Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. The world's longest running weekly music show, TOTP was shown every Thursday evening on BBC One, except for a short period on Fridays in mid-1973, and again in autumn 1974, before once again being moved to Fridays at 7:30 pm from 1996 to 2005 and then to Sundays on BBC Two from 2005 till the last ever weekly show in 2006. Each weekly show consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music records, usually excluding any tracks moving down the chart, including a rundown of that week's singles chart. This was originally the Top 20, changing to the Top 30 during the 1970s and the Top 40 in the 80s.
The Official Charts Company states "performing on the show was considered an honour, and it pulled in just about every major player." The Rolling Stones were the first band to perform on TOTP with "I Wanna Be Your Man". Snow Patrol were the last act to play live on the weekly show when they performed their single "Chasing Cars". In addition to the weekly show there was a special edition of TOTP on Christmas Day (and usually, until 1984, a second edition a few days after Christmas), featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year and the Christmas Number 1. Although the weekly show was cancelled in 2006, the Christmas special has continued. End-of-year round-up editions have also been broadcast on BBC1 on or around New Year's Eve, albeit largely featuring the same acts and tracks as the Christmas Day shows. It also survives as Top of the Pops 2, which began in 1994 and features vintage performances from the Top of the Pops archives.
The show has seen seminal performances over its history. The March 1971 TOTP appearance of T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan wearing glitter and satins as he performed "Hot Love" is often seen as the inception of glam rock. In the 1990s, the show's format was sold to several foreign broadcasters in the form of a franchise package, and at one point various versions of the show were shown in more than 120 countries. Editions of the programme from the 1970s (and now 1980s) are being repeated on most Thursday and Friday evenings on BBC Four, although episodes featuring disgraced presenters and artists such as Jimmy Savile (who opened the show with its familiar slogan, 'It's Number One, it's Top of the Pops') and Gary Glitter are not repeated.
1 January 1964
TV Show Status
All New Top of the Pops
Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, Middlesex, England, UK
Manchester Studios, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England, UK