Can you get Top of the Pops in the States

01:00 Mon 14th May 2001 |

Q.� Can you get Top of the Pops in America

A.� According to the BBC, producer Chris Cowey has been in negotiations with American networks for a US version of TOTP for some time.� The US version would be based around the Billboard charts with bands being selected onto the show.

Q. How old is TOTP

A.� The show was launched at 6.30pm on January 1 1964 after BBC bosses recognised the success of Cathy McGowans's Ready Steady Go! on ITV. The first studio was a disused church in Manchester. The initial shows had no live acts but the charts were very much a central theme. After 12 programmes the run was open-ended and British music was seen to be influencing world charts. After an early shift from Wednesday, Thursday night remained TOTP night for 30 years and it remained loyal to its format: the number one record was�always featured; the highest new entry was shown; the highest climber was shown; songs going down the chart would not be featured unless they started to climb again and featured a higher place than their original position; no record apart from Number One could be repeated on consecutive programmes.

Q.� What about the presenters

A.� Jimmy Saville and Tony Blackburn became the sole presenters, alternating each week to allow the programme more flexibility.

Q.� When did it move to London

A. TOTP moved south in 1966 and it began to introduce dance acts such as Pans' People which became as popular as the bands performing. In the 90s guest presenters such as Jack Dee, Take That� and Chris Eubank were brought in to prop up viewing figures as it went head to head with Coronation Street on a Friday night.

Q.� Which other UK programmes have been well received on the other side of the Atlantic

A.� Most recently, Anne Robinson�has become the first presenter since David Frost to be a star on both sides of the pond at the same time for The Weakest Link. ITV successfully exported Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and past hits include Monty Python's Flying Circus, Benny Hill and Tracey Ullmann.

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By Katharine MacColl

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