Saturday, November 15, 2008


Top Of The Pops To Return - As Public Service TV

From Timesonline. This is the best news I've heard in ages. Not sure what that says about the quality of my life at the moment but there you go.

I've just posted the following on Popjustice...

"Incredibly excited about this. Must. Calm. Down.

I was loyal to TOTP right to the bitter (and blimey it was bitter) end. I agree with the poster who complained about the word "content" being bandied about, that gets on my nerves too. I say look at Top Of the Pops from January 30th 1994 onwards. Ric Blaxill got the DJs back, booted most of the Albums Chart nonsense into touch and made the show a whole heap of fun. Another thing he remembered to do was to chuck the odd left-field performance into the mix. During those first few months we got the see Mark E. Smith, Laetitia Sadier (from Stereolab) and Killing Joke on the show alongside the Wet Wet Wets and Boyzones of the day. Those WTF? moments were what made TOTP really brilliant.

When it moved to Friday nights and the first show featured two songs from Paul Weller backed by Ocean Colour Scene at the end, I thought the show was doomed. And I think whatsisface from the Tube and The White Room (Chris Cowey?) did as much to ruin the show as Andi Peters did. So long as the next producer and director remember that this is TOTP fer-crying-out-loud and not Later... or Glastonbury coverage or Strictly Come Dancing then all will be well.

God I hope this happens...."

And the following on Analogue, as news...

"Stop whatever it is you’re doing (actually, hang on, don’t - just keep reading) because great news is just in. Rumour is circulating that the best TV programme in the history of the universe, Top Of The Pops, is to return to the BBC on a weekly basis during 2009. There has been a bit of a “kerfuffle” of late regarding the cancellation of the Top Of The Pops Christmas Special (which is so obviously the best thing about Christmas TV that I hardly need to go into details). Simon Cowell threatened to step in and take the show to ITV, but apparently BBC “bosses” are reconsidering their decision to CANCEL CHRISTMAS.

Now, according to “insiders” a proper return is on the cards, with miming and the charts and probably dancers and balloons and Radio 1 DJs and all of those things that made TOTP brilliant in the first place. There is an argument being made that the resurrection of Top Of The Pops would amount to a public service. Noel Gallagher - never one to talk out of his rear end of course (cough) - blames the recent growth in knife crime to the lack of pop on telly. While visiting Westminster, Lemar of all people told the UK’s Culture Secretary Andy Burnham that TOTP urgently needs to return. The cabinet minister agreed. This speaks volumes about the show really. Top Of The Pops was always very “establishment”. Rivals like Ready Steady Go, The Tube, Whistle Test and The Roxy set out to be raucous and “edgy” but all fell by the wayside after a few short years. There’s nothing more boundary pushing or shocking than rolling out a show which features Cliff, Paul Young, Kylie, Bananarama and Midge Ure, and then throwing Nirvana or The KLF or the Manic Street Preachers in balaclavas into the midst of it. That’s how to do “subversive”.

Pop fans like myself have been deprived of a fix of mainstream pop performance on telly for too long. And as we approach 2009 the charts are in rude health. Singles, or downloads, climb the charts over several weeks, just like they used to. Then big hits stick around for two or three months just like they used to. It’s great being a chart wathcer these days, and that’s all TOTP needs to focus on - the UK Top 40. From now on, they’ll want to feature more forthcoming releases but otherwise it’s simple: stick to “the formula” (something TOTP stridently failed to do in its later years) and you can’t really go wrong.

To conclude my rather excited post, then: THIS MUST HAPPEN.

My favourite Top Of The Pops moment happened in 1987. After showing the video for George Michael and Aretha Franklin’s I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), John Peel quipped: “Aretha Franklin, the first lady of soul there - she could make any old rubbish sound good. And I think she just has…”'