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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
TOTP joins the music TV graveyard
Top of the Pops will count down the Top 40 singles chart for the last time on 30 July, 2006.

The pop programme has been running for 42 years, and in its time has seen off competition from dozens of imitators and impostors.

You can find about more about the ups and downs of pop music on UK television by clicking on the links below.


The Hit Parade
The Hit Parade was broadcast from Studio G at Lime Grove
The Hit Parade was described in the Radio Times as "the most ambitious attempt yet made to present popular music on the screen in a directly visual way".

Curiously, this meant dramatising the lyrics of hit songs through the medium of dance, perhaps providing an early inspiration for Pan's People.

Rather than feature the recording stars of the day, the show recreated popular songs with the help of a house band, featuring a pre-Downtown Petula Clark.

It was first transmitted by the BBC in January 1952, pre-dating the creation of the UK singles chart by several months.

SIX-FIVE SPECIAL - 1957-1958

Six-Five Special
Teenagers danced to pop, rock, jazz and skiffle on the programme
Launched in February 1957, Six-Five Special got its name from its time slot - five past six on a Saturday evening.

The programme revolutionised music television by showing its audience of teenagers jiving to the music - reportedly against the wishes of the BBC.

It opened each week with a film of a steam train, before presenter Pete Murray declared: "It's time to jive on the old six-five!"

Featured artists included Marty Wilde, Michael Holliday and even Spike Milligan.

Producer Jack Good eventually left for ITV and created Oh Boy!, the music show that introduced Cliff Richard to the world.

JUKE BOX JURY - 1959-1967

Juke Box Jury
The judges included recording artists like Mel Torme (second right)
Perhaps the least visually stimulating pop programme of all time, Juke Box Jury was nonetheless incredibly popular.

A forerunner to Pop Idol, the show asked guests to judge whether the week's new singles would be hits or misses.

While the songs were being played, the cameras focused on the panel - who invariably adopted the pose of people concentrating very hard on a maths exam. The audience would also tap their feet politely.

Some excitement occurred in 1963, however, when the Beatles took part in the programme.

They correctly identified the Swinging Blue Jeans' Hippy Hippy Shake and Elvis Presley's Kiss Me Quick as hits, accompanied by deafening screams from the audience.

The format was revived twice for the video era, with Noel Edmonds in 1979 and Jools Holland in 1989.

READY, STEADY, GO! - 1963-1966

Dusty Springfield on Ready Steady Go
Dusty Springfield presented early editions of the pop show
"The weekend starts here," promised Ready Steady Go!, which went out on ITV every Friday evening during the halcyon years of British rock.

Capturing the exuberance and attitude of the swinging Sixties in a way that the more straight-laced Top of The Pops never managed, the programme's guest list reads like a who's who of classic pop.

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye and The Beach Boys all made appearances, and the show's warm-up act was Gary Glitter.

The regular hosts were fuddy-duddy dad Keith Fordyce, a DJ and local councillor for Wimbledon, and gushing teen Cathy McGowan.

Plucked from obscurity to be a "teenage advisor" on the programme, McGowan became known as Queen of the Mods, and even launched her own fashion label.

The programme petered out along with the mod scene in 1966. The last episode was called Ready Steady Goes!


Old Grey Whistle Test logo
The 'starkicker' character in the title sequence became famous
In the era of the concept album, rock music needed a programme that wasn't just about screaming teenagers and three-minute singles. The Old Grey Whistle Test was that programme.

As the last programme shown on BBC Two on a Friday night, it was allowed to extend its running time if a band became engrossed in a particularly awesome guitar solo.

Despite its associations with prog rock, however, Whistle Test also found time to feature acts like the Pet Shop Boys, BB King and The Eurythmics.

According to long-standing presenter "Whispering" Bob Harris, the show's name was inspired by the doormen, known as "old greys", who worked outside the music publishing companies in London's Denmark Street.

If they could remember a new song after hearing it only once, it was said to have passed the old grey whistle test.

