BBC to screen every Top of the Pops episode

BBC to screen every Top of the Pops episode
BBC to screen every Top of the Pops episode (Image credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima)

Top Of The Pops is to return - with weekly repeats being shown on BBC4 in the show's original time slot. The much-loved show was a viewing staple for 42 years until it was axed in 2006 after falling audiences. But BBC4 has now revealed plans to retransmit old editions of the programme, episode by episode, every Thursday night at 7.30pm from April 7. The series will start at 1976, the point at which the BBC's full archive of shows begins. Although 1976 was the year punk began to take hold as a movement, it was not reflected in the programme that year as many acts railed against the safe, establishment show. Although the series began in 1964, originally recorded in a Manchester church, many editions were famously lost or taped over in the days when TV stations were less rigorous about cataloguing their shows. Individual performances have been used for editions of TOTP2, but they have rarely been shown in full. It is hoped the reruns will continue to run for subsequent years. BBC Four controller Richard Klein said: "Let's see how it goes." Acts who featured on TOTP during 1976 included Abba with Dancing Queen and The Wurzels performing Combine Harvester, as well as artists as diverse as Jethro Tull, Tina Charles, Bryan Ferry and Acker Bilk. The repeats will be a mixed blessing for many of the presenters, including Jimmy Savile (pictured), who may be horrified to see the dated outfits they wore to host the show. Although TOTP was dropped five years ago, it is revived annually for a Christmas Day edition. The series will launch with a documentary, to be shown this Friday, which looks at the show in 1976 as a 'barometer' of music and light entertainment in general.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.