Although the idea has been percolating since the show’s demise in 2006, the issue of bringing TOTP back resurfaced earlier this week when the BPI’s Tony Wadsworth and Lauren Laverne called for the show to be revived. But do we really need it to return?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a massive fan of the show, and will happily step on children’s presents and elderly relatives on Christmas day to get to a TV in time for the Xmas special. That being said, I think reviving it would be pointless.
BBC4’s decision to broadcast episodes from 1976 on Thursday nights seems like the right idea; a shot of kitsch nostalgia on the same evening that enraptured viewers in the shows heyday.
The fact it’s on a specialist arts channel like BBC4 is telling too. In 2011, this is the natural home for an antiquated curiosity like TOTP.
The revisionist appreciation for the show feels similar to the memory of beloved magazines like Smash Hits and Select. We remember those publications with a warm, hazy general glow, and not as they were at the time of their demise; sadly past their prime and scrabbling around for a new identity that fit.
In the last three years of the show’s existence it shifted between hosts, transmission days and channels, the cumulative effect was that no-one was actually watching the damn thing. The last episode of the show was met with a general shrugging of shoulders. I mean Fearne Cotton couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to host it (Celebrity Love Island commitments, babes).
Let’s not allow false nostalgia to cloud our judgement. If anything, the shifting tides of interest have moved even further away in the five years since the show ended. The core audience of a modern pop show have disseminated to YouTube or the seemingly endless stream of music channels that exists nowadays.
And while a Jools Holland type show exists for *serious face* “real music” and The X Factor has musical guests as an accompaniment to the meat and two veg business of a talent show, the idea of a revival of TOTP – a performance and video based half-an-hour music show – feels out of step with how people consume their music these days.
So while we continue to enjoy the memory, let’s not try and exhume a long-gone pop culture phenomenon.