Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Home Truths

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Home Truths

Article excerpt

Byline: By Martin Wells

It's no surprise that the obituaries of Top of the Pops are already being written, despite the decision to "relocate" it from BBC1 to BBC2.

Like John Lennon's devastating comment on hearing about the death of Elvis ( "he died when he went in the Army" ( the demise of TOTP came years ago.

With ratings down to around two million, thanks in part to its ruinous scheduling against the Friday night Coronation Street slot, it will only be a matter of time before it's gone completely.

This relocation is broadcasting's equivalent of shuffling it off to a nursing home to live out its final days in a half-life of mind-numbing tedium, kept alive by occasional jolts of shock treatment. "Clear!", you can hear the producers shouting, as they apply the paddles of a new presenter, or a new timeslot, or a rap band encouraged to use some choice language before the watershed.

It's all a far cry from the days when it was essential Thursday night viewing ( so essential that the BBC could stick the boffins' sop Tomorrow's World in front of it at 7pm, confident that the youth of the nation had already commandeered the TV straight after Nationwide and nothing was going to change the channel until Jimmy Savile had played that week's Number One.

For that half-hour, everything stopped, at least in our house.

With four boys and a girl in the family ( with tastes ranging in age from the Shadows (unfortunate big brother), Simon and Garfunkel (wimpy next oldest brother), the Rolling Stones (slightly rebellious middle son), T-Rex (psychotic daughter) and me (Little Jimmy Osmond was the voice of my generation) ( the living room during TOTP was always a maelstrom of jeering and shushing, shimmying and swaying, with the fashions reflecting the trends of the day.

My sister, during her glam-rock period, had a perfect Bowie feather cut but, mercifully, had moved on to the likes of Leonard Cohen by the time the Bay City Rollers ascended to the pop throne. …

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