Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Top of the Pops Axed...

It's 'breaking news' on FiveLive, though I can't find the story online.. but apparently t'is true. I'll do a reaction post in due course, no doubt :)

EDIT: Ok, let's just do it here. As Scott has mentioned in the comments, TOTP has improved of late. There was a time from the late nineties until about 2003/4 when they had dance track after dance track on there, which completely failed to reflect the NME/Strokes-led 'resurrocktion', as I believe Zane Lowe clumsily dubbed it. I, unlike a lot of people, had no problem with it moving to Friday, (ah those days of non-stop good Friday night tv from 7.30 TOTP to 10.00 Fraiser...), but it did gradually decline into half an hour of dancing girls in air hostess outfits, mainly.
Moving it to a Sunday was the kiss of both life and death. Away from its primetime slot, they could be, and eventually were, a lot more adventurous with their line-ups (Foo Fighters, Franz at their height and the Arcade Fire all on one show, anyone?) but 7pm on a Sunday is still 7pm on a Sunday, and it could never last.
Unfortunately, I don't see what's going to take its place. CD:UK got a lot of flack by people who didn't watch it, but if they'd taken the trouble they'd have seen, in those dark turn-of-the-century days, the show TOTP should have been. An eclectic mix of chart acts, and a sparky presenter in Cat Deeley. But that's gone. Later... is not a chart show, and gets progressively worse every season anyway, and Transmission, the new show on Channel 4 in the Later... slot has yet to prove itself to be anything special. Something will inevitably try and fill the hole, and it'd be nice if they kept just a little of that Sunday night spirit.

6 comments:

MediumRob said...

Oops! Your story has only just come up on my RSS feed so I've just posted about it, too. The full details are over on the Media Guardian. OTT is blogging about it too. As am I...

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

In days of old this would have been BIG news. Now, thanks to shifting it to Fridays, then Sundays, changing its focus, AND the impact of new technologies and formats.... well, it was just inevitable.

Sigh. Remember when singles MEANT something?

I remember reading Jarvis Cocker saying that moving it from Thursday was just plain wrong. He was right.

I still think a key problem was they kept changing the boundaries. Including bands videos for songs not yet released, performances because a group was available (not even necessarily in the charts). Am sure this was always done but it got so gratuitous of late. And i don't think the singles market ever helped itself by releasing tracks for radio play AS singles 2 or 3 months in advance of release. Bloody hell, at one point you were lucky if you heard it the week before it was released!

I sound like a grumpy old cow don't I... well, once upon a time I might have regretted TOTPs passing. Now I doubt anyone cares very much at all... Sad.

Scott Matthewman said...

I do actually think TOTP regained something recently. Can't quite put my finger on what, but it was almost certainly negated by Fearne Cotton's presence... The changes in format were inevitable once TOTP lost the power to dictate to the record companies, rather than vice versa. Very sad.

Ironically, I think the inclusion of downloads in the singles chart is making that chart more relevant again -- it's making individual tracks an appealing buy once more, and it becomes harder to pull off those "let's get this to number one by issuing it in seventeen different formats so the fans will simply HAVE to buy all of them".

Billy said...

It was doomed once they moved it from Thursday. It's been dying a slow death ever since.

It's a great shame.

Paul Fuzz said...

Yeah. It's been a long, sad, undignified decline for TOTP, and it deserved better. Recently in my home town of York they've introduced something called The Future Bus, which is basically A Bus, but only you can use your mobile to buy tickets and it's purple and stuff. It's crap, because buses are by their very nature archaic things, and painting them purple won't change that - indeed all it does is highlight their essential out-datedness. The same is true of TOTP. The endless tinkering which it was subjected to during the 90s was doomed to failure because there was never anything wrong with the format per se; rather it was simply a case of times having changed, and TOTP no longer being longer 'fit for purpose.' It defined music television of the early 70s, and there's no reason to think it would make sense in the 80s, let alone the Noughties. It's amazing that it lasted this long.

Stu N said...

It's a shame about music telly. I'm old, so I can remember the glory days of The Tube, which was must-see TV even when the music on it was crap (which it frequently was. It was the 80s). While I'm glad Later... is there, I can only watch it on video because there's some stuff I have to fast-forward through. Surely there must be another format which is 'fit for purpose'?

Ms Rullsenberg is right about Jarvis being right. Jarvis is always right.