BBC has confirmed that the Top of the Pops Christmas and New Year specials *will* be happening this year.— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) November 24, 2020
So the "And there will be no Top of the Pops" line was quietly removed from the BBC News article at some point this morning. Wonder if they were waiting on news of the post-lockdown arrangements before making a decision, hence it not being in the press release.
Yes, rumours of this programme's demise seemingly greatly exaggerated. Presumably somebody at BBC News noticed it wasn't in the press pack and put two and two together.
Well, I would probably agree with you in terms of it being a regular weekly show, but I don't see the harm in Top of the Pops turning up once a year. The young audience don't care about the show's history, if it's an hour of artists they know and like, they'll watch it, and to my mind, as an old man, it probably more effectively reflects modern music these days than it did at times in the past (like how in the late 70s it was famously late to the party in terms of punk, and how in 1990 it's now struggling to cope with dance music).
To have one hour of pop music in a fairly prime slot on BBC1 in a year doesn't seem too much to ask. It pretty much always wins its slot, creates footage that can be frequently recycled on clip shows and is presumably still an important tool for the record industry as bands still appear on it. And with no need to justify it on a weekly basis, I think its future is probably more secure now than it was during the nineties and noughties.
The phrases ‘rinse and repeat’ and ‘diminishing returns’ come to mind.
Clive James, 1977...
"Morecambe and Wise's Christmas special stuck to their by-now-classic format, including a production number sung and danced by a host of the Beeb's familiar faces. To the strain of 'Nothing Like A Dame', the likes of Barry Norman were allowed to fulfil their fantasies by dancing in sailor suits. This made me very envious of the likes of Barry Norman. Penelope Keith was the guest. Eddie Braben's script invited her to mistake Ernie for Kermit the Frog. Angie Rippon danced through. Every component of the show was triple-tested. The sense of adventure was consequently lacking. Eric was twice as funny busking with Dickie Davies on World of Sport on Christmas Eve."
Sounds like Clive was suggesting the schedules were a bit predictable during the apparent greatest Christmas in the history of television. Almost as if every generation looks back on the previous one as the golden age.
Christmas on BBC1 involves the biggest stars in the biggest shows, which is what Mrs Brown, Call The Midwife and Doctor Who are. The most popular shows on telly this week are Strictly, Bake-Off and I'm A Celebrity, all over a decade old. The audience clearly aren't bored of them now, why should they be on Christmas Day? If you look on Twitter when 'stEnders, Casualty or Holby aren't on for some reason, you don't see people rejoicing they're not there. You see people complaining they're not, because they want to see them all the time. People want to see shows and stars they know.
There is an argument that all these big shows are quite old, and not much else seems to be coming through. But if they're still hugely popular, which they are, why shouldn't they be there? I've said this before, but I used to ask for The Beano Book every Christmas, because I liked getting The Beano Book for Christmas. It wasn't the same book every year.
But Gavin and Stacey was a revival of a ten-year old series, so that's hardly any great innovation, is it? It's hardly "the regular line-up" when they keep adding new shows to it. Doctor Who hasn't been on Christmas Day since 2017, so they are clearly not averse to ringing the changes.
And it's hard to argue that the audiences are bored of the same shows and looking for excitement on Christmas Day when the audience who used to watch BBC1 seem to be going to Dad's Army on BBC2, Home Alone on C4, Bond films on ITV2 or things like Elf on Netflix. People like to watch the familar on Christmas Day.