In the 1980s, long before the internet made swearing at pop stars a mass participation sport, Eliot Fletcher achieved playground notoriety for a foul-mouthed phone call on kids TV.
Having sneaked past the switchboard operators at BBC One’s Saturday morning show Going Live, he was allowed to ask sibling pop band Five Star a question.
Only his question turned out to be: “Why are you so [expletive] crap?”
Now, just 30 years later, Fletcher has apologised for his outburst.
It all began when a Twitter account dedicated to Top of the Pops trivia posted a video of the incident, timed to coincide with Five Star’s appearance on a BBC Four repeat of TOTP.
Doris Pearson, Five Star’s choreographer and sometime lead singer, spotted the tweet and replied: “I wanna meet Eliot!! Twitter, do your thing.”
Shortly afterwards, an account apparently belonging to Fletcher replied by saying: “Hi Doris. Thank you and sorry.
“It’s great to hear you’re still performing,” he added.
“No apology necessary,” replied Pearson – although, in a separate tweet, she admitted the band had been upset by his tirade at the time.
“Was taken aback by it,” she told one fan. “We were really young and worked so hard for years. Of course nobody wants to hear someone say their work is awful.
“Now I look at it completely differently and find the whole thing hilarious!”
Pearson later invited her former nemesis to join her on an “[expletive] crap night out”.
He declined, telling one fan: “Doris would probably throw her drink over me and rightfully so.”
Fletcher also turned down several requests to speak to the media.
“An interview with Doris would be much more constructive,” he reasoned. “She’s still creative and actually bringing something to this world.”
Speaking to the BBC, Pearson said she was “in complete shock”.
“To be reunited with Eliot and receive an apology from him was completely unexpected.
“At least it’s defused any animosity between him and the fabulous Five Star fans, as a lot of them were still upset about it.
“The last thing I’d want is for anyone to get into a fight over it.”
Five Star were one of the biggest British pop bands of the mid-80s, selling more than 15 million records worldwide, with hits like System Addict, Rain Or Shine and The Slightest Touch.
Formed by five siblings – Doris, Denise, Lorraine, Delroy and Stedman Pearson – they were dubbed Romford’s answer to the Jacksons, and won best British group at the 1987 Brit Awards.
Their fateful appearance on Going Live came as they promoted the single With Every Heartbeat. Fletcher was quickly cut off, as the band giggled with shock.
Host Sarah Greene quickly moved on, cueing up the next caller by asking: “Have you got a sensible question?”
“I’m surprised people still remembered it,” Pearson told the BBC.
Although the clip became notorious, it didn’t help the band’s chart fortunes. With Every Heartbeat stalled at number 49.
After relocating to America, Five Star disbanded in 1995, but have frequently reunited to perform at 80s nostalgia shows.
Denise Pearson, who sang lead vocals on their biggest hits, went on to star in Thriller Live and auditioned for The Voice UK in 2012.
They are about to release a three-disc retrospective to mark the 35th anniversary of their debut album, Luxury of Life.