With my thirtieth Birthday rapidly approaching I have found myself being very nostalgic. Listening to songs from my teens and thinking about old TV shows and old friends. Whilst watching old performances from Top of the Pops on YouTube I realised the big gap it has left in the TV schedules.
Top of the Pops was axed in 2006 following a decline in viewing figures. In it’s most popular though it pulled in millions every week. It was a great way for artists to promote their latest release and was an important part of family TV viewing.
By watching TOTP people were always in the know. We knew the top 10 songs and we were able to see exclusive performances and videos. I rarely know what is number 1 at any time now, yet alone the top 10. Yes, I could listen to the Top 40 every Sunday but it obviously doesn’t give you that bit extra that you got from a TV show.
Top of the Pops is remembered for some of the most iconic performances in music history. Who can forget Robbie Williams in his tiger pants or Madonna’s performance of Like A Virgin in a pink wig?
The late nineties also saw the demise of Saturday morning programme CD:UK. This also gave young people a weekly dose of musical programming that is now decidedly lacking. Saturday morning schedules are now full of cooking programmes.
The music industry is going through a tough time. Piracy is widespread and the way people buy their music has changed dramatically. We are now able to buy music digitally and stream music legally on sites such as Spotify.
When artists appear on chat shows or perform at televised festivals they will see a rise in sales. It would be a well needed boost for the industry to have a regular primetime music show in this country. I am well aware of the argument that viewers have moved on. YouTube also gives on demand access to music videos and performances. Call me old fashioned but I’d still much prefer exclusive performances of the latest hits on one chart show.
The Top of the Pops format is not dead. TOTP2 which is made up of archive performances is a regular programme on the BBC. They also show a Christmas Special Top of the Pops every Christmas Day giving a run down of the hits of the past year. The popularity of these specials show that the public is still interested in this type of programming. I doubt that the weekly Top of the Pops will ever return to our screens but it would be great to see a similar show take it’s place.