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1000th Top of the Pops

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1000th Top of the Pops

Shepherds Bush, London The 5th of May 1983 AD

The first edition aired on January 1 1964, presented by Jimmy Savile (along with Alan ‘Fluff’ freeman). The last – if we discount Christmas and other ‘specials’ – was on July 30 2006 , with Jimmy Savile one of many presenters, and fittingly given the task of symbolically turning the studio’s lights off. It had its ups and downs, but Top of the Pops was an institution for decades.
On May 5 1983 TOTP reached a milestone – its 1000th edition. Inevitably Jimmy Savile was there, along with a host of presenters from every era of the show: John Peel, Simon Bates, Tony Blackburn (poptastic), Noel Edmonds and even David Jacobs among them.
It was party time BBC style, which meant using lots of old clips to punctuate the new stuff. Naturally The Beatles featured on film, playing All You Need is Love . But then so did a panoply of popstars through the programme’s history: Cliff Richard , The Rolling Stones (twice), Bowie, Elton John , and even pre-disgrace Gary Glitter. And it was a big day for Sheffield with Heaven 17, The Human League, and the wonderful Joe Cocker all strutting their musical stuff.
But it wasn’t only the professional acts that made the show. Countless mums and dads (and by now grannies and granddads) around the country still tell their kids about the time the camera panned onto them dancing in the TOTP audience, about how good they looked (some did, most didn’t, some really didn’t – where did those big jumpers come from, and do any eyes need glasses that huge?), about how close they were to somebody legendary miming badly.
One thousand episodes is a hell of an achievement. TOTP was a hell of a show, for all its tackily scripted links and sometimes embarrassing dances troupes (but not Pans People, and especially not you Babs) for most of its nearly 40 years it had a special place in the British heart. It went on to reach 2212 episodes by the way.

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