Tue 20 Jun, 2006 11:51 pm
It was my all favourite from the very first days (on Brtish tv, otherwise of course "The Archers"
Top of the Pops axed
Wednesday June 21, 2006
Forty-two years after the Rolling Stones opened the first show with I Wanna Be Your Man, the BBC is finally calling time on Top of the Pops. The chart show, which made TV stars out of the likes of Noel Edmonds and Tony Blackburn, will run down its last-ever top 40 on July 30.
Audiences have plummeted since its 1970s heyday, when it was watched by 19 million viewers, and fell further when it switched from BBC1 to BBC2 last year in a last-ditch relaunch.
Successive presenting teams have failed to breathe new life into the format. In its latest incarnation at Sunday teatimes, audiences have fallen to little more than 1 million viewers.
The show has been under pressure from the proliferation of 24-hour music channels and the decline of the singles chart. The internet and the growth in music downloading helped boost single sales, but internet users do not need to wait for a once-weekly chart update.
Jimmy Savile, who presented the first show from a disused church in Salford on January 1 1964, said: "Top of The Pops as such is being axed but its place is being taken by at least 20 television channels banging away 24 hours a day on satellite TV. Early Top of the Pops was something nobody else had done. Radio 1 hadn't been invented. It was a life of constant excitement for all of us involved. It was a pop phenomenon."
The show is being axed as part of BBC director general Mark Thompson's Creative Future review. Long-running Saturday sports show Grandstand is also being axed as part of the same review.
The BBC's director of television, Jana Bennett, said: "We're very proud of a show which has survived 42 years in the UK and gone on to become a worldwide brand, but the time has come to bring the show to its natural conclusion."
The programme was moved from its traditional Thursday home to a Friday slot in 1996. It doubled its audience to more than 5 million when it was relaunched in 2003, but ratings fell away again, prompting its switch to BBC2.
Edmonds, who hosted the show between 1970 and 1989 and now presents Channel 4's Deal or No Deal, expressed dismay at the decision. He said: "I think it's a dangerous thing to throw out one of the most recognised TV brands. It's a tragedy when a broadcaster doesn't understand such a powerful brand."
From the print version of today's Guardian, page 11:
My second favourite music programme during the seventies! ...The first being "whistle test", of course.
I'm glad I saw it regularly in its heyday, back when men were REAL men and the glitter on their platform boots matched their lipstick and eye shadow.
Ones that seem to stick in the mind?
Mud - "Tiger Feet"
Slade - Mama but we're all crazee now, and the Xmas song.
T Rex - Telegram Sam, Hot Love, etc.
Status Quo - many tunes that sounded the same.
Stones - Only rock 'n' roll - with all the bubbles.
Wizzard - Ball park incident - angel fingers - Xmas song.
The Sweet - Ballroom Blitz, Blockbuster.
Pan's People, especially that bendy one with the long black hair.
The miming was terrible, the fashions awful, but it was all about having fun.
It was to be another three years after TOTP started, that the BBC finally gave way to public pressure and opened a "pop" radio station, called "Radio 1".
Prior to that, the BBC had only provided the type of music and entertainment that one's dad would find mildly interesting, but which had no appeal for teenagers.
"Pirate" radio stations, such as radio Luxembourg, Radio Caroline and Radio London had been broadcasting off the south coast of England, just outside the three mile jurisdiction limit.
The DJ's were taken by small boat to the radio ships, anchored at sea. At the end of their week long shift, they were again taken by small boat back to either England or mainland Europe.
I distinctly recall listening to these broadcasts in my bedroom late at night, with the aid of a heavy transistor radio that constantly fazed off channel and had to be fine tuned back on to the music. On some nights, the ships would be battered about by storms at sea, and the needle would regularly jump on whatever record was being played at that time.
The government had brought in laws to ban these stations, but in the end, it was obvious that the BBC would have to provide a similar service of their own, such was the demand.
Several popular "pirate" DJ's were offered contracts with the BBC, including Tony Blackburn and Simon Dee.
Blackburn opened the very first broadcast, the breakfast programme, at 7am on September 30th, 1967.
His first words were "... And good morning everyone. Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1".
The first record played on Radio 1 was "Flowers in the Rain" by The Move.
My brothers and I were huddled round our big old stereogram at the time, enjoying the mind blowing phenomena of modern "groovy" music coming from this wonderful new Station. No more late nights with the radio, no more fizzing and buzzing.
Britain had finally found its groove.
You remember who bad Ready Steady Go looked when they started, don't you LE?
Btw: I just noticed that I really saw Pop of the Pops the first time just half a year after they started.
Ready Steady Go! What a bloody silly programme, looking back on it now. David Jacobs? He sounded like Prince Charles, and was just about as groovy!
Other programme......"Hit or Miss", with that Liverpudlian woman who had the famous catch phrase when giving her score...."I'll give it foive".
Laughable now, really.
Hit or Miss - one of the programs, I couldn't follow at follow ... at first
(There were some more, I only could watch the pictures .... when I was 14, 15
(And as it is still today: From Lords ... :wink: )