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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 Munkberry's club in Jermyn Street, London W1, 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 Video Show
Spotted by the British television director David Mallet, he invited Phillips to make Hot Gossip a regular feature of the 1978 The Kenny Everett Video Show, which he directed for Thames Television on ITV. The show ended in 1981 on ITV. Everett then moved to the BBC for The Kenny Everett Television Show, which did not feature Hot Gossip except in Season 4 in 1986.
In 1978, during their initial impact period on The Kenny Everett Video Show, Hot Gossip recorded "Making Love on a Phone" and with Sarah Brightman on lead vocals recorded "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper". A disco song written by Jeff Calvert, Geraint Hughes, the men behind another huge hit record in 1975 called 'Barbados'. The track reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, They went on to record an album in 1981,called Geisha Boys and Temple Girls, produced by the former Human League and then current Heaven 17/BEF member Martyn Ware. A stand out track called 'I Burn For You' was written by Sting.
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, with references to the Hot Gossip routines 'Supernature' and 'Walk on the Wild Side'. Some former Hot Gossip dancers appeared on the show, notably Jane Colthorpe and Lorraine Doyle were members of Love Machine. Then later Lorraine Doyle featured heavily in sketches as well as part of the Hill's Angels dance troupe.
Original Kenny Everett TV group members
- Males: Mark Tyme, Roy Gale, Floyd Pearce
- Females: 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 actress of the same name
There was a spin-off group from Hot Gossip. Late 1979 Mark Tyme, Dom Wood, 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 on 6 January 1982 and they were featured several times on a TV show in 1979 called Friday Night Saturday Morning on BBC One. They also were signed to EMI and recorded two singles, "Crime Buster" and "Lady Dracula".
In 1980, Sponooch toured the UK as Rick Wakeman's support act.
- Craig, Olga (29 November 2008), "Sarah Brightman's hot gossip days are over", The Daily Telegraph, London, retrieved 4 May 2010
- Nick Curtis (6 January 2010). "Lesley Manville's six degrees of success". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 78. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Geisha Boys & Temple Girls – Arlene Phillips' Hot Gossip,Hot Gossip | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Searching for "Sponooch" on Discogs". discogs. Retrieved 26 July 2014.