TOTP2 (BBC2, 1994-present)
In 1994, Top Of The Pops had reached its 30th anniversary and remained the leading pop music show on TV. So it was decided to expand the idea a little, and launch a spin-off series on BBC2. TOTP2 would usually be shown on Saturday evenings, and would complement the main edition (that was shown on Thursdays at the time). Curiously, it also used the TOTP symbol that wouldn’t actually be introduced on the main show until February 1995.
There was no in-vision presenter, everything was announced by a voiceover, who at the start was Johnnie Walker, who was also a presenter on BBC Radio 2. TOTP2 was aimed at a slightly older audience than the main show, and as well as featuring the highlights of what was currently on the singles chart, it also took a look back in the archive at some classic performances.
Most of these were usually shown because it was the anniversary of when the song first entered the chart, or because it was the birthday of one of the performers of the song. It was always good seeing a song on TV for the first time in a while and discovering where they are now. There would also be a few music videos shown, including what was currently hot on the American chart, and what could be about to become a success in the UK.
There would also be some fact boxes which offered more information, and these were similar to what The ITV Chart Show did. After a few years, TOTP2 started to move around the schedule, and the new presenter was Steve Wright (who had moved from Radio 1 to Radio 2), although some viewers thought that he made too many “laughing at people’s clothes in the 70s”-style comments.
The format started to change a little, and sometimes there were themed editions looking back at a particular act or genre, and there were also performances featured that had been specially recorded in the TOTP studio. The fact boxes remained, but they had been redesigned, and they began to get rather annoying, as sometimes the information appeared onscreen at about three words a time.
There were also a few specials where some celebrities picked their favourite moments from the archive. After the regularly weekly TOTP ended in 2006, TOTP2 did continue, and by now the host was Mark Radcliffe (yet another Radio 2 presenter), and it was extended to an hour, although by this point it was only appearing occasionally in the schedule. I think that the show is still active, although there haven’t been any editions for a while.
This wasn’t the only time that TOTP tried to expand their name. In 1995, a monthly magazine was launched, seemingly trying to rival Smash Hits and the like. Somewhat surprisingly, the magazine is still going, as I would imagine that the TOTP name doesn’t mean a huge amount to today’s pop-loving youngsters. Maybe it’s because they love the posters and free gifts of multicoloured poo emojis that come with it.