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Steve Williams2,812 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I suppose we've got to get used to the basic 30 minute shows now we have just entered the Eastenders era. At least not so many early evening edits, but I always thought 30 minutes was far too short for TOTP at the time.


Although we're currently in a run of thirty minute shows, it doesn't become thirty minutes full time until later in the year - 'stEnders is at seven at the moment, while Tomorrow's World is still only 25 minutes, so the regular slot for Pops between April and August was 35 minutes at 7.55. It doesn't get bolted to 7pm until September.
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dvboy9,879 posts since 11 Jan 2003
Central (West) Midlands Today
This week's episodes on BBC Four, I recorded them in SD and Thursday's went out in the original aspect ratio (which meant stretchyvision on my Sky box) while Friday's went out with black bars added either side (as they usually do on BBC Four HD).
Watch it and find out.
Robert Williams715 posts since 25 Jan 2003
London London
Actually that reminds me of a question I had. When did TOTP (and the vast majority of the beeb's shows) go widescreen?


I think it was upon the return to Television Centre in 2001. TOTP was comparatively late in moving to widescreen, most other BBC programmes had already make the switch a few years earlier. Parkinson is the other notable example of a programme that remained in 4:3, and I think it stayed that way until moving to ITV.
Robert Williams715 posts since 25 Jan 2003
London London
I record from BBC4 SD and always get it pillarboxed :p


On BBC Four SD, on Freeview at least, they normally switch off the widescreen flag on 4:3 programmes, which means that the picture fills the screen on 4:3 sets. They didn't do that on either 7.30 or 11.30 airings yesterday, or on The Good Old Days, which meant that the picture had black bars on all four sides. Sounds of the 60s in between, on the other hand, was transmitted correctly.

Viewers on 16:9 sets would have just seen black bars either side, same as what BBC Four HD viewers always see.

Fingers crossed they get it right on the final airing of this episode tonight, otherwise I'll just have to hope they get round to 1985 again on the late night repeated repeats.
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Woodpecker430 posts since 19 Jan 2018
Central (West) Midlands Today
Actually that reminds me of a question I had. When did TOTP (and the vast majority of the beeb's shows) go widescreen?


I think it was upon the return to Television Centre in 2001. TOTP was comparatively late in moving to widescreen, most other BBC programmes had already make the switch a few years earlier. Parkinson is the other notable example of a programme that remained in 4:3, and I think it stayed that way until moving to ITV.


Yes, it was upon the return to TVC in October 2001. ISTR that Jamie Theakston, Zoe Ball and someone else (possibly Dermot O'Leary?) presented the first show: though after a couple of weeks it seemingly went back to just Jamie hosting every week. You might remember that that was the relaunch that introduced the wonderful(!) Star Bar, touted as giving viewers the opportunity to see their favourite artists unwinding. Of course, the reality was far more underwhelming...

The full version of the first show back at TVC was on YouTube, but as it appears to have been removed you'll have to settle for a solitary clip of Pulp:



I have to admit that at that point, I think the German Top of the Pops was a bit better than ours - they seemed to deviate from the formula a little more than we did, with competitions and the like, and they also regularly used artists as guest presenters (though they typically did their links in English with German subtitles). Funny to think that at that time, there were also local versions of TOTP in France, the Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand and even the Middle East. Then when our TOTP finished, all the other versions died a death...
Last edited by Woodpecker on 10 February 2018 8:35pm