TOTP Crusade Gathers Pace
Dylan White's campaign to bring back Top of the Pops has moved forward with solid support for his online petition demanding a "tween-friendly" time slot for the iconic show.
White's campaign, one of a number calling for the programme to be reinstated on the television schedules, is unique as it specifically targets the music industry as well as reaching out to the public.
White gathered hundreds of signatures earlier this year at a Music Week Awards event and says that his bid to revive TOTP in a post-Blue Peter slot that appeals to a young audience was warmly received by the Grosvenor House crowd.
He claims only a lack of resources prevented him from gathering more signatures. "On the night I had no problem getting people to sign it. I just ran out of time and clipboards to get round the whole room. I ended up with just under 500 signatures, which at least is a start," he says. "A marketing executive said to me, 'I see you're targeting tweens', which he then explained was the new phrase for eight- to 12-year-olds, to which I replied, 'Exactly' as this is the next generation discovering music."
White is also calling for the regular return of sister programme TOTP2, which currently appears sporadically on the schedules, most recently throughout 2008's Christmas holiday period.
"TOTP2 would, of course, be targeting ageing teenyboppers, punks, new romantics and, dare I say it, Britpoppers all now serving the tweens their tea but still loving music, old and new," he adds.
White, who runs Dylan White Promotion and Management, did not reveal who had signed his petition at the awards ceremony, although he says he has the support of some very high-profile executives.
The petition is now online at http://www.gopetition.co.uk/online/ 27165.html and White is encouraging the rest of the music industry to get behind his crusade.
"I've put the petition online for all of us in the industry to sign first before we go public, which we can do in due course," he explains.
The petition states, "We the undersigned would like to see TOTP brought back on BBC1 as a teatime kids programme aimed at readers of Top of the Pops magazine and listeners to the Radio One Top 40 show.
"We would also like to see TOTP2 brought back on BBC2 as an evening programme for adults featuring new artists alongside archive clips."
White's efforts to revive TOTP have already seen him contact BBC Vision director Jana Bennett, the executive with overall creative responsibility for BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4, who explained the Corporation's plans for the iconic music show are not quite dead and buried. He has also received a letter of support from Culture Secretary Andy Burnham.
"Once the tweens are in bed, the parents could enjoy a later evening TOTP2," White says, adding that he estimates the combined weekly audience of the two shows at being between 4-6m if broadcast at his suggested times. "That is millions more than are currently being exposed to music on the BBC."
Since the BBC axed Top of the Pops in 2006, the iconic programme has returned for one-off specials, notably around Christmas and New Year last December.
While the BBC has long resisted calls to bring the show back in a regular slot, Bennett explained to White in an email, "We are still considering occasional specials and our wider popular music strategy, so we will stay in touch."
Source: This news release is modified and updated from an article by Ben Cardew, Music Week, 2009.