Anyone who doesn’t watch BBC 4 (and that’s probably about 95% of the viewing public) may be unaware that the station has been running old editions of ‘Top of the Pops’ in sequence, starting from 1976. They’re also scheduling the show in the old TOTP slot on Thursday nights. Unless my arithmetical abilities have undergone a spectacular deterioration, I reckon that means we’ll reach the final edition of the show sometime in 2041. By that time, of course, pop music probably won’t exist. Or, if it does, we’ll all be flying around in jetpacks and ‘music’ will be taken in the form of a pill. Or maybe it will be stored in a virtual cloud that you’ll access by blinking to activate the i-tunes chip that your robot parent will have had fitted in your head as a present on your fourth birthday.
Apart from one aberration when Jonathan King was edited out of a show, each edition of the 1976 TOTP is being shown exactly as it appeared at the time. King’s contribution was cut, presumably because his well-documented crime was deemed by someone at Broadcasting House to have been so heinous as to merit being airbrushed from history. After writing to the BBC, he got a nice apology from Director General Mark Thompson and an assurance that it would not happen again. Let’s see if they can stick to that promise when the time comes to re-run Gary Glitter’s ‘Another Rock ‘n’ roll Christmas’.
Whatever else it did, Top of the Pops represented the 'settled will' of the audience; that is, it played the most popular songs of the day. Whenever we complained about the content (as we certainly used to in our house) we were really complaining about other people's awful musical tastes. And, judging by the fare on offer from 1976, there was plenty to complain about.
I may go into some detail on this topic.