• 1981-12-24
  • No session repeats were in this show: instead, a simulcast with BBC TV of Toyah live in concert was broadcast between 10 and 11 p.m. (information taken from a closing comment by JP in previous night's show). The fact that he says at the start of this recording, 'Now you're back with me, John Peel, until midnight with the Festive Fifty', makes it doubtful that he was the concert's host.[1]
  • He indicates a liking for the Pigbag track (earlier in the year, they had already recorded their only session for the programme).


  • None


(JP: 'That was Toyah, the phantom cake flinger. I liked the bit where a bit of her hair fell off ... happens to me all the time.")
(JP: 'The big news, incidentally, if you weren't watching Toyah on television, is that she shaves her armpits.')

1981 Festive Fifty: Numbers 40-31

(JP: 'Does make a lot of the new generation of punk bands sound pretty pallid, I think.')
(JP: 'Last time I had a speaking part on Top Of The Pops was in the spring of 1968, and I'm there tomorrow afternoon on BBC Television at 2 o'clock. I think you'll love me, frankly.') [2]
  • 33: Fall: 'How I Wrote Elastic Man (7 inch)' (Rough Trade)
(JP: 'That should have been higher, reptiles,')
(JP: 'I hope that's encouraged you to spare a thought for Malcolm and his family over Christmas.' [3]
'I'm off home to play Father Christmas to the frog children...and a merry Christmas to all of you.')


  • (a) 1981-12-24 Festive Fifty #2 40-31
  • (b) JP19811224.mp3
  • (a) 0:54:06
  • (b) 1:02:55
  • (a) Very good quality stereo recording.
  • (b) 256k stereo. Includes the end of the Toyah concert.
  1. BBC Genome (Radio Times) listing confirms the time for this Old Grey Whistle Test special, presented by Anne Nightingale.
  2. See 25 December 1981 (TOTP).
  3. The Ruts' singer Malcolm Owen had died from a heroin overdose on 14 July 1980 at the age of 26.
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