1 9 8 3 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
One of the strangest phenomena of the 1980s – and there were many odd ones – were the Mini Pops.
A group of precocious though talented British children aged between six and nine imitated chart acts such as Culture Club and Kajagoogoo by dressing in the same clothes and plastering themselves in make-up and performing their numbers in a bright lollipop-coloured set
The Channel 4 show made for creepy and disturbing television, though, and the series sparked a national scandal. The shows’ child stars were publicly ridiculed, and the producers were accused of sexualising kids.
Watching a fully made-up ten-year-old totlette prancing about in stilettos and a ra-ra skirt, showing a bit of leg and flashing her black knickers extensively while singing the words “See that guy all dressed in green/He’s not a man he’s a loving machine” was just wrong on so many levels.
So were an eight-year-old in a sawn-off minidress bleating Baby Love; a West Indian mite dancing past with the painted-on white mouth of a minstrel; a straddle-thighed, bare-chested urchin in black leather chirruping I Can’t Get No Satisfaction . . .
The child cast and the show’s creators were genuinely shocked at the public response but when Mike Bolland replaced Cecil Korer as head of entertainment for Channel 4, he cancelled plans for a second series.
But between 1983 and 1989, the group (the brainchild of Martin Wyatt) released seven albums, with titles like Mini Pops Magic and Mini Pops Wanna Have Fun.
Today such flirtatious displays of underage sexuality would incite a Daily Mail campaign.