Top of the Pops began life as a rebellious teenager, but unfortunately ended up as Grandpa at the disco. After decades as must-see Thursday-night TV, it was overtaken by the realities of a new multi-channel, digital age, was shunted disrespectfully between time-slots and even relegated to BBC2, an irrelevant shadow of its glory days gone by.
But generations of Brits will never forget the pivotal role of TOTP. It brought into our living rooms both unforgettable moments of pop brilliance, and also some of the clumsiest and most amateur performances possible (by artists and presenters alike). A very British institution, TOTP was there through the best and worst of pop times.
Packed with glorious images from rediscovered archives, and drawing on over 60 original interviews with artists and DJs, this book will be an affectionate celebration of the artfulness and absurdities of TOTP, not via a dry chronological history, but by focusing in on 40 highlights – some sublime, some bizarre, many plain daft – that made the show such a unique spectacle. From the pipe-smoking DLT to the narrative dance routines of Pan’s People, from David Bowie to Clive Dunn, from the rebels who refused to mime for the cameras to the audience members who dressed up for them, TOTP really mattered to children of the seventies, and this book will be irresistible to them.