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Top of the Pops was a weekly music show broadcast on BBC TV, BBC One and BBC Two between 01 January 1964 and 30 July 2006.[1]

The show featured performances by artists who had performed well in that week's pop singles charts, including the number one song. Shows were firstly broadcast live, with a studio audience, although with artists miming to their songs, although were later pre-recorded, moving back to live shows in the early 1980s. Live rather than mimed performances were also brought into the show in the 1990s. BBC radio (later Radio 1) DJs had the task of hosting the show and introducing the acts in the studio and also 'counting down' the charts. The task was eventually applied universally to all Radio 1 DJs, regardless of their particular tastes which emerged from their regular radio shows.

The show also had unwritten 'rules' concerning appearances, such as a song not being featured for two consecutive weeks, unless it was at no.1. Songs featured were for the most part already in the charts, save for 'upcoming' hits or 'breakers', or were just outside the highlighted charts of that particular week. Recordings of performances were often repeated where artists were not able to appear a second or third time. Promo videos were shown as the medium became popular in the 1980s although promo films and early video recordings had been used in the 60s and 70s. These became less important from the nineties onwards when the focus was on live performances and live 'exclusives'. Satellite links were also used from the mid-nineties.

Transmission days

1969-01-25 RT 1 cover Top of the Pops

Significant dates

1960s

1970s

  • 27 April 1973 - show moved to Friday evenings, but then restored to its regular Thursday slot on 13 September after a fall in ratings.

1980s

1990s

2000s

Dance troupes

  • The absence of a particular act whose single had done well that week was covred by the inclusion of a female dance troupe carrying out a dance routine over the song. The first of these was The Go-Jos, who were succeeded in 1968 by the most famous dancers, Pan’s People, choreographed by Flick Colby. In 1976 they were replaced briefly by Ruby Flipper, then within the same year by Legs & Co. The latter survived until they were phased out in autumn 1981, then in December that year the last in-house dance act, Zoo, the first to feature both men and women, started a run of just under two years. From October 1983 it was felt that pop videos made a dance troupe unnecessary, and the style of the whole show had moved on as well.

Notes

  1. NB no show on 07-09-1973