“Too Hot to Handle” was a benefit concert that took place at the Apollo Victoria theatre in London on the 10th April 1983. It was a charity performance to raise money for the stop Sizewell B inquiry fund.
Jenny Kirtley, assistant producer, remembers it well:
‘Back in the early 80’s, I was part of a local group ‘The Stop Sizewell B Association’, we were fighting the building of a nuclear power station on our
coast and were desperately raising funds to enable experts to fight the case at a public inquiry. It soon became apparent jumble sales were not
going to save the day so we toyed with the idea of a concert. Who could we get and where should we hold it?
Luckily, some of us had friends in the theatre world and music industry. A theatre director secured us a venue, The Apollo, Victoria, London, and we decided to take the plunge and go for it.
I had shared a squat in London in the late 70’s with Peter Richardson & our dear friend, the late Pete Richens, co-writer of the Comic Strip. Richardson had moved up from Devon and was the driving force in setting up The Comic Strip comedy club above Raymond Revue Bar in Soho in the early 80’s. This club helped launch the career of a troupe of alternative comedians, including the one and only Rik Mayall.
Nigel Planer was a frequent visitor to the squat and I had kept in touch with Peter Richardson over the years so when the idea of a concert came about, I called Peter who in turn called Nigel and the Young Ones agreed to join in, although calling themselves The Bastard Squad for the concert. It was a real coup, as the Young Ones were becoming popular at the time and we were extremely grateful for their support as they helped swell the audience.
The concert was filmed by Virgin and the much sort after VHS sold well for a while. Sadly, despite The Stop Sizewell B Association and many others sterling efforts to halt the build, the nuclear power station got the go-ahead and the white dome of Sizewell B dominates the Suffolk skyline. Nearly 40 years on the threat of Sizewell C & D looms large and real and we find ourselves in the same position, this time taking on EDF, the French company desperate to turn part of the Suffolk Heritage Coastline into the biggest building site in Europe.
Thoughts of another fundraising concert crossed my mind but times have changed and a repeat concert would be difficult to organise in these
strange times and sadly some of the stars of the concert are no longer with us, but we were so grateful for their support at the time. You can catch
highlights of the concert on the Together Against Sizewell C website.’
Jenny Kirtley (Assistant Producer).
Who took part in the concert?
The line up for the evening was a really good mix of music and comic talents of the early eighties era:
- Michael Palin
- Terry Jones
- Pamela Stevenson
- Hazel O’Connor
- Rik Mayall and The Young Ones (Ade and Nigel)
- Neil Innes
- Squeeze (Chris Difford, Glen Tilbrook)
- Heebeegeebees (Angus Deayton, Philip Pope, Michael Fenton-Stevens)
- Alison Steadman
- The Darts
- The Great Suprendo (Geoffrey Durham)
- John Sessions
- Tom Conti
- Jannette Charles
The concert was filmed and a 60 minute video featuring highlights from the evening was released on VHS in 1983 by Virgin Video Ltd, directed by Stuart Urban.
Kevin Turvey and The Bastard Squad featuring The Young Ones
During the beginning of 1983, Rik, Ade and Nigel were on the road touring and performing their show, Kevin Turvey and The Bastard Squad featuring The Young Ones, at various theatres and universities around the UK. This benefit concert came at the end of that tour and gives us one of the only surviving snippets of what they were performing on that tour. All be it here to what must have been a very different audience. ‘My Generation’, was apparently a song suggested to them by drummer of their house band, Rowland Rivron.
Kevin Turvey & The Bastard Squad featuring The Young Ones Tour
- 23rd February 1983 – Trent Poly
- 24th February 1983 – Cardiff University
- 25th February 1983 – Aberyswth University
- 26th February 1983 – Manchester University
- 27th February 1983 – Lancaster University
- 28th February 1983 – Durham University
- 2nd March 1983 – University of East Anglia
- 4th March 1983 – Oxford Apollo
- 5th March 1983 – Southampton University
- 8th March 1983 – Reading University
- 9th March 1983 – Loughborough University
- 10th March 1983 – Leicester University
- 11th March 1983 – Birmingham University
- 12th March 1983 – Hull University
- 13th March 1983 – York Theatre Royal
- 16th March 1983 – Teeside Poly
- 17th March 1983 – Dundee University
- 18th March 1983 – Glasgow University
- 19th March 1983 – Strathclyde University
- 20th March 1983 – Sunderland Empire
- 23rd March 1983 – Sheffield Poly
- 24th March 1983 – Derby Assembly Rooms
- 25th March 1983 – Ipswich Gaumont
- 26th March 1983 – Coventry Apollo
- 27th March 1983 – Bath Theatre Royal
- 10th April 1983 — ‘Too Hot to Handle’, Apollo Victoria Theatre
These dates are just a guide and are taken from a publicity flyer of the time, they were very much subject to change and some were even cancelled at the last minute. As noted from the Soundmaker article, they did indeed arrive a month too early at one venue, so a radio campaign was made to drum up an audience for the that evening.
Arriving in Sheffield they were greeted with the incredulous, “but you’re not booked to play here for another month!” and only hasty local radio broadcasters drummed up an audience for the opening night of the twenty date tour.Soundmaker
I’d love to hear from you if you have any souvenirs or memories of seeing Rik, Ade and Nigel on this tour or if you were at the ‘Too Hot to Handle’ benefit concert.
What is Sizewell B?
Sizewell is a small fishing village in Suffolk, England. Located near the village is the site of two nuclear power stations, Sizewell A and Sizewell B. Before the construction commenced, the design of Sizewell B was subjected to a detailed safety review by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), and a lengthy public inquiry. The Pre-Construction Safety Case was submitted to the NII in August 1981. The public inquiry was held between 1982 and 1985, and took over 16 million words of evidence, a record at the time. There was no public funding available to objectors at the time to support this inquiry and it was for this reason that an event like “Too Hot to Handle” was so vital.
The chairman of the inquiry, Sir Frank Layfield, reported in early 1987 that, subject to a satisfactory safety case, there were no substantive reasons why the project should not proceed. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate accepted the Pre-Construction Safety Case and issued a licence to proceed with construction in August 1987. Sizewell B was built and commissioned between 1987 and 1995, and first synchronised with the National Grid on 14 February 1995.
Sadly all these years later and Sizewell is still fighting another power station on their coast. Thank you to Jenny Kirtley (assistant producer)of the Too Hot Too Handle concert, for getting in touch and sharing your reminiscence. she now runs a group called TASC, Together Against Sizewell C.
Click here if you’d like to find out more and to get involved.
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