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29/06/2006 - par Mark Tungate

By the time you read this, the news will be a few days old. But I'm still dealing with the full shock of the revelation : Top of the Pops has been cancelled. After this summer, there will be no more broadcasts of the famous BBC television show, which is one of the most influential (and, let's face it, one of the most kitsch) programmes in pop history. No more bands miming their hits, no more DJ presenters with faces meant for radio, no more Robbie Williams insulting Prince on stage, en direct.

Top of the Pops has been broadcast for 42 years, ­although my first memory of it dates back to the late 1970s. I remember seeing David Bowie singing Ashes to Ashes, and The Stranglers shouting No More Heroes. Later on, I wanted to dress like Paul ­Weller from The Jam. (I also wanted Paul Young's spiky haircut, but let's not get into that.) Morrissey from The Smiths made me wearing glasses and reading books cool. I might never have had sex if it wasn't for Morrissey.

It's easy to see why ToTP (that's what we called it) has been dropped. First there was competition from MTV, then the Internet, and now the Ipod. You can see your heroes performing everywhere now : in the 1970s, The Pops (that's also what we called it) was the only place. Once, the show had 19 million viewers. Now it has less than a million. I won't be in England to see the last ever broadcast of Top of the Pops, but maybe I'll get my Dad to send me a DVD. After all, he was there right at the beginning...

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