Having dumbed it down, given it countless pointless re-launches (thanks, Andi Peters!) and kicked it around the schedules until it finished up on BBC2 on Sunday night, the BBC pulled TOTP in 2006, citing falling viewing figures. With ITV’s The Chart Show and its successor CD:UK also long gone, there is now no regular chart-music programme on British terrestrial TV.
This is disgraceful. One of the BBC’s reasons for cancelling TOTP six years ago was that declining singles sales showed people no longer cared about the format. This has been shown to be hopelessly wrong. The digital revolution has led to a staggering 177m singles being sold last year – the most ever, and far more than in the chart’s supposed halcyon days of the 1970s and 1980s.
Sure, there are scores of specialist digital and specialist music channels, but not everyone has cable TV. There are also plenty of specialist football channels, but imagine the furore if the BBC pulled Match of the Day! If the argument runs that music shows do not attract large TV audiences, where does that leave The X Factor and The Voice? Why are the TV networks encouraging karaoke but not original talent?
The BBC is a public-service broadcaster, it is woefully under-serving music fans, and it is duty-bound to bring back Top of the Pops or an equivalent programme. We have just one more request: can it please ensure that Fearne Cotton has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Would you watch Top Of The Pops again? Tell us what you think!