Top Of The Pops

“Following the footsteps of a rag doll dance” – Top of the Pops, 4 June 1981

Imagination

“Yes, it’s Top of the Pops with today eleven top acts!” Six months on from Richard Skinner’s first solo hosting gig and Operation Make Skinner Look Less Like A Newsreader And More Like A Human Being is finally seeing some … read more

“You said it all, though not many had ears” – Top of the Pops, 28 May 1981

Hazel O'Connor

Hey everyone, let’s play “good news / bad news”! The good news is, after missing a huge chunk of musical history due to presenters’ off-screen activities and someone’s inability to record a live programme for the archive, BBC Four viewers … read more

“Blow up the TV, blow up the car” – Top of the Pops, 21 May 1981

The Human League

If you had fond memories of late April and early May 1981 and were looking forward to reliving those memories via the BBC Four reruns of Top of the Pops, you’re probably feeling pretty short changed by now. What with … read more

“He is a song that’s not easy to write” – Top of the Pops, 14 May 1981

Thin Lizzy

That idea of showing two editions of TOTP a week on consecutive nights seemed great at the start of the year. Quickly, though, we ran into problems due to the, shall we say, unavailability of certain episodes. Miss out a … read more

“The devil take your stereo and your record collection” – Top of the Pops, 7 May 1981

Ossie Ardiles

By this stage of the BBC Four reruns the audience has formed itself into two distinct groups. One one hand there’s the casual viewer who isn’t really following the timeline but will greet every deviation from the norm – anything … read more

“Stay in time with the rhythm and rhyme” – Top of the Pops, 30 April 1981

Tenpole Tudor

For all Michael Hurll’s efforts in dragging Top of the Pops kicking and screaming into the ’80s and turning it into a dazzling celebration of pop music instead of a dreary light entertainment show, he keeps coming up against one … read more

“Look at it from my angle” – Top of the Pops, 23 April 1981

Level 42

There’s an almighty gap in the BBC Four reruns here as we skip three whole episodes, starting with this Dave Lee Travis-fronted edition. No doubt the Daily Mail would be disgusted to realise that people ever watched it on its … read more

“The more we know, the less we show” – Top of the Pops, 16 April 1981

Department S

“Hi.” Hi yourself, Peter Powell, in your monogrammed shirt, white blazer with the sleeves rolled up and, let’s not beat about the bush here, beige slacks. Powell seems to have taken on the mantle of “senior presenter” of TOTP recently, … read more

“Earth keeps on rolling, witnesses falling” – Top of the Pops, 9 April 1981

“Welcome to Top of the Pops! Some 19 million people every week tune in to see some of the top acts of 1981 on this show!” That’s what Mike Read tells us, and as one of the co-authors of the … read more

“Strong are the bonds that we make” – Top of the Pops, 2 April 1981

Shakin' Stevens

Another week, another two editions of TOTP on BBC Four as we attempt to crack on through the whole year before the Proms, the Olympics and whatever else has been displaced by the closure of BBC Three as a linear … read more

“Entertainment for the lost and lonely” – Top of the Pops, 26 March 1981

Hazel O'Connor

So it seems Richard Skinner wasn’t in Scotland all week with the other Radio 1 DJs, as the Radio Times seems to suggest. Although his evening show was billed as including sessions from Scottish bands, he must have been in … read more

“Try to look as if you don’t care less” – Top of the Pops, 19 March 1981

Bucks Fizz

So the industrial dispute we were pretending wasn’t happening last week has been resolved, the audience has been allowed back out of the tiny airless booths from where they were encouraged to cheer and applaud in sound only, and everything’s … read more