THE TUBE - 1982-1987

Paula Yates and Kim Wilde on the Tube
The Tube made Paula Yates (left) a household name
The most influential pop programme of the 1980s, The Tube was the first place many people saw acts like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, REM and Madonna.

Launched in Channel 4's opening week, the programme was filmed in a Newcastle studio set up to look like a nightclub.

To adults, The Tube must have seemed like the televisual representation of a migraine, but for teenagers it was compelling and edgy - a kaleidoscopic mixture of live music, fashion and comedy.

By 1987, however, it had run out of steam.

Child actor Felix Howard was given a presenting job, seemingly on the strength that he had been in Madonna's Open Your Heart video.

But it was long-term presenter Jools Holland who got the programme taken off the air when he uttered an expletive during a live trail on children's television.

The Tube returned after three weeks, but it never fully recovered.

THE ROXY - 1987-1988

David "Kid" Jensen
The Roxy was presented by David "Kid" Jensen
ITV's disastrous mid-80s riposte to Top of the Pops was also filmed in Newcastle.

The format owed a lot to its BBC rival, featuring music videos, live performances and a rundown of the chart.

Presented by former BBC Radio 1 DJ David "Kid" Jensen, the programme had a run of bad luck.

In many regions, it suffered from being scheduled against EastEnders. Then, at the end of 1987, an industrial dispute at ITV made live performances impossible.

The programme achieved a certain amount of notoriety when Vanessa Paradis sang Joe Le Taxi in a see-through costume, but it was cancelled after only eight months.

THE CHART SHOW - 1986-1998

Addicted To Love
Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love was the first and last video to be played on the Chart Show
A direct response to the success of MTV, the Chart Show featured only music videos and replaced presenters with computer graphics.

In an effort to convey the sheer excitement of pop music, the programme was set in an animated funfair.

The Top 10 countdown, for example, took place on a rollercoaster - because songs went up and down.

The Chart Show started life on Channel 4 in 1986, replacing The Tube during a summer break, and later transferred to ITV.

In 1998, the show was axed to make way for Ant and Dec's new Saturday morning venture, CD:UK.

The company behind The Chart Show now produces Channel 4's B4 music video show.

CD:UK - 1998-2006

Anthony McPartlin, Cat Deeley and Declan Donnelly
Ant, Dec and Cat also hosted the children's programme SM:TV
CD:UK was an hour long sugar rush of pre-packaged pop designed to shock sleepy teenagers into action on Saturday mornings.

Presenters Ant and Dec - together with Cat Deeley - were in charge, frequently collapsing into fits of laughter as they introduced acts like Billie Piper, S Club 7 and Britney Spears.

They always seemed more interested in Oasis and U2, but the piercing screams that greeted every Westlife performance dictated that the programme focused squarely on the school disco market.

Occasionally that meant trouble, as when Christina Aguilera turned up in nothing but leather chaps and underwear - prompting a raft of complaints from parents.

The show lost some of its spark when Ant and Dec jumped ship in 2001, and Deeley followed suit in 2005.

CD:UK struggled on with new presenters until April 2006 when it was ignominiously replaced with a cookery programme. It has been reported the show will re-appear on Five later this year.

TOP OF THE POPS - 1964-2006

Jayne Middlemiss presents Top of the Pops
TOTP had 65 presenters, including Jayne Middlemiss
"All of these songs sound the same," was the eternal cry of parents watching Top of the Pops over the last 42 years.

But, despite their complaints, they never quite managed to leave the room - always holding on to see who was at number one.

Initially, the programme had a strict rule about miming - it was compulsory. Records would be visibly placed on a turntable before the artist launched into their performance.

The rule was scrapped, reinstated, fudged and eventually abandoned, but one thing about Top of the Pops remained constant - its representation of the UK's eclectic taste in music.

In one 1977 edition, for example, Bob Marley appeared alongside combine harvester enthusiasts The Wurzels.

What the reggae legend thought of the West Country novelty act is, unfortunately, lost to history.

And now Top of the Pops will be lost to history, too.


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