Sunday, January 19, 2014

What was Top of the Pops

A lot of the controversy at the BBC is centred around the programme Top of the Pops which ran from 1964 to 2006. For those of us who were young in the late 60s and 70s it was compulsive viewing. Although it was a live show, the acts mimed to their music because it would have been impossible for them to reproduce the studio produced versions of their music on the show.

As much as the musicians, the DJs thought they were the stars of the show - Jimmy Saville, David Hamilton, Noel Edmunds, Ed Stewart, Tony Blackburn, Dave Lee Travis etc. Of them all, none was more flamboyant than Jimmy Saville with is blonde locks, his flamboyant clothes and huge cigars.

For the young ladies at the time, the appeal of the show might have been their favourite stars. For we men though, it was the dancers as well. Starting with Pan’s People who appeared on the show from 1968 and by the 70s were a regular feature. When a particular star could not appear on the show, the girls would perform a routine to their hit song. For we men, the eye candy was often more preferable to the limp haired, unwashed appearance of the stars.

it wasn’t just the professional dancers though that caught our eyes. When mini skirts because fashionable, the producers of the show built a high platform for the girls to dance on with a camera placed low to give glimpses of their underwear. It was all heady stuff that mirrored the sexual freedom of the era.

With all this overt sexual tension going on, was it any wonder that things happened? As many stars have commented, the girls made themselves readily available and you didn’t always have the time to ask for their birth certificates. Interestingly though, the recent complaints and accusations have all been made about the DJs and not the pop stars. Perhaps in was the case that young fans sought out attention of the stars whereas in the case of the DJs it was more the other way round. 

Of course, none of this excuses what went on but does perhaps explain why it happened.

In fact these things have always gone on and still happen today. For example, fans at Robbie Williams concerts lift their T-shirts to show him their boobs and hold up placards telling him they want his babies. The difference is that, at live concerts with a stage and security guards between them, there is much less of a chance of actual interaction between fans and the stars

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