“All New” Top of the Pops Review
Kevin Little and Wayne Wonder. Two names synonymous with slick r’n’b. Also two names that sound like they attend every Max Power event going in their beefed up Escort RS Cosworths. Kevin Little was on the radio whilst I drove to work this morning with his peculiar falsetto singing which manages to wrench itself into your head “got me going crazy ” etc etc. The Radio 1 playlist still confuses me and I must confess that when Sarah Cox moves to the afternoon show I will switch to Stewart Maconie on Radio 2.
The ‘all new’ Top of the Tops aired for the first time on Friday. Andy Peter’s hopes it’ll reverse the dwindling audience figures. Based on the debut effort I wouldn’t hold my breath. They’ve enlisted some young no-mark from MTV (something Cash, not Pat or Johnny) to host the thing hoping, I guess that he’ll weave some of that MTV magic. I wasn’t altogether convinced. He seemed uncomfortable and I just couldn’t get past that massive mouth that seemed to distort and contort with every word. I kinda wonder why Richard Bacon has been relegated to the BBC3 TOTP after party show. Despite his mid-90’s bad-boy coke ‘issues’ he’s always proven himself to be a good youth presenter. You get the feeling that he’s laughing at what you’re laughing at and you can see the irony in his eyes when he introduces “The amazing Kevin Little”.
Top of the Pops now actively forces the performers to do their thing live. This makes for slightly more fun. Misteek (sp?) did a medley of their hits and Blazing Squad got fifty billion of their mates to sket around the stage. There weren’t too many credible bands in on the act though. Instead of playing live on the show The Darkness did a sort-of tour diary. Craig David did some walking and talking too but we did get Kylie singing one of her album tracks live. At an hour long, I found myself losing interest after the usual 30 minutes the show used to get. There just seemed to be too many cheesy moments – Cash inside BBC centre, Cash outside BBC centre. Back are the teens standing behind the presenter
s grinning at their friends back home whilst doing crappy dancing (harps back to the good ole’ days for sure). The production team certainly hadn’t spent much on the set which was threadbare to say the least. The graphic design on the titles has been beefed up and brought kicking into the 21st century with a soundtrack that revives the late 80s TOTP theme music.
TOTP has tried to copy elements of CDUK without trying to understand what that show has been on a downward spiral since Ant and Dec left. CDUK was watched en masse on a Saturday morning because of its dynamic TV presenters. You only have to watch SMTV and witness the “SMTV Gold” featuring, you guessed it, Ant and Dec. The regular presenters now merely fill time and link the “gold” bits together. TOTP’s Mr. Cash doesn’t exactly ooze charisma. Something I read the other day suggested that the best thing Andy Peter’s could have done was to keep the old format and move it back to Thursday rather than Friday nights. The reason for this? – So the kids would talk about the show in the playground the next day. This kinda assumes that these kids don’t have constant access to Sky and the plethora of music channels that they can switch to at will every time something they don’t like comes on. Maybe there really is no place for Top of the Pops anymore. What do you think?