People, Pan’s


For many pensioners, Pan’s People remain a totemic icon of their early adulthood, embodying the subversive but positive notion that’s it’s possible to pursue a successful career in dance even if you have virtually no sense of rhythm.

The classic incarnation of Pan’s People consisted of five women, all called Babs, and their beguiling routines distracted millions of Top of the Pops viewers while Jimmy Saville was occupied by other matters.

Perhaps their most famous routine was their interpretation of Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, in which one dancer performed in a child’s padding pool, another stood on a chair and the remaining three carried hodfuls of bricks to represent the ‘wall of sound’ that typified Phil Spector productions.

After their final appearance on Top of the Pops in 1976, four of the Babs continued to perform on cruise liners, during the singing of Abide with Me at the Cup Final and at the state opening of parliament, while the last Babs teamed up with a group of Vietnamese fishermen to form Sampan’s People.