Top Of The Pops Trivia

Trivia about the BBC programme Top Of The Pops including the first episode, the presenters, the groups and singers, the dancers, annuals and records

Top Of The Pops Top of the Pops (TOTP) was first broadcast on BBC1 on New Year's Day in 1964 at 6:36pm, from a converted church on Dickenson Road in Longsight in Manchester. This and each edition was 30 minutes long. The original music programme was only commissioned for six episodes but was so successful that it lasted for over 40 years.

The format of TOTP changed little over the years. It would have a top 40 chart run down and culminate with a performance by that week's number one group or ringer. Bands would appear live or show a video. In the early years performances were mimed, though later as technology got better bands, groups and singers would sing and perform live. Groups that did not have a video, which was common in the 1960s and 1970s, would have their music played to a group of in-house choreographed dancers such as Go-Jos, Pan's People, Ruby Flipper, Zoo or Legs and Co. They would also perform for those who featured in the show but were unable to be at the studio.

By 1970 Top Of The Pops attracted audiences of 15 million. This dropped to around 3 million by the year 2002.

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The First Episode Of Top Of The Pops

DJ Jimmy Savile The pilot episode of TOTP was called The Teen & Twenty Record Club. It was presented by Disc Jockey Jimmy Savile. The producer was Johnnie Stewart. The first artists to appear on the show included The Rolling Stones. They sang I Wanna Be Your Man. Other groups and singers in the chart that week were:
  • I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
  • Glad All Over - The Dave Clark Five
  • She Loves You - The Beatles
  • You Were Made For Me - Freddie & The Dreamers
  • I Only Want to Be With You - Dusty Springfield
  • Stay - The Hollies
  • 24 Hours From Tulsa - Gene Pitney
  • Dominique - The Singing Nun
  • Secret Love - Kathy Kirby
  • Swingin' On a Star - Big Dee Irwin
  • Hippy Hippy Shake - The Swinging Blue Jeans

Top Of The Pops grew and grew in popularity over the years and in March 1983 the show celebrated its 1000th edition with long term host Jimmy Saville. In 2002 TOTP celebrated its 2000th show.

Top Of The Pops moved to BBC2 in 2003 with former presenter and now producer Andi Peters. The first BBC2 show was broadcast on 17 July 2005 at 7pm with presenter Fearne Cotton and a different guest each week. Viewing figures continued to drop until the average viewers were only about 1.5 million.

On 20 June 2006 the decision was taken by the BBC to cancel Top Of The Pops after 42 years. It felt the channel could no longer compete with music downloads, the internet and 24-hour music channels.

The last Top Of The Pops programme was broadcast on the 30 July and was co-presented by Jimmy Saville, Tony Blackburn, Mike Read and Pat Sharp. The last broadcast of Top Of The Pops was the 2204th episode. It was recorded on Wednesday 26 July. There is a full review at the end of this article. It was going to be broadcast live on Sunday 30 July but Sir Jimmy Savile had a prior appointment as the honorary chieftain at the Lochaber Highland Games in Scotland. He had held this position for 34 years and would always wear a tartan tracksuit he has specially made. That was his last year as honorary chieftain and he now has the title of Special Friends Of The Games.

Although TOTP was axed the magazine continues to be published and on television the BBC will continue to broadcast repeats of TOTP2 which shows archive footage from as early as the 1960s of musicians on earlier Top of the Pops shows. This was first broadcasted in September 1994. Other BBC music shows will include Jools Holland's Later programme and the BBC Four Sessions.

Another spin-off of TOTP was Top of the Pops Reloaded which was also known as Top of the Pops Saturday.

TOTP Presenters

The very first television Top Of The Pops show was presented by BBC Radio 1 DJ Jimmy Savile. Many more Radio 1 presenters hosted the TOTP shows over the years and including Dave Lee Travis, Tony Blackburn, Mike Read, Bruno Brookes, Sara Cox, Simon Mayo, John Peel, Steve Wright, Kenny Everett, Jayne Middlemiss, Mark Goodier and Noel Edmonds.

The last TV Top Of The Pops presenter was Fearne Cotton. Other TOTP presenters and hosts included Reggie Yates, Alan Freeman, Richard Skinner, Gail Porter, Jamie Theakston, Janice Long, Richard Bacon, Colin Berry, Jakki Brambles, David Hamilton, Kid Jensen, Jonathan King, Pete Murray, Samantha Mumba, Denis Van Outen, Nicky Campbell, Kim Kash, Caron Keating, Tommy Vance, Pete Murray and David Jacobs on BBC 1 and BBC 2. There have been 65 regular presenters and 100s of guest presenters over the years.

