Radio Tip Top (BBC Radio 1, 1995-1996)
Recently I looked back at Tip Top TV, a rather unusual one-off music show on ITV in 1994. There wasn’t a full series of this, but Kid Tempo and The Ginger Prince were given a second chance when they transferred their format to radio. In the mid-90s, Radio 1 experimented with various comedy shows in a late-night slot, this being one of them. I don’t remember this from the time, but after seeing the TV show again, I thought that I’d give the radio version a go, and they picked up where they left off really.
They took over the airwaves for an hour every Wednesday evening, what would they fill the time with? Kid Tempo was insistent that Radio Tip Top (the station with the happy difference) was coming to listeners courtesy of Lynewyre Technology in Total Spectrasound (that still isn’t a real thing and he was still going on about it), and their aim as always was to put the fizz back into pop.
Radio Tip Top was around the time that Britpop was at its height, but you were unlikely to hear much of that type of music here, because this was an attempt at something rather different, and this show had a rather retro feel, with lots of songs and jingles from the 60s. The Ginger Prince would be at The Starlight Rooms with all of the biggest pop acts, some of them were world-famous, and you could do The Slosh to their songs, which is ever so good for you, everyone was clearly having a good time.
And there was also a club that could be joined for free, thousands of people did this, because they had smartly realised that this was the hip thing to do. You would be sent a newsletter and membership number, and you could also request a song to be played, what great times. Shows ended with the Tip Top Top Ten, a highly accurate showcase of the hottest sounds around.
There were two series of Radio Tip Top, and the duo did attract something of a cult following with their style, making sure that they were almost certainly the final people to play a song by Ken Dodd on Radio 1, but after this came to an end, they were barely heard of again, and I’m not aware of any repeat runs. I presume that 25 years on they still don’t send out the newsletters.