World” (1995, no. 100), “I Hate You Now…” (1996, no. 96), and “Boy” (1996, no. 83), followed in September 1996 by her third solo album “Feeler” which didn’t chart. In November 1996 Marcella appeared as a panellist on BBC2’s comedy music show Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and in December 1996 she appeared in two episodes of BBC1 sitcom Absolutely Fabulousvlcsnap-01080

Siobhan and Marcella have gone to release many more interesting singles and albums separately in the 20+ years after 1996, I might review those in a third part one day, along with taking a look back at Bananarama’s hits too. Of course I have already told the story of when I discovered that Siobhan lived in the same part of London as me and invited Keren and Sara round her house here one night a few years ago for a party which led to their reunion, I almost fainted when I found out. One thing’s for sure though, Siobhan won’t be inviting Marcella round for a cup of coffee any time soon. Reading that story reminded me how much I enjoyed Shakespear’s Sister and it made me want to discover more extrovert women who made quirky records in the 80s and 90s, leading me to do the pieces about Danielle Dax, Fuzzbox and Strawberry Switchblade that I really enjoyed putting together, their stories are worth telling and they all deserve more acclaim for their contribution to pop music over the years, and there’s more to come. I hope that Siobhan along with Keren and Sara have a great time on their reunion tour.

The YouTube Files – The Spooky World Of Shakespear’s Sister Part 1.

After writing about Shakespear’s Sister a lot on here, I have decided to do a piece looking back at their career. Not only did they make some great records, but their rise to fame was an incredible story. It’s similar to what happened to Strawberry Switchblade who I wrote about on here recently, they were also a female duo with a distinctive look who suddenly found success which caused tension between the pair of them, but this all happened to Shakespear’s Sister on a much larger scale.

In 1988 Siobhan Fahey (born in Dublin in 1958) left the successful pop group Bananarama to work on a new solo project. After a while she was joined by the American singer/songwriter Marcy Levy (born in Detroit in 1952) and they made an intriguing double act. Marcella had already been in the music business for a long time, working alongside the likes of Eric Clapton in the 1970s, having a US hit single in a duet with Robin Gibb in 1980, and releasing her first solo album “Marcella” in 1982, although this wasn’t a success. This will be a look back at some of their various TV appearances and music videos on YouTube from 1988-1996 and it will be in two parts. s1

It all started so quietly. In October 1988 the first single the double A-side “Break My Heart (You Really)”/”Heroine” was released, but it wasn’t a hit. All of the videos from this era (with the exception of “Dirty Mind”) were directed by the award-winning Sophie Muller, and they were all marvellous, with a lot of hard work put in to make sure that their image was as striking as their sound. At this point it seemed highly unlikely that Siobhan would transform into someone trying to beat Siouxsie Sioux at her own game but that’s how it turned out. One of Siobhan’s earliest TV appearances talking about her new project was on ITV’s Night Network where she was interviewed by Pat Sharp’s mate Mick Brown. vlcsnap-00170

Also around the end of 1988 a 15-minute film was made of their visit to the USSR which featured some bizarre behind the scenes action along with performances live on stage in Leningrad of “Dirty Mind” and “Heroine” (where Siobhan looked uncannily like Jessie J oddly). vlcsnap-01241

In July 1989 the big breakthrough came when “You’re History” became their first Top Ten hit single, reaching no. 7, and leading to their first appearances on Top Of The Pops and The Chart Show. This was the first video to feature Marcella who was now a full-time member and by this point she had changed her surname to the city of her birth. What was noted by many people was the contrast between Siobhan’s low voice (her vocal style was once described by Q magazine as “honking from the bowels of Hades”) and Marcella’s high voice. vlcsnap-00210

Also in July 1989 Siobhan appeared as a guest on Channel 4’s Star Test. This was a great  show so it’s very good to know that Siobhan once sat in the chair to be interviewed by the disembodied voice. She revealed some interesting things about herself including the first single that she ever bought was “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Michael Jackson, she does believe in ghosts, and she is totally fascinated by world events. When asked to promote “You’re History”, she said that making the video was “a scream to do”, and concluded “it’s fabulous actually, I just love it”. vlcsnap-00198