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Top Of The Pop Annual

Between 1973 until 1983, World Distributors and then World International produced Top Of The Pop Annuals. These included pop posters and pin ups, interviews, photographs, pictures and features on a range of topics like the dancers, choreography, rise and fall of punk music and various artists, singers and rock groups. This included David Bowie, Gary Glitter, David Cassidy, Slade, The Osmonds, Alice Cooper, Status Quo, Elton John, David Essex, Slade, Donny Osmond, Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Queen, Bay City Rollers, Steve Harley, Leo Sayer, Roy Wood, Wings, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Mud, Procol Harum, Slade, ELO, Hot Chocolate, Jim Capaldi, Art Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy, ELO, Abba, Wings, Jethro Tull, Showaddywaddy, Roger Daltrey, David Soul, 10CC, David Essex, Abba, Smokie, Paul McCartney, Steve Gibbons Band, Dr Hook, Neil Diamond, Peter Frampton, Thin Lizzy, Chicago, John Miles, The Jam, The Stranglers, Boomtown Rats, Blondie, Legs & Co, 10CC, The Who, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Bee Gees, Sioxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69, Lindisfarne, Barry Manilow, Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Gary Numan, Bryan Ferry, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Commodores, Elkie Brooks, Donna Summer, Gerry Rafferty, Dexie's Midnight Runners, The Police, Cliff Richard, Adam Ant, Midge Ure, Shakin' Stevens, Ian Dury, The Carpenters, Madness, Duran Duran, Japan, Kim Wilde, Ultravox, Soft Cell, Spandau Ballet, Hot Chocolate, Depeche Mode and Toyah.

Modern readers now enjoy a Top Of The Pops Magazine which is full of photos and gossip. The magazine is aimed at teenagers

Top Of The Pops Theme Tune

The first theme tune for Top Of The Pops was a version of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love by C. C. S. Modern viewers enjoyed a remixed version from 1998 to 2003. Ironically the Led Zeppelin band never performed on the Top Of The Pops show.

Other theme tunes were used for Top Of The Pops and this included Yellow Pearl by Phil Lynott in 1981. In 1986 it was replaced by The Wizard by Paul Hardcastle. The final theme was a remixed version of that used between 1991 and 1995, composed by Tony Gibber.

In all there were 10 different theme tunes and 13 different opening sequences and logos.

Trivia About TOTP

The first dancing group on Top Of The Pops were the Go-Jos.

The first female presenter of Top Of The Pops was Janice Long. She presented TOTP from 1982 until 1988.

The longest running presenter of Top Of The Pops was Sir Jimmy Saville. He presented the first and the last show. He was a regular presenter until he left in 1984. He returned to co-present the last Top Of The Pops show on the 30 July 2006.

Top Of The Pops was shown on a Thursday night but moved to a Friday night in 1996.

No Radio One DJ presented Top Of The Pops from October 1991 to January 1994.

Jimi Hendrix had to mime to someone else's track being played by mistake.

Shane Macgowan of the Pogues performed drunk performance to his song Fairytale of New York and fell over the drum kit.

The longest ever performance on Top Of The Pops was Green Day with Jesus Of Suburbia on 6 November 2005. It lasted 9 minutes and 10 seconds.

The song Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood was banned from Top Of The Pops in 1984. However it was eventually shown on the 20th Anniversary show and the end of the year show.

The shortest performance was Super Furry Animals with Do or Die. It was 95 seconds in length.

Cliff Richard had the most performances on Top Of The Pops with over 150 performances.

Fat Les had the most people on stage with 75 as he performed Jerusalem.

Status Quo have performed in each decade of the Top Of The Pops history.

The first unsigned band to play Top Of The Pops was Scottish twee pop group Bis.

The Arctic Monkeys refused to appear on Top Of The Pops.

The record for the most security guards is held by R Kelly who was accompanied by 43.

Top Of The Pops has been transmitted to over 120 countries.

The last in-house dancers performed in 1983.

In 1967 Top Of The Pops moved from Manchester to Lime Grove in London.

On the 9 October 1982 Dexy’s Midnight Runners performed their tribute to the soul legend Jackie Wilson the song Jackie Wilson Said. It was played to a background image of the Scottish dart player Jocky Wilson. It is unclear if this was a genuine mistake by the BBC props department or a practical joke.

The Beatles first appeared on Top of the Pops in 1966. The first Beatle to appear on Top of the Pops during his solo career was John Lennon. He sang Instant Karma on the 12 February 1970.

