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Arlene Phillips moved to London to learn and teach developing American Jazz dance routines. Employed as a dance teacher, she taught at locations including the Pineapple Dance Studios and the Italia Conti Stage School. In 1974, Phillips started forming the core of a troupe; Italia Conti student actress Lesley Manville turned her down. Hot Gossip spent two years performing in a London night club where Phillips and manager/producers Michael Summerton and Iain Burton developed the group's dance act. Phillips, Summerton and Burton continued to work together for eight years during which time Hot Gossip continued to enjoy wide popularity and success.
The Kenny Everett Show
Spotted by the British television director David Mallet, he invited Phillips to make Hot Gossip a regular feature of The Kenny Everett Show, which he directed for Thames Television on ITV. The show ended in 1981.
In 1978, during their initial impact period on The Kenny Everett Show, Hot Gossip backed future West End/Broadway star Sarah Brightman on "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper". A disco song which cashed in on the media hype surrounding the original Star Wars film. As a result of the track reaching number 6 in the British music chart, they went on to record an album in the early 1980s, Geisha Boys and Temple Girls, produced by the former Human League and then current Heaven 17/BEF member Martyn Ware. The album was a commercial failure.
The Very Hot Gossip Show
Produced by Burton and Telecast by Channel 4, the one-hour special was a vehicle for Hot Gossip, fresh from their stint on The Kenny Everett Video Show. The Very Hot Gossip Show was one of the highest rating shows for Channel 4 that year.
Hot Gossip were noted for the risque nature of their costumes and the dance routines, all designed and choreographed by Phillips, especially considering the early evening timeslot that the Video Show was broadcast in. They are often credited as one of the UK's early television dance troupes, continuing a trend which started with the Go-Jo's and Pan's People on Top of the Pops.
The group was once spoofed on The Benny Hill Show as Hot Gossamer. Some former Hot Gossip dancers appeared on the show as part of the Hill's Angels dance troupe.
Original Kenny Everett TV group members
- Boys: Mark Tyme, Lee Black, Roy Gale, Floid Pearce
- Girls: Dominique Wood, Donna Fielding, Carol Fletcher, Perri Lister, Lyndsey Ward, Sarah Brightman and Lorraine Whitmarsh.
Dancers who performed with Hot Gossip
* Not to be confused with the actresses of the same name
There was a spin-off group from Hot Gossip: in 1980 Dominique Wood, Mark Tyme, Lorraine Whitmarsh, Carol Fletcher, Lyndsey Ward, Donna Fielding, Lee Black, left Hot Gossip to set up 'Sponooch'. They were featured in a BBC show called Dancing Girls (a documentary about them) and had their own spot on a TV show called Friday Night Saturday Morning on BBC1. They also were signed to EMI and made two records Crime Buster & Lady Dracular. In 1980 Sponooch toured the UK as Rick Wakeman's support act.
- Nick Curtis (2010-01-06). "Lesley Manville's six degrees of success". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-05-20.