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BBC softens stance on Top Of The Pops

BBC softens stance on Top Of The Pops

Director of BBC Vision Jana Bennett, who has overall creative responsibility for BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4, explained the Corporation's plans for the iconic music show are not quite dead and buried.

In an email sent to plugger Dylan White - who has led the industry's efforts to revive the show since it was axed in 2006 - Bennett says the programme is still under consideration as part of the Corporation's music strategy. Previously, the BBC has met all earlier calls to revive the show, including a recent one from Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, with a no-nonsense refusal.

However, Bennett dismisses White's proposal to revive Top Of The Pops in a post-Blue Peter slot that he believes will appeal to a young audience.

"Thank you for your very thoughtful letter about a future for Top Of The Pops," Bennett writes in an email dated January 19. "While you are spot on regarding the core audience, the issue of using a slot post-Blue Peter for a targeted audience when we are committed to older audiences leading up to the Six O'clock News is one of real trade-offs.

"But we are still considering occasional specials and our wider popular music strategy, so we will stay in touch."

White has worked tirelessly in lobbying the BBC to bring back the much-missed show. He is spurred by the lack of avenues for popular music on terrestrial TV channels as well as the reaction of his own young daughters to the recent Top Of The Pops Christmas special.

"Specials are great but by their name are few and far between," he replies to Bennett, in an email also copied to director of BBC Audio and Music Tim Davie and BBC One controller Jay Hunt. "We watched the Christmas TOTP live as it came on before the big meal was served, the girls loved every act and again asked me the question, 'Why isn't this on all the time?'"

"I would go for the trade-off," he continued. "I'm sure when I was a lad kids' programmes went right up to the news."

White's plan to revive the show involves running it after Blue Peter, in a move intended to appeal to that show's audience of between 1-2m.

"As we all know, appoin-tment-to-view TV is hard and BBC Sound on BBC2 on a Saturday lunchtime targeting teenagers with an audience figure of around 100,000 will tell you that they've all gone out," he explains.

"So my reasoning is TOTP has to be on at a time when a lot of young people are already watching, so the 1-2m watching Blue Peter are not going to turn off if TOTP is on next on a Tuesday afternoon.

"The content of the programme would be driven by [Top Of The Pops] magazine and the Top 40, so would heavily feature the likes of High School Musical, Rihanna, Sugababes, Katy Perry and, yes, some X Factor stars."

White, who runs Dylan White Promotions, is offering his services to the BBC to discuss ideas for TOTP's future.

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