Steve Williams

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Steve Williams

Top of the Pops

There was a series of TOTP2 in 2006/7 too, after the main show had ended, which had a fair few new performances on it, mostly made for the international versions which were still in production at the time.

When Top of the Pops ended in 2006, TOTP2 was recommissioned and sold as a continuation of the brand, in that it would have new performances on every week. I wouldn't say most of the performances were from the international versions, pretty much all the bands were British and filmed on the old TOTP set, I remember bands like Maximo Park on it. Obviously they weren't keeping the set standing permanently but they were still doing regular recording sessions.

That run of TOTP2 was on Saturday evenings on BBC2, although it was booted around any time from 5pm to 9pm, and even had a top ten rundown on it for at least the first few weeks. It was a bit of a disappointment, though, it was only a half hour show so they could never appeal to all audiences in that time. It ran for six months between September 2006 and March 2007 at which point it was "rested" as a regular series. There were various specials over the next twelve months but never again was it a weekly series.

The other occasions it came back for a series of episodes was when it was stripped late at night over Christmas 2008 (where it was initially announced it was going to be instead of the Christmas Top of the Pops, but they did one anyway) and then the two weeks in 2012 as mentioned.

It's easy to forget now but in 2012 it genuinely felt like Top of the Pops might come back as a regular thing, because the BBC4 repeats were doing good business, they had that series of TOTP2, the At The BBC compilations would be on BBC4 every five minutes, they'd just discovered a load of lost footage like David Bowie doing The Jean Genie which had got in all the papers and they announced they were going to do a live stage show under the brand, plus the sixtieth anniversary of the chart was coming up and there were various things announced for that. So it felt like Pops was becoming a big brand for the Beeb again and I genuinely thought it might come back. But unfortunately Savile happened and it became a totally toxic brand and that was the end of it.

I'd like to see them repeat some of the original TOTP2s- from the first few Johnnie Walker series where they included some performances from that week's TOTP as well as archive ones. I don't think they've ever been shown since original broadcast, unlike the Steve Wright episodes, which have had plenty of repeats on various channels down the years.

You'd struggle to get much interest in the earliest Walker episodes because they're so unlike the TOTP2 that people remember, it was pretty much all new music. For the first two years or so, the archive stuff only featured in two specific sections, The First Time where they'd feature the debut of a notable act, and Recorded For Recall where they'd show clips from two specific episodes, but not full performances (of course in those days they'd have to ration anything pre-1976 as we didn't really know how few of those existed). The rest of it was all new music, and Ric Blaxill launched it as a magazine show for older audiences, so there would be three or four performances from that week's Pops of the songs of interest to older viewers (which was useful if you'd missed it) and three or four videos of records that were going to be in the next week's chart, plus any interesting videos (I remember on the first show they showed a Rolling Stones video which, Stardust-style, hadn't been finished before the record fell out of the charts). So it was a very topical show, based very much on the current charts, and one seemingly unsuitable to repeat.

Over the years Recorded For Recall was extended to include full performances, and Top of the Pops itself being repeated from 1996 meant there was no need to show extracts on TOTP2, so there was much less new music, and by the time Steve Wright took over in 1997 it was pretty much non-stop old records with a single new video at the end, which was the format people came to know and love. The high water mark for TOTP2 was in 1999, just after the first showing moved to Wednesday teatimes (with a repeat in the old slot on Saturday teatimes), when that November Top of the Pops and TOTP2 were both on BBC2 one week and TOTP2 got a bigger audience.

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Steve Williams

BBC News: Presenters & Rotas

Who is prying into what? And don't forget, VD has made very public documentaries - and indeed written a book that has been plugged on the BBC - on her "private life".

This is a pretty offensive argument, I'm afraid, virtually identical to the "they choose to put themselves in the spotlight" argument that people used to justify phone hacking. Victoria Derbyshire decided to discuss and document particular aspects - of her own choosing - of her cancer treatment in an attempt to educate people about the realities of cancer and provide comfort for other sufferers. She did not do this to give people on the internet the excuse to nose around and make judgements about her life. I find it wholly unpleasant to even bring it up as an excuse.

What is this questioning supposed to achieve? What do you want to find out? That Derbyshire is "skiving"? It's absolutely none of anyone's bloody business. If Derbyshire's "absences" were becoming a problem, don't you think her bosses might have noticed before some peope on the internet? And if she is absent, so what? You don't honestly think it's just because she can't be bothered, surely? What possible reason would there be for that? You don't get anywhere near being a senior presenter on a major broadcaster if you don't work hard and aren't dedicated. What are we trying to prove here? She's not claiming benefits or anything.

Spare me all the stuff about being a licence fee payer so you have a right to know. I'm assuming you have the same issue with Graham Norton. He's only on the telly for 45 minutes a week and on the radio three hours a week, and he has three months off in the summer. And he's definitely on more money than Victoria Derbyshire, and more likely to be "on a retainer for the use of his name", if such a thing existed (which I seriously doubt). Can someone tell me what the difference is between the two, please? And no, "because her name is on the show so she should do them all like Graham does" doesn't count when it's on five days a week all year round.

I'll say it again, the hours Victoria Derbyshire works are nobody's bloody business. She is absolutely not the only person at the BBC who isn't on five days a week, in front of or behind the camera. And really, who cares? Who says everyone has to work a five day week? My dad (who doesn't work in the public sector) works four days a week because he works long and inconvenient hours. He is renumerated accordingly. My mum (who also doesn't work in the public sector) works three days a week because that's how much she wants to work to achieve the work-life balance she prefers. And again, is renumerated accordingly. This has all been agreed with their employers and there is no innuendo when they don't work the "other" day(s) of the week. I don't want anyone to start slagging off my parents for "skiving" or being "lazy", so why should Victoria Derbyshire have to put up with it?

I can't believe this discussion keeps on coming up on this forum, often from the same few posters with an axe to grind for the flimsiest of reasons. It's incredibly unpleasant and highly disrespectful.