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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
TOTP channel move denied
by Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Kate Thornton
Top of the Pops is expected to "evolve"
Top of the Pops will "categorically" not move from BBC One to digital channel BBC Three, the corporation has said.

There has been speculation that the music show could be moved as part of a rethink by its new boss, former TV presenter Andi Peters.

Peters will take charge of the long-running programme on 1 September and is expected to make changes in an attempt to win back viewers.

An average of just over three million people currently watch the BBC One show every week - down from 10 million at its peak in the 1970s.

Dave Lee Travis, one of the show's most successful presenters, has warned producers they could lose more viewers if they do not slow the pace of the show.

But a spokeswoman for BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey said talk of a radical revamp was "incredibly premature".

Dave Lee Travis hosting Top of the Pops in the 1970s
It should be a family thing, it should be fun
Dave Lee Travis
Speculation about a move to BBC Three came after comments from BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey, who said it would remain on her channel "for the moment".

But the BBC spokeswoman said she "categorically" ruled out a move to BBC Three, which was launched in February for 25- to 34-year-olds.

Peters would be looking at the show "and has new ideas for it", Ms Heggessey also said.

"We have to evolve. The question is, are the charts as valid as they once were?" she said.

"We will be trying to think, what should a pop music show be?"

Peters has told industry magazine Music Week: "It is really important that TOTP remains a flagship show, but with a fresh and new attitude."

He will talk to industry executives about how to make sure the show remained relevant, the paper reported.

It is still very important to the industry
Martin Talbot
Music Week magazine
Earlier, Travis, who hosted the show in the 1970s and 80s, said successive producers had made the programme too "manic" and lost a sense of fun in the pursuit of young audiences.

It was "one hell of a product" but its brand had been "considerably weakened" over the years, he told BBC News Online.

Changes had taken the humour out of the show, made it too fast-paced and producers tried too hard to make it sexy, the former BBC Radio 1 DJ said.

'Eat itself'

"There's a sort of desperation about it I suppose, and it will eventually eat itself if somebody doesn't just stop and slow down."

He added: "It used to be that the parents would wander [to] the settee when the kids were watching TOTP, proclaiming that they weren't interested in it but really they were.

"I think that feeling's gone now, which is sad. It should be a family thing, it should be fun."

The BBC spokeswoman responded that the show merely reflected the charts, and if the public was buying fast-paced and sexy songs, they would appear on the show.


The music industry is likely to welcome Peters to the role - if he boosts viewing figures, Music Week executive editor Martin Talbot told BBC News Online.

"It is still very important to the industry," he said. "Everybody will want the BBC to keep it, and we want to keep it in a high-profile slot."

But he said it was less important than it once was because of the audience decline.

"There are lots more music programmes and channels that get bigger audiences and so clearly its influence has declined because of that."

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