Saturday, August 5

Pops Goes The Greatest Music Show on Planet Earth

It’s the end for TOTP. Sod the kids, Helen Parton thinks its salvation lies with fifty quid man.

I was not just sad to see the demise of TOTP (last EVER episode Sunday 7:30pm, BBC2) but also mystified as to how this could happen, given how popular both live and recorded music are at the moment. You can barely move for a festival or party in some park every weekend during the summer and downloading tracks seems to be third only to accessing porn and researching family ancestry (one of them almost always a cover for the other eh covert historians?) in terms of ways to waste time on the web. Considering TOTP managed to weather the storm of the late 80s/early 90s when the charts were dominated by brilliant, but largely faceless early house music, I can’t understand why there’s no prime time terrestrial TV market for the plethora of photogenic pop, indie, rock and rap outfits of today.

I am wholeheartedly with those who would happily have left erstwhile TOTP head honcho Andi Peters locked in the broom cupboard with Edd the Duck creatively inserted. Unfortunately that footage wasn’t available, nor it seems was that of the Rolling Stones performing on the first ever episode. Nice one Beeb. But we did have Jimmy Savile, blinged up as he always has been since before the invention of bling, doing the valedictory presenting duties.

A happy trawl through music television memory lane ensued – my favourite bits included a slightly dumpy Madonna doing Like A Virgin, an orthodontically challenged Bowie doing Staaaaaar Man and Beyonce doing that wonderful wiggly arse thing. The BBC has a habit of not knowing what it’s got till it’s gone (and yes that IS meant to be a bit of an homage to Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell fans) such as shoving John Peel unto an untenably late radio slot until his untimely demise.

The end of TOTP has been blamed on the fact that today’s kids aren’t interested in it anymore. Bollocks to today’s kids I say. Leave them to their swapping of STDs and imbibing of crystal meth (possibly simultaneously) and let’s reclaim it for the kids of the 70s and 80s who’ve grown into retro-obsessed adults. Let’s put TOTP back on Thursdays, let’s show the whole of the top 40 and let’s have balloons and dancing competitions. Let’s have Adam and Joe presenting – they haven’t had a good TV gig in years and they’d be great. Fifty quid man, and woman, have the most music spending power anyway, so why should TOTP be at the mercy of the corner shop bothering, be-hoodied chavs?

Let’s not go down the whole Guilty Pleasures/nostalgia route though, because TOTP needs to retain its place as an outlet for great pop – as somehow I can’t see Jools Holland welcoming Girls Aloud, Pussy Cat Dolls and Nelly Furtado into his boogie woogie jamming session with the folky, world musos (though the thought of Youssou N Dour duetting with Cheryl Tweedy or possibly Jethro Tull and that-one-what-looks-a-bit-like Nancy Dell Olio-out-of PCD fills me with immense joy). Just remember to leave room in the audience for all those three-wheeled buggies.

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