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The continued success of "It's a sin" was followed by the release of "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" on August 10. Co-written with Allee Willis and also featuring Dusty Springfield on vocals, the single reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. Though the duo had wanted to release this track on their debut album, but they had been unable to persuade their record label that Dusty Springfield was a good idea; Parlophone had suggested that they record it with Tina Turner.
According to the Springfield biography Dancing with Demons, Pet Shop Boys had lobbied to work with her for some time before she actually agreed. The song became a huge hit and resurrected Springfield's career. This duet was also the start of a series of collaborations with high profile musicians throughout the band's career.
Also in August 1987, the Pet Shop Boys appeared on Love Me Tender, a UK television programme on ITV commemorating the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. They were asked to perform one of their favourite Elvis tracks, and they narrowed it down to two options, "Baby Let's Play House" and "Always on My Mind," eventually settling on the latter.
September 7, 1987 saw the release of the duo's second studio album, Actually, followed by the single "Rent" in October, which reached number 8 in the UK. "King's Cross" was due to be the last single released from Actually but was scrapped following the fatal fire at the London underground section of the station in November of that year.
Towards the end of 1987, the Pet Shop Boys started work on an hour-long film that would incorporate the songs from Actually. Working with director Jack Bond, the short film grew into a full-scale movie, It Couldn't Happen Here, starring Barbara Windsor, Joss Ackland and Gareth Hunt.
The film was eventually released in 1988 to mixed reviews. Footage from the film was also used for the music video to "Always on my mind," now released as a single on November 30; it became both the duo's third number one single in the UK and the Christmas number one single for 1987, infamously beating out "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues.
1988 started with another collaboration. Patsy Kensit's band, Eighth Wonder, had the song "I'm not scared" written and produced for them by the Pet Shop Boys. The song became her biggest hit single and Pet Shop Boys included their own version of the track on their Introspective later that year.
March 1988 saw the duo achieve their fourth UK number one single (and their last to date) with a remixed edit of "Heart", different from the album version (NB: The single version is included in their Discography collection, whereas the album version is used in their "Pop Art" retrospective).
The video to the single was a retelling of the Dracula story, starring Ian McKellen as the vampire who steals Neil Tennant's wife. It was seen to be ironic since McKellen was a well-known gay figure at the time (he came out in the 1970s).
In the 1996 BBC Radio 1 documentary About Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant noted that their "Imperial Phase" ended in 1988. On September 12, the Pet Shop Boys released a brand new single, "Domino dancing," and in the documentary Neil recounts his depression when hearing the news that the single had reached number 7 in the UK single chart. He felt that their major success was now over and that it was going to be a challenge to remain successful going forward.
1985 West End Girls UK#1
1986 Love Comes Quickly UK#19
1986 Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) UK#11
1986 Suburbia UK#8
1987 It's A Sin UK#1
1987 What Have I Done To Deserve This (with Dusty Springfield) UK#2
1987 Rent UK#8
1987 Always On My Mind UK#1
1988 Heart UK#1
1988 Domino Dancing UK#7
1988 Left To My Own Devices UK#4