"Department S" was a British new wave band formed in 1980, who took their stage name from the 1960s TV series.
Department S evolved from a previous punk/ska combo, Guns For Hire. They were both led by the enigmatic Vaughan Toulouse, who remained the frontman and driving force.
Mike Herbage joined them and wrote Guns For Hire's only single - "I'm Gonna Rough My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Up Tonight" - which emerged on Korova Records. The group then became Department S, with the addition of Mark Taylor and Stuart Mizan.
They made their live debut at the Rock Garden, London, in July 1980. Demon Records subsequently released their debut single, "Is Vic There?", in March 1981. It was produced by former Mott The Hoople members Buffin and Overend Watts, but its initial success led to the better-equipped RCA Records picking it up. The single’s b-side, a cover of T. Rex‘s "Solid Gold Easy Action", featured Bananarama on backing vocals.
The group recorded a radio session for the legendary Radio 1 DJ John Peel on 3 December 1980. The tracks laid down were “Is Vic There?”; “Age Concern”; “Ode To Cologne (Stench Of War)”; and “Clap Now”.