Released today in 1989: H.A.P.P.Y. Radio

London HHP1

London HHP1

As if Pete Waterman wasn’t ubiquitous enough by 1988, the ITV network decided he should have a weekly show with them beginning that year. ‘The Hitman and Her’ began as part of the new autumn schedule in 1988 in the ‘Night Network’ strand, the first experiments with 24-hour broadcasting made on UK terrestrial television. Until the late ‘80s the four TV stations in the UK shut down at around midnight, and ITV was the first to run programmes around the clock – although initially this was restricted to the weekends only. An attempt to capture the atmosphere of the weekend clubbing scene, ‘The Hitman and Her’ toured British nightclubs, a different one hosting the show every week. It wasn’t live, but nearly all of the footage was recorded only a few hours before it went out. For example, the first show in the series was recorded on the evening of 3 September 1988 at Mr Smith’s nightclub in Warrington and was broadcast in the small hours of the following morning, with only minimal editing prior to transmission.

Much of the content was crowds at the clubs dancing to music selected by Waterman in his role as DJ, he being the ‘Hitman’ of the title. (So that’s ‘hitman’ as in maker of hit songs, not gangster, although some would argue otherwise citing crimes against music.) Party games with willing members of the audiences were played from time to time, and there was the occasional interview with celebrities who had things they wanted to sell. There were also PAs from artists with records to promote, often artists from the PWL ‘Hit Factory’. So, if you hadn’t had enough of Stock Aitken Waterman on the radio all day, you could enjoy their records for much of the night on TV.

The ‘Her’ of the show’s title, meanwhile, was Michaela Strachan, a British television presenter of several years’ standing, mostly on children’s programming. And she soon decided she wanted to be a pop star too, H.A.P.P.Y. Radio being the first of two minor hits singles she released during the run of ‘The Hitman and Her’.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Aug. 21
1981
ALTERED IMAGES Happy Birthday (Epic EPCA1522)
Ian DURY AND THE BLOCKHEADS Spasticus Autisticus (Polydor POSP285)
EURYTHMICS Belinda (RCA RCA115)
IMAGINATION (Leee John) In And Out Of Love (R&B Records RBS202)
Gary NUMAN She’s Got Claws (Beggars Banquet BEG62)
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK Souvenir (Dindisc DIN24)
The TEARDROP EXPLODES (Julian Cope) Passionate Friend (Mercury TEAR5)
Mari WILSON Dance Card (The Compact Organization PINK1)
1989
The CURE Love Song (Fiction FICS30)
DANNY WILSON (Gary Clark) Never Gonna Be The Same (Virgin VS1203)
GUNS N’ ROSES Nightrain (Geffen GEF60)
Ian McCULLOCH Proud To Fall (WEA YZ417)
MICHAELA H.A.P.P.Y. Radio (London HHP1)
TEARS FOR FEARS Sowing The Seeds Of Love (Fontana IDEA12)

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