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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
TOTP editor plots fresh pops
Chris Cowey
Cowey: Enjoys "all that Spinal Tap nonsense"
Chris Cowey, executive producer of BBC Top Of The Pops, feels he is finally getting the programme he wants after four and a half years in the job.

The programme has moved home to BBC Television Centre, in London, from Elstree studios, and the show, starting this Friday, has been redesigned.

"Much more important than the move is the fact that we've got a new set - the programme will be much more the way me and the team want it to be.

Tweenies: "A bit of a problem"
"Now we've also got the Star Bar.

"The Star Bar will be a glorified green room and it'll be a great place to be, a place where artists can relax, hang out, bring their entourage, girlfriends, boyfriends, lawyers - and rub shoulder with other stars."

Singles sales

Cowey is an impassioned believer in the programme - and has been since he saw T Rex perform Ride A White Swan on a Top Of The Pops of his youth.

But he feels the programme will continue to evolve, especially if singles sales, on which the chart is based, continue to fall.

I've still got the brain and attitude of a 16-year-old

Chris Cowey
"Increasingly you've got to look beyond just the singles format because in some respects it's irrelevant.

"Regularly, between Top Of The Pops and Top Of The Pops 2 we do look at album charts, and I'm fully prepared to have something on which isn't a single.

"You've got to look less at the singles chart per se, and more at a listing of the most popular tracks around in the UK at the moment - and if that is 12-inch, 7-inch, double groove vinyl, MP3 download, whatever it is, I don't care.

"My only rule is there aren't any rules - we just make the best programme we can for the viewers every week.

Disapproving parents

"It's not my job to sell records, it's my job to make a great programme."

Almost every Top Of The Pops viewer remembers the programme causing disputes with disapproving parents at some time or other.

David Bowie
Bowie: a "life-changing moment" for Chris Cowey
But Cowey says that, so far anyway, he has never personally disapproved of anything on the show.

"There is a danger in all of us that we'll turn into our parents - but fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I've still got the brain and attitude of a 16-year-old.

"I can cope perfectly well with Eminem, Marilyn Manson - you name it.

"The Tweenies I have a bit of a problem with."


Even rock star tantrums don't phase the Top Of The Pops producer.

"I kind of like all that Spinal Tap nonsense, the old Van Halen stories of wanting a big bowl of Smarties with all the brown ones taken out.

"I think people should do that more."

Cowey says that his favourite moment since he started producing the show was the Foo Fighters performance of the song I'll Be Watching You.

But he is still driven by wanting to reproduce for others the feeling he had as a teenager fan of the programme.

"I remember David Bowie doing Starman, and you just thought, 'wow' - that was a life-changing moment.

"And I think we're producing just as many life-changing moments - and probably better ones."

Top Of The Pops is on BBC One at 1900 BST, Friday 19 October

Top of the Pops on BBC Online
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Who was the best Top of the Pops presenter?

Jimmy Savile

Dave Lee Travis

Jayne Middlemiss

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John Peel

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See also:

18 Oct 01 | Music
Pops still tops after 37 years
19 Sep 01 | Entertainment
First TOTP awards launched
23 Mar 01 | Entertainment
The story of the single
06 Oct 00 | Entertainment
'Banned' Frankie tops chart
06 Oct 00 | Entertainment
The Top of The Pops top 40
14 Apr 00 | UK
Charting a rocky course
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