Top of the Pops

Top of the Pops Theme ( 1992 )

Top of the Pops

Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, was a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. It was traditionally shown every Thursday evening on BBC1, except for a short period on Fridays in late 1974, before being again moved to Fridays in 1996, and then to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005

Top of the Pops


Top of the Pops


Cast (not all listed)

Pan’s People 355 episodes, 1968-1976
Jimmy Savile 255 episodes, 1964-2006
Lulu Cartwright 243 episodes, 1976-1981
Legs & Co Legs & Co 240 episodes, 1976-1981
Tony Blackburn 147 episodes, 1967-2006
Peter Powell 109 episodes, 1977-1988
Gary Davies 101 episodes, 1982-1991
Pete Murray 89 episodes, 1964-1981
Dave Lee Travis 88 episodes, 1973-2006
Cliff Richard 109 episodes, 1964-2006
Noel Edmonds 76 episodes, 1972-1982

The very first episode was shown at 6:36 pm on New Year’s Day in 1964. The pilot episode was titled “The Teen & Twenty Record Club”. At the top of the UK charts at the time of the series launch were: 1) “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (The Beatles); 2) “Glad All Over” (The Dave Clark Five); 3) “She Loves You” (The Beatles); 4). You Were Made For Me (Freddie & The Dreamers); 5) “I Only Want to Be With You” (Dusty Springfield); 6) “24 Hours From Tulsa” (Gene Pitney); 7) “Dominique” (Soeur Sourire (aka The Singing Nun); 8) “Secret Love” (Kathy Kirby); 9) “Swingin’ On a Star” (Dee Ervin); 10) “Hippy Hippy Shake” (The Swinging Blue Jeans).

It was not unusual, to the extremely observant viewer, to notice certain set design elements were also used in Doctor Who, and probably other light entertainment shows, while both programmes were made at BBC Television Centre. As the artist performance area stages were re-designed and re-configured every week, it made sense to re-use the more abstract design pieces – such as metal mesh and shiny corrugated elements, left over from other shows. Obviously, the “Top of the Pops” sets elements are likely to have also been recycled for other shows too, as this would have kept the overall Television Sets budget down.

Top of the Pops was created by BBC producer Johnnie Stewart, inspired by the popular Teen and Twenty Disc Club which aired on Radio Luxembourg. The show was originally based on the Top 20. By 1970 the Top 30 was being used and the show was extended from 30 to 45 minutes duration. The show was also now shown in colour following the BBC1 upgrade in November 1969. A switch to the Top 40 was made in 1984. (Radio One also changed to the Top 30 in the early 70s and to the Top 40 in 1978).

The show saw many changes through the decades, in style, design, fashion and taste. It periodically had some aspect of its title sequence, logo and theme tune, format, or set design altered in some way, keeping the show looking modern despite its age. The programme had several executive producers during its run (although not all were billed as such), in charge of the overall production of the show, although specific content on individual shows was sometimes decided by other producers. When Stewart left the show in 1973, after nearly 10 years in charge, he was replaced by Robin Nash. Both Stewart and Nash made brief returns to the show as producer after they left, in 1976 and 1981 respectively.

Runtime 30 min
1 hr (60 min) (1 episode) (UK)
35 min (5 episodes)
Sound Mix Mono | Stereo
Color Color (1970-2006) | Black and White (1964-1970)

It has been announced that on July 2006 its last edition will be broadcast. At 42 years continuous run since 1964, it is the longest-running weekly popular music TV show in the world.

When this programme was created in 1964 its producers chose to have the performers lip sync, rather than sing, their songs. The British Broadcasting Corporation openly stated in its promotion of the show that the performers would lip sync rather than sing. The reason the producers chose to have the performers lip sync, rather than sing, their songs is that they thought lip syncing would be more ethical and honest, as the show promoted the records, and therefore the audience members and the viewers had the right to know exactly how the records sounded.

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer guest presented the 9th June 1994 broadcast.


BBC Television Center


 Who appeared the most times on the show, with almost 160 performances


Who was the female singer to have appeared the most times on the show,

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