The BBC yesterday confirmed Top Of The Pops will be axed at the end of next month after 42 years as a genuine British music institution.
Dwelling less on years of rubbish scheduling, major mis-management at the hands of an over-confident Andi Peters and a recent reliance on possibly the worst presenter in pop TV history, BBC bosses spent most of yesterday explaining that a weekly thirty minute pop show is no longer relevant in a world where music is available on tap via the web and a plethora of 24/7 music channels.
Director Of Television Jana Bennett told reporters that “the time has come to bring the show to its natural conclusion”, while Roly Keating, Controller of BBC Two, said: “The team did a sterling job in revitalising the format for our audience but we all recognise that the time has come to move on.”
Most of the TV presenters who have been associated with the show over the years said they were not surprised about its demise when approached by the media yesterday. Original presenter Jimmy Savile said he was neither sad nor surprised the show had been axed, remarking of Top Of The Pops’ heyday: “In those days you would have to wait until Thursday night to get your fix and you don’t need to do that anymore. Top of the Pops has been overrun by video of music on TV.”
DJ Mike Read, who presented the show in the eighties of course, added: “It was a situation that was obviously coming because of dwindling audiences. There are lots of people who say ‘I used to watch it years ago but I don’t like the music’. There needed to be a mix of old and new.”
But another former flagship presenter was critical of the BBC’s decision to axe the show. Noel Edmonds told reporters it was “dangerous” for the Corporation to “throw out one of the most recognised brands in TV today”, adding: “It’s a huge commodity and kids are still listening to music, even if they are downloading it. It’s a tragedy when a broadcaster doesn’t understand such a powerful brand”.
He’s right you know – but more on that tomorrow methinks. Meanwhile, the Beeb were keen to stress that they remained committed to including music programming in their schedules with the likes of Later With Jools Holland and, erm, that’s it. It’s a good job Channel 4 are launching new music shows on a weekly basis at the moment, or they’d be no one left for TV pluggers to plug to.