Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pan's People

Pan's People - did they borrow those hats from "Upstairs, Downstairs"?

"Phwoar" was the barely suppressed word on my stepfather's lips whenever Pan's People flitted across our TV screen. He never actually uttered the word because my mother's gimlet eyes would be fixed on him. Don't get me wrong, Pan's People weren't always "indecently dressed", but they were enough of the time for my mum's exclamation "Look at that! They might as well be naked!" to be etched on my memory.

Pan's People had been making men go "Phwoar!" since their Top Of The Pops debut back in the late 1960s.

When I was a little lad, they didn't interest me. But when I reached the age of ten or eleven I started feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed when they were on. I didn't want to be watching this sort of thing with my parents, and back then neither I nor anybody I knew had a telly in their bedroom. And we had to watch Top Of The Pops. It was the MTV/VH1 of its day! That half-an-hour per week was absolute required viewing.

Ah, you say, couldn't you have video recorded it for viewing at another time, when the terrible "olds" were out of the way? The short answer is "We should have been so lucky!" Although video technology had been around for yonks, home VCRs hadn't and they were wildly expensive - and those were hard times financially. As I'm always pointing out on here and on the '80s blogs, only 5% of UK households had a VCR in 1980!

The mid-'70s Pan's line-up included Dee Dee Wilde, Babs Lord, Ruth Pearson, Susan Menhenick and Cherry Gillespie. The choreographer was Flick Colby.

"It's very hard work being one of Pan's People," said Susan Menhenick in 1975. "A lot of people think we only work one night a week, when we do the TV show. This isn't so, of course.

It was reported in the 1976 Top Of The Pops annual that Pan's People worked a six day week.
The day after their onscreen performance, rehearsals began for the following week.

Babs Lord said: "Sunday is usually our only day off. Then we usually just flop down, almost dead, and try to catch up on some sleep."

The Sun, 5/11/1975 - the Pan's People "PHWOAR!" factor gets an innocent young lad into bother.

1 comment:

Cally said...

It's funny but reading this blog I realise one thing: I don't miss the 1970s at all.