TV Cream

TV: T is for...

Top of the Pops

“TOP OF the Pops, a new series for teenagers, will be based on the latest discs, mainly hits from the current week’s top 20 or 30. In many cases you will meet the artists whose records are being played. They will mime their songs. This is a departure from normal BBC practice, but the rule is being relaxed because the purpose of the programme is to let you hear the discs exactly as recorded, though within the setting of a television programme. No artist gives quite the same performance twice, but what goes out in Top of the Pops is precisely what won the ‘pop’ the first place.”

Do also pop along to Top of the Pops’ Christmas Party.



  1. Glenn A

    October 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    The real highlights were Pans Peoples dance routines. Although the most notorious one is them dancing in front of a group of dogs in an interpetration of Gilbert O Sullivan’s Get Down, there is a clip of them on a beach dancing to Sugar Me, where, wait for it, they throw sugar and cakes at each other. Their break up in 1976 was much mourned.

  2. Arthur Nibble

    October 18, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    To quote as best as I can –

    “I fancied one of those dancers. Beautiful Babs….can’t remember her name!”

    (Norman Stanley Fletcher)

  3. Glenn A

    October 25, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Apparently Fletch was going to take them all to the Italian restaurant. Beautiful Babs is, of course, Babs Lord, Mrs Robert Powell, who did in real life do what Fletch wanted to do but couldn’t and invited them out for a meal.

  4. Adrian

    January 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    You forgot the camera having to zoom in ever further to avoid the gurning audience members cluttering up the picture. Anyone remember Mike Read’s sparkly jacket?

  5. Adrian Lane

    July 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    growing up in the 80’s I remember instrumental solos on guitar shaped synthesisers that wernt plugged in anyway as they were miming

  6. Joanne Gray

    February 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    My father once told me that a band on one edition he watched some time in TOTP’s early days actually fell off the stage they were performing on and their song kept on playing, just to prove that it was all mime but the shows were transmitted live.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    March 21, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    Two eras stand out for me, the early colour years from 1970 to 1975, and the Michael Hurll party years of the early and mid eighties, where the audience were encouraged to enjoy themselves and DJs like Noel Edmonds and John Peel made corny and so bad they were good jokes about the acts. Then you had the glam years, the birth of disco the New Romantic era to make the audience feel happy.

    Lowpoint was probably the end of the seventies for TOTP, as the whole show looked dated, the audience stood around like statues and Jimmy Savile’s stints were excruciating( remember the Cousin Percy routine). Even without the revelations after he died, Savile should have been pensioned off in the early seventies as he was an embarassment by 1979.

  8. Richardpd

    November 6, 2022 at 11:06 am

    From the current repeats the early 1990s were another low point, with faceless presenters, awkward in studio performances & exclusives by established acts inevitably flopping in the charts. Luckily things perked up in the second half of the decade, with Radio 1 DJs reinstated as hosts & other improvements helped, though the “no videos expect at Number 1” rule was unfortunate.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    November 6, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    @ Richardpd, go back 30 years and rave acts were made to sing live, which was embarassing as they didn’t have a clue and already dreadful songs were made to sound worse. it was a low point in TOTP’s history as the music of the time was poor and the presenters were clueless. Thank goodness for Britpop and a big improvement in music after 1993.

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