The Last Top Of The Pops Episode

The last episode of Top Of The Pops was broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday 30 July from 7-8pm. The show was presented by a range of presenters through the years and included Reggie Yates, Sir Jimmy Savile, Sarah Cawood, Dave Lee Travis, Rufus Hound, Janice Long, Edith Bowman, Mike Read, Pat Sharp, Tony Blackburn and Babs the dance from Pans People.

The last show was a compilation throughout they years and included clips of old Top Of The Pops broadcasts, footage of old recordings through the decades, highlights and memories, full length recordings, montage of the dance troupes, audience and the changing fashion trends, presenters over the years and a host of impersonators such as Elvis Presley, Jimmy Savile and Steve Wright.

The full length recordings included:

The Rolling Stones - The Last Time (1964)
Sonny And Cher - I Got You Babe (1965)
David Bowie - Starman (1972)
Wham - Wake Me Up Before You Gogo (1984)
Madonna - Like A Virgin (1984)
The Spice Girls - Wannabe (1996)
Robbie Williams - Let Me Entertain You (1998)
Beyonce - Crazy In Love (2003)
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy (2006)

Clips of bands and singers from the 1960s included:

The Supremes - Baby Love
The Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Loving Feeling
Cliff Richard - All My Love
Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright)
Tom Jones - Delilah
Bee Gees - Massachusetts
Fire - The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Hollies - Sorry Suzanne
Jackson 5 - Rockin' Robin

Clips of bands and singers from the 1970s included:

John Lennon - Instant Karma
Elton John - Your Song
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
Rod Stewart - Maggie May
T Rex - Get It On
Slade - Cum On Feel The Noize
Mud - Tiger Feet
Abba - Waterloo
Queen - Killer Queen
The Three Degrees - When Will I See You Again
Status Quo - Down Down
Bob Marley And The Wailers - Exodus
Blondie - Denis

Clips of bands and singers from the 1980s included:

Adam And The Ants - Ant Music
Kim Wilde - Kids In America
Bucks Fizz - Making Your Mind Up
Spandau Ballet - Chant no.1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)
Human League - Don't You Want Me
Duran Duran - Rio
Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?
Eurythmics - There Must Be An Angel
Kylie And Jason - Especially For You
Bros - When Will I be Famous?
Yazz And The Plastic Population - The Only Way Is Up

Clips of children and animal acts included:

Clive Dunn - Grandad
The Wombles - The Wombling Song
Our Kid - You Just Might See Me Cry
The Smurfs - The Smurf Song
St Winifred School Choir - No One Quite Like Grandma
The Tweets - The Birdie Song (Birdie Dance)
Keith Harris And Orville - Orville's Song
Aled Jones - Walking In The Air
Tweenies - No. 1
Crazy Frog - Axel F

Clips of bands and singers from the 1990s included:

Bryan Adams - Everything I Do I Do It For You
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Take That with Lulu - Relight My Fire
Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around
Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger
Blur - Country House
Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity
All Saints - Never Ever
Janet Jackson - Together Again
Whitney Houston - My Love Is Your Love
Shania Twain - That Don't Impress Me Much
Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Loca
Prince - Baby Knows

Clips of bands and singers from the 2000s (The Noughties) included:

Britney Spears - Oops!...I Did It Again
Travis - Sing
Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
Justin Timberlake - Like I Love You
50 Cent - In Da Club
Ozzy And Kelly Osbourne - Changes
Girls Aloud - Love Machine
Marilyn Manson - Personal Jesus
U2 - Vertigo
Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers
McFly - All About You
Tony Christie - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
Westlife - You Raise Me Up
Sugababes - Push The Button

The last top ten countdown on Top Of The Pops was:

10. Nelly Furtado - Maneater
9. Kasabian - Empire
8. Rogue Traders - Voodoo Child
7. Madonna - Get Together
6. McFly - Don't Stop Me Now
5. James Morrison - You Give Me Something
4. Lily Allen - Smile
3. Rihanna - Unfaithful
2. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man

The very last number one on Top Of The Pops was Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean - Hips Don't Lie.

The last words on Top Of The Pops was said by Sir Jimmy Savile and were: It's number one - it's still top of the pops."

The closing music was Celebration by Kool And The Gang. After the end tune Sir Jimmy Savile was seen to walk to the back of the stage and switch off the electric and the lights.

The last programme of Top Of The Pops was followed by a documentary Pan's People: Digging The Dancing Queens which was a profile of the all girl dance troupe.

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