Tuesday the BBC announced the cancellation of what may be one of the longest running TV shows in the world, Top of the Pops (also known by the acronym TOTP). For those of you who have never heard of Top of the Pops, it was a programme which featured performances of some of the current week's best selling songs. Its last episode will air on July 30.
Top of the Pops debuted in 1964. That first programme featured performers who would later become legendary: The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, The Dave Clark Five, The Hollies, The Swinging Blue Jeans, and The Beatles. Meant only to last a few weeks, Top of the Pops proved so successful that it would last 42 years. Over the years such artists as Status Quo (who appeared on the show more than any other band--87 times), Slade, The Boomtown Rats, Madonna, and The Spice Girls all appeared on TOTP. The show was at its height in the Seventies, when it attracted 15 million viewers. Unfortunately, in recent years its ratings had declined due to competition from cable, satellite, and the World Wide Web. In the end, Top of the Pops was not the attraction it had once been.
Speaking as an American who has only seen video clips of Top of the Pops, I must say that I am disappointed that the Beeb chose to cancel the show. Over the years it was a showcase for some of the most popular music artists in the world. I don't think any other show, not even American Bandstand, had as good a track record of drawing in the most popular musical acts to perform. I rather suspect that the cancellation of TOTP will leave a void in British programming (one that already exists on American television) that only a similar show could fill.