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BBC Wusses Out Of Top Of The Pops Anniversary Special Because of Jimmy Savile

by | 2nd, January 2014

THIS year would mark the 50th anniversary of Top Of The Pops. The show was, until relatively recently, a cornerstone of British television. A mixture of people’s interest shifting to the internet, and the BBC’s complete failure to stay in touch with youth culture and an over-reliance on the Glastonbury coverage saw TOTP falling by the wayside.

savile 50  BBC Wusses Out Of Top Of The Pops Anniversary Special Because of Jimmy Savile

And then there’s the ongoing Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

PA 10929061 BBC Wusses Out Of Top Of The Pops Anniversary Special Because of Jimmy Savile

Members of the Scotland World Cup squad on stage on BBC music program Top of the Pops performing their world cup song ‘We have a Dream’ ahead of the FIFA Spain 1982 World Cup. Including (back l-r) Jim Leighton, Alex McLeish, John Wark, George Wood, Alan Brazil, (front l-r) Frank Gray (second left), ?, ?, Asa Hartford (fifth left), Alan Rough (sixth left), Allan Evans (fourth from right), and John Robertson (third from right). Also pictured is Scottish actor John Gordon Sinclair (to row far right) who appears on the record.
Date: 06/05/1982

 

The show kicked-off on New Year’s Day in 1964 and has featured a dizzying amount of superstars and water-cooler moments. From Nirvana mockingly miming their way through Smells Like Teen Spirit, to Jocky Wilson appearing on a huge screen while Dexy’s Midnight Runners played Jackie Wilson Said, to John Peel’s snippy intros, to Gary Davies introducing 808 State as “Bob State”, TOTP was always quirky, lively and fun.

totp stones BBC Wusses Out Of Top Of The Pops Anniversary Special Because of Jimmy Savile

Rolling Stones was first band to feature on TOTP

However, thanks to the Savile scandal, the BBC has all but written TOTP out of the history books (save for 70s repeats on BBC Four and the occasional special). Strange as other long-running BBC shows like Dr Who and University Challenge still get prestige treatment.

totp jocky wilson BBC Wusses Out Of Top Of The Pops Anniversary Special Because of Jimmy Savile

A book celebrates the shows grand old age and the author, Patrick Humphreys, spoke of his sadness that there would be no event to honour it, saying: “It’s upsetting because I think the show deserves to be remembered for what it was, the excitement it created and what it went on to become.”

What is particularly sad is that the show isn’t about Savile. While he was present for many iconic moments of the show, the thing that always drove it were the bands and artists that played.

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BBC Radio One DJ Gary Davis (kneeling right) with pop stars appearing on the first Top of the Pops to be sold to America.
Date: 09/09/1987

 

Cut Savile out of the edit and celebrate the music and you’re left with a wonderful and, one of the most comprehensive documents of the British pop charts. Celebrating TOTP isn’t making excuses for Savile. In fact, leave him out of it entirely and you wouldn’t even miss him.

 

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Members of the BBC TV all-girl dance troupe ‘Pans People’ play a game together. The girls can usually be seen dancing on the programme ‘Top pf the Pops’. (l-r) Ruth Pearson, Mary Corpe, Lee Ward, Susan “Sue” Menhenick and Cherry Gillespie.
Date: 01/02/1976

Naturally, other former members of the BBC have been implicated also, and Auntie Beeb may not want to put anyone in who may get accused of something… so leave all the presenters out and stick to the thing that made the show so great – the music!



Posted: 2nd, January 2014 | In: Music, News, TV & Radio Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink