Top Of The Pops: The Final Countdown, BBC2

by | Jul 30, 2006 | All, Reviews

The deceased is a 42-year-old of indefinable gender. From the apparent wounds, it is evident that the death was a culmination of years of abuse from assailants, as yet unknown, as well as gratuitous self-mutilation.

The introduction of the programme provided the first evidence of this self-mutilation. Various presenters of TOTP stood in an identity parade, and it soon became apparent a number of them were responsible for injurious cruelty and abuse of the television show.

If we first look at the right leg of TOTP, we can see that it is made of wood. This is of a result of the Tony Blackburn Effect, as the stilted, lifeless presentation by the DJ during TOTP’s early life in the 60s caused the limb to get infected by terminal cheesiness, which in turn atrophied the vibrant young flesh. The carrier, a ‘Mr Tony Blackburn’, even carries the infection with him today, evidenced when Pat Sharp hailed TOTP as “a national institution”, the Blackburn germ quipped: “You should be in a national institution.”

Another DJ factor, aside from the unsightly nappy rash of Noel Edmonds, was ‘DLT’, a poisonous foodstuff (a ‘hairy cornflake’) ingested in the 70s that caused the skin to break out in a boorish, self-important disfiguring sweat that causes the body to assume the rotund, wrinkled form of a 58-year-old terminallyhumourless town squire until it was exorcised from the body in the early 90s with the help of a priest and water blessed by the god of common sense.

The clips from the 60s demonstrated that during this period TOTP was a healthy, growing child and was reared on the rich nutrients of fruity The Rolling Stones and sprightly Stevie Wonder. However, TOTP adopted certain criminal addictions that would precipitate a fall in to ill health later in life. One such vice was a predilection for a crafty puff on the human cancer stick of Cliff Richard. A few innocent youthful smokes in TOTP’s youth would have done little harm, but throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s this addiction exacerbated and contributed to TOTP’s lethal infatuation with pompous pseudo-religious dirges.

The 70s were ostensibly when TOTP was at the peak of its health, which was demonstrated in this autopsy with clips from David Bowie’s Starman, John Lennon, The Who, Bob Marley and Blondie. But this was also when the seed of the long term condition called Embarrassing Pandering to Worthless Popstars was planted. In 1971, Michael Jackson, as a member of the Jackson 5, is shown prancing joyfully around singing Rockin’ Robin. Fast-forward to the 90s, and TOTP is breathlessly smothering not just Jackson, but also every other similarly misguided, talentless worm-ridden puppet who lives in a cosseted, ivory tower of record company-indulgence, in the oily lather of grotesque, nauseating hyperbole (or Mark Frith Arse Lick Tongue as it was agriculturally rechristened in 2001).

The 80s saw the first occasion during which TOTP’s life was truly threatened. It arrived in 1987 in the shape of the Great Stock, Aitken & Waterman Plague, a disease carried by plastic pop stars who swarmed into the lungs of TOTP giving it a chronic dose of cystic fibrosis-like symptoms. Thankfully, memories of these dark days were kept to a minimum with the atrocity of Especially For You deemed enough to show off the baleful influence of SAW on TOTP’s fragile health.

The 90s saw TOTP contract what was ultimately a lethal dose of Robbie Williamsitis, a virulent, aggressive mutation of the Take That virus (that itself has its origins in the Great Stock, Aitken & Waterman Plague). RWitis slowly eats away at the heart until it is utterly dissolved, meaning the body has no tool with which to pump fresh blood through the charts and they lapse into a torrent of banal familiarity. The tragedy is that RWitis is an easily treatable condition, but as soon as it appears in the chart bloodstream it must be ignored or ridiculed until it goes away. This cure was developed by scientists in America who were worried about the effect of RWitis on their popular culture; and its success must be measured by the fact that the virus has existed in America for a good decade with little or no ill-effect and a populace who live in blissful ignorance.

The commentary also suggested that a degree of senility had set in to TOTP’s addled brain. The senility manifested itself in the condition known as Marketing Rot, where a myth, dreamt up by record companies, substitutes the truth of what actually occurred. Marketing Rot profoundly tainted TOTP’s last few hours. Pat Sharp described the Spice Girls as “the female Rolling Stones, bringing Girl Power to our