Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Wednesday, 26 July 2006 21:37 UK

Curtain falls on Top of the Pops

Sir Jimmy Savile, then and now
Savile presented the first Top of the Pops and will co-host the last

Recording has ended for the final edition of Top of the Pops at BBC Television Centre in London.

Just under 200 members of the public were in the audience for the programme, co-hosted by veteran disc jockey Sir Jimmy Savile, its very first presenter.

Janice Long also returned to record links for the show's swansong, alongside Tony Blackburn and Mike Read.

But no live bands took part in the programme, which will instead feature celebrity tributes and archive footage.

The programme will be shown on Sunday, 30 July.

Top of the Pops was only ever as good as the music it played
Tony, Solihull, UK

Classic performances from the Spice Girls, Wham, Madonna, Beyonce Knowles and Robbie Williams will feature in the show alongside the Rolling Stones - the very first band to appear on Top of the Pops.

As is customary, it will conclude with this week's number one single.

As no-one knows what that record will be, presenters recorded six different endings for this Sunday's show.

Among the potential number one artists are Rhianna, Lily Allen, Shakira and McFly.

Most shows don't last 42 days - we lasted 42 years
Sir Jimmy Savile

"At the moment Shakira looks like she's nudged back up to number one," said HMV spokesman Genarro Castaldo, "but there could be a swing at the weekend."

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Sir Jimmy, 79, said it was "terrific" to be hosting the show's final broadcast.

"Most shows don't last 42 days - we lasted 42 years," he said. "You can only feel incredibly proud."

'Marginalised entertainment'

DJ Dave Lee Travis, who hosted the show between 1972 and 1984, also attended the studio recording.

The so-called "Hairy Cornflake" attributed the show's demise after 42 years to its failure to keep up with its target audience.

"If you look at your average kid who might be interested in Top of the Pops, they'll have their iPod in one hand, a mobile phone in the other, they'll be playing a computer with their feet and have a Wi-Fi aerial sticking on the top of their head.

"There's just too much stuff out there," he continued. "Everything's becoming marginalised."

Dave Lee Travis
DJ Dave Lee Travis will also appear in the show's final edition

Trevor Dann, who was head of music entertainment at the BBC from 1996 to 2000, agreed.

"It was a great brand in its day and it's probably had enough."

He added: "We can all remember great moments of Top of the Pops, like Culture Club or Jimi Hendrix.

"We remember them because we watched the telly as a family in those days, and people just don't do that now."

Top of the Pops was first broadcast on New Year's Day 1964, from a converted church in Manchester.

The first show, presented by Sir Jimmy, featured the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles.

During the programme's 1970s heyday, it would regularly attract 15 million viewers.

But in recent years the show saw a marked decline in viewing figures in the face of plummeting singles sales and the growth of 24-hour music channels.


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