The following clips are from Something Else, a youth-oriented magazine program which ran on BBC2 from 1978 to 1982. Part of a wave of similar British shows known collectively as “Youth TV” (or “yoof,” as some would have it), Something Else‘s run happened to coincide with the apex of post-punk, and showcased many of the era’s most important bands at the height of their powers.
The first clip is from 1979 and includes The Jam tearing through “The Eton Rifles,” followed by Joy Division intoning the sepulchral “Transmission” in what would be their last television appearance. I contacted Leila Waring, the 18-year-old presenter whose charmingly unaffected intro reveals the show’s policy of eschewing slick emcee types in favor of ordinary kids with regional accents. She was 18 and working as a junior bursar at the University of Manchester when some BBC representatives came in to inquire about filming in one of the residence halls during student holidays. “Me being cheeky, I asked what they were doing–they said ‘teenage production with a punk rock theme’–I said I would LOVE to be on and left my number.” In one of her YouTube comments on this video, she describes the experience as “frighteningly fantastic. First time ever on TV (probably the last!) but was scared to death, enjoyed every minute and upset Paul Weller cos I had to do 10 re-takes on intro.” (Paul can be seen glowering over her left shoulder.) “Loved meeting all the lads in Joy Division, what lovely lads they were and we had John Cooper Clarke on who made us all feel special too!! A lifetime experience which no one can take away from me.”
The Clash, in their only live BBC appearance, perform “Clash City Rockers”:
Siouxsie and the Banshees perform “Love in a Void”:
The Specials perform “It’s Up to You”:
And finally, a brilliant parody of the whole Yoof TV phenom from The Young Ones. The presenter is played by Ben Elton, the show’s head writer (and later a playwright and novelist of some note). Anthony Sharp, best known as the Minister of the Interior in A Clockwork Orange, also appears.