Friday, November 18, 2011

1983: Wherever you go now I wanna be there too

Tracey Ullman: all the rage in '83, perhaps at the peak of her powers. Singing, dancing, acting, comedy - she could do it all. I already loved her on Three Of A Kind, and then her songs struck a chord too, especially this one, which reminds me first and foremost of sitting in a hotel lobby waiting for a taxi to take me and Hels back to school as we'd missed the minibus. Taxi! Well, really. I think she must have paid.

I'm reminded of this because I've recently started watching Ullman's 1985 sitcom Girls On Top, which I have to say kind of passed me by at the time. I'd totally forgotten it also starred the late, great Joan Greenwood, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French and Ruby Wax. Is that Ruby Wax's one and only acting job (apart from her public persona which we all know is very different from her private one)?

Anyhoo, Tracey Ullman not only sings the theme tune, but also steals the show with her very Eighties London girl on the make, with a string of unsuitable boyfriends, fake tan, over-the-top outfits and huge mane of peroxide-blonde hair. She's a hoot. And she's a natural fox. I used to have such a thing for her, especially during and after They Don't Know. That must have made Kirsty Macoll pots of money.

And now she's resident Stateside and we barely see her. I believe she was here recently for something, but you'd never know. It's a shame, as she's a totally gifted comedian, her voices and accents are second to none. I never really took to her US show, with its all-American accents and embryonic Simpsons inserts, I preferred things like Roz the trustafarian hippy from Three Of A Kind or any character on the B-side of They Don't Know. I miss her. Let's remember her in all her glory.


  1. I've never seen that video all the way through before, so the guest cameo at the end was a bit of a surprise...we were so jealous of her when this came out that none of us would give her any credit for being talented. Which, of course, she was/is. Girls, eh?

  2. Whatever happened to David Copperfield he lucked out didn't he? I think the Three of a Kind theme is on the Girl in a Suitcase (expanded edition) comp

  3. Kirsty MacColl was due those pots of money, though. Her version of They Don't Know had airplay, great reviews and was all set to be a hit but for that wretched distributors' strike. I'm guessing that's why she was given backing vocals on the Ullman version too, so she could performers' royalties as well as those for a composer.

    The McCartney cameo was because both were filming Give My Regards To Broad Street when shooting for the video began. Very handy to have him as a willing showbiz buddy. Then along came Neil Kinnock...

    I love They Don't Know to bits. Tracey Ullman always did it for me too, though I forced myself to like Girls On Top, really. As a 12 year old I felt I had to like it as it had Comic Strip people in it, whereas in reality it was all a bit eccentric and wayward for someone my age. Half the time I didn't have a clue what was going on, and the Jennifer Saunders character gave me the creeps.

    I love that Ullman was on Stiff records, too. Even though she did mainly cover songs in a kind of retro romantic style, she carried some proper credibility through her label. Wise move by all concerned.

  4. And that's Kirsty doing the 'bay-bee' high bit cos Tracey couldn't, so I'm told.

    I wonder what happened to David Copperfield too, Mondo. Either he doesn't need to work or he's living in a bedsit and is very bitter.

    Yes, ISBW, girls are REALLY mean.