The BBC have released some archive footage of The Sweet and it's pure glam magic

Brina Connlly and Steve Priest
(Image credit: BBC)

The BBC's archive service have released some rare footage of glam icons The Sweet. The film, originally broadcast on February 28, 1974, is taken from All That Glitters, a film shot for the BBC educational series Scene, and follows the band as they prepare for an appearance on Top Of The Pops.

The footage shows the band arriving at BBC Television Centre in West London the previous year – in a Daimler that clearly needs a wash – for the annual Christmas Show. The film then follows the band as they rehearse for the show, revealing the long hours and tedium involved in setting up the performance, and detailing the long path to success followed by the band.

"We've served a hard apprenticeship", says guitarist Steve Priest. "I mean, I've been playing for years now, and it's just beginning to pay off, really. Now we're going to earn our life's wages in a very short time."  

Priest would cause something of an uproar by appearing on the show dressed as an extremely camp version of Adolf Hitler, with the Führer's traditional moustache enhanced by a costume that included a WWI-era Pickelhaube officer's helmet and an SS tunic adorned by a Nazi swastika. The package, of course, was topped off by dark eye-shadow and purple lipstick. 

While Priest's costume isn't something you can imagine Ed Sheeran attempting to replicate today, it was part of a long UK tradition of mocking Hitler using comedy, from the wartime radio satire It’s That Man Again to Monty Python's Hitler In England sketch. But that didn't stop interviewers from bringing it up again. And again.  

“It’s amazing how everyone still talks about the Nazi uniform," Priest said in 2010. "Good old BBC wardrobe department. People always want to know if I was serious. I mean, a gay Hitler. Hello?!”

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.