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December 28, 2010 / Nick

Top of the Pops


The TOTP logo used in 1968.

Image via Wikipedia

Top of the Pops was on twice over this Christmas period.
Once was the token gesture Christmas Day special on BBC One, when mothers up and down the country attempt to look hip and down with the kids by singing along with the completely wrong lyrics to 2010’s biggest selling singles. The second time was an unusual, but not entirely unwelcome Boxing Day repeat of the 1985 Christmas Special on Channel Five.

Both had me asking one question to myself: Why don’t they bring back Top of the Pops?

Now bear with me here. When it was axed 5 years ago, it made sense to end. But now, with hardly any other music programmes on television and a more balanced field of popular music there is a hole that needs filling. If equally loved and reviled TV talent shows can pull in  14 million viewers for a Take That performance, Top of the Pops could bounce back like it’s never been away.

6 Steps for Reviving Top of The Pops

  1. TOTP should be the party that everyone wants to be at. If you watch an early 80s TOTP there are streamers, balloons, numerous shots of the crowd wobbling their perms. It all looked really fun even if the song being performed wasn’t and that should be what the show’s about; Feelgood television, even if it’s maybe a bit tacky at times.

    DIANA VICKERS on The X Factor

  2. If The X Factor has taught us one thing, it’s that you can take a number of otherwise bland performances look astounding if you just chuck some lasers and capoeira dancers on it. On this year’s series of The X Factor, former contestant Diana Vickers sung what was essentially a demented and slurred reworking of ‘Under The Bridge’ but the performance was so elaborate that you couldn’t help but watch to the end. A new TOTP would need big, expensive looking staging to keep up with that.
  3. If The X Factor has taught us two things, the second is that themed weeks get bums on seats (Louis Walsh: Even if the theme is mercilessly ignored).
    A montage of 80s hair band performances from TOTP days of old +  a Live Lounge style cover of ‘More Than A Feeling’ by one of this week’s performers = Hey presto, Classic Rock Week.
  4. At least put some rave horns on it.

    Top of the Pops is a BBC One show, not a BBC Two show. If you can find an hour in the Sunday night schedule for Countryfile, you can definitely find room for TOTP. Never be so foolish to put it on BBC Two ever again.

  5. Top of the Pops, as the name suggests, should be for chart music acts. Let’s not forget that we still have Later With Jools as a platform for acts from the Radio 2/6Music end of the spectrum, but there should obviously be room for crossover.
  6. Finally, stop trying to bring TOTP into the 21st century. It’s a programme chronicling the biggest selling songs of the week – how can it be anything OTHER than 21st century? It’s the music buyer who decides who appears on each episode and that’s the most important part of the show.

So if you’re at the BBC and looking for an executive producer for this new TOTP, give me a ring sometime. We can discuss rates and draw up a forbidden act list (looking at you, Cascada).

Review: There will never be a better pop music show, but there could be a better Top of the Pops.
8/10

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