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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
BBC calls time on Top of the Pops
Top Of The Pops presenter Fearne Cotton
The show's current presenter is Fearne Cotton
The BBC's flagship pop music programme Top of the Pops has been cancelled after 42 years, the BBC has announced.

"The time has come to bring the show to its natural conclusion," said the BBC's director of television Jana Bennett.

In a statement, the BBC said the weekly programme could no longer compete with 24-hour music channels.

Top of the Pops was first broadcast in 1964, from a converted church in Manchester. The final edition will be shown on 30 July.

The pop programme was only commissioned for six episodes when it began in 1964.

But it proved so popular that it won a weekly slot and has been broadcast by the BBC ever since, celebrating its 2,000th show in 2002.

We all recognise that the time has come to move on
Roly Keating
Controller, BBC Two

The very first show was presented by BBC Radio 1 DJ Jimmy Savile and the first artists to appear were the Rolling Stones, who sang I Wanna Be Your Man.

Many Radio 1 presenters hosted the show over the years, including Dave Lee Travis and Noel Edmonds. The current presenter is Fearne Cotton.

Jimmy Savile said he was "not at all" sad about the news and "not surprised in the slightest".

"In those days you would have to wait until Thursday night to get your fix and you don't need to do that anymore," he said.

"Top of the Pops has been overrun by video of music on TV."

Although it has had numerous face-lifts in its 42-year history, Top of the Pops has always featured the chart rundown, culminating in the number one single of the week.
Pan's People
Dance troupe Pan's People were a highlight of the show in the 1970s

In the days before music videos, dancers would perform to songs by artists who couldn't make it to the studio.

Although the Go-Jos were the first dancing troupe to feature on the programme, the best-remembered dancers were Pan's People.

They made their Top Of The Pops debut in 1968 dancing to Tommy James And The Shondells' hit Mony Mony, and stayed for nearly a decade.

In its 1970's heyday, the show attracted audiences of 15 million, but by 2002 the figure had dropped to just 3 million.

It was relaunched in 2003 with former presenter Andi Peters in charge, but it failed to attract new viewers and was moved to BBC Two the following year.

"The team did a sterling job in revitalising the format for our audience," said BBC Two controller Roly Keating, "but we all recognise that the time has come to move on."

It's a tragedy when a broadcaster doesn't understand such a powerful brand
Noel Edmonds

Mike Read, who was a presenter in the 1980s, said: "It was a situation that was obviously coming because of dwindling audiences.

"There are lots of people who say `I used to watch it years ago but I don't like the music'. There needed to be a mix of old and new."

In a statement, the BBC stressed its commitment to other music shows, such as Jools Holland's Later programme and the BBC Four Sessions.

Noel Edmonds said he thought it was "dangerous" to "throw out one of the most recognised brands in TV today".

"It's a huge commodity and kids are still listening to music, even if they are downloading it.

"It's a tragedy when a broadcaster doesn't understand such a powerful brand."

The Top of the Pops spin-off show, TOTP2, will also make irregular appearances, incorporating archive footage from the series and occasional new performances.


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