In September 1989 the first album “Sacred Heart” was released which reached no. 9. In October 1989 the next single “Run Silent” was released which reached no. 54, and the video was shown on The ITV Chart Show. It was also around this time that Siobhan appeared on the cover of music magazines Record Mirror and Smash Hits, where we were given a chance to enter her spooky world. A VHS containing the videos of the singles from “Sacred Heart” (plus the Russian film) was released in 1989. vlcsnap-00211

In March 1990 the final single from the first album “Dirty Mind” was released, but it reached a rather disappointing no. 71. This was a remixed version which was totally different to what was on the album and it featured a rap from Marcella! Also in 1990 they were nominated for a Brit Award in the Best British Newcomer category, but they didn’t win. vlcsnap-00213

When work began on the second album “Hormonally Yours”, they must have decided although they had done well they wanted to take their success to the next level. Some of the album’s songs and videos were influenced by the unintentionally bad low-budget 1953 science-fiction film Cat-Women Of The Moon. There was a song that was beginning to stand out and look like it had the best chance to finally take them into the upper end of the chart. Siobhan didn’t want this song to be released as a single though, saying that she felt that it wasn’t representative of the band’s sound as a whole (and possibly because it the only song where Marcella took the lead vocal). So instead, the first single off the second album was chosen to be “Goodbye Cruel World”. vlcsnap-00249

In October 1991 “Goodbye Cruel World” was released and it was accompanied by another great video that was influenced by such classic films as Sunset Boulevard and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and featured some marvellous acting by Siobhan. It was also 1991’s Best Video Of The Year on The ITV Chart Show. However, it didn’t get the second album off to the high-profile start that they wanted and it only reached no. 59. vlcsnap-00011

After this setback, it was at this point that the decision was made that they would now have to release this song with potential as the second single off the album, they were practically sat on a Number One single and it was felt that people would enjoy it and it would finally bring them huge success, but Siobhan was still rather reluctant. Would this song revive their faltering career? Well as we’ll discover in part two, at the beginning of 1992, a phenomenon was born…

Game Show Memories – Stars In Their Eyes Champion Of Champions.

Stars In Their Eyes Champion Of Champions (ITV, 1999)

This is another variation on the popular singing contest Stars In Their Eyes. After the end of the 10th series in 1999, the decision was made to have the ten series winners compete against one another to determine who was the best of them all from the past decade in a special live edition shown on ITV in October 1999 that was almost two hours long and I remember watching it at the time. Matthew Kelly was the host and he wore his fanciest bow-tie for this big occasion. vlcsnap-00005

This edition was a sort-of deluxe version of a grand final, and all ten of the series winners took part, from singers as Shirley Bassey who won the first series in 1990 to Chris De Burgh who won the most recent series in 1999, and they went through those famous doors to be transformed into their singing idol one final time, with their performance accompanied by a live orchestra. vlcsnap-00062

Also taking part were singers performing as Nat King Cole (1991), Patsy Cline (1992), Alison Moyet (1993), Marti Pellow (1994 and 1996, yes, there were two singers who won as the Wet Wet Wet frontman, viewers seemingly couldn’t get enough of him), Bobby Darin (1995), Olivia Newton-John (1997), and Neil Diamond (1998). vlcsnap-00075

Everyone who took part was also given a small silver trophy to acknowledge their success, and we also discovered what they had all be up to since becoming a champion. Also, the specially invited studio audience consisted of the contestants’ friends and family, plus some celebrities, who mostly seemed to be from the cast of Coronation Streetvlcsnap-00023

After everyone had performed, the phone-lines were then opened for about an hour, and you could even vote through their fancy new website. Who would the ITV viewers determine as the winner? Matthew’s virtual friend Hayley revealed the results. It turned out to be Ian Moor whose performance of Chris De Burgh’s 1986 chart-topper “The Lady In Red” received over 480,000 votes and he won by a big margin, with more than double the votes of the second-placed contestant, winning him the main trophy and a lot of applause. He was rather pleased. I thought that this was the edition where the man himself joined Ian on stage to congratulate him on his success, but that was actually when he performed again at the 2000 grand final. vlcsnap-00002

Stars In Their Eyes was a long-running show and there were several more variations on the format over the years, including lots of celebrity specials, a children’s series, and even a version featuring singers from across Europe, along with the revival a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t as big a fan of those versions, this edition was definitely one of the highlights of the show’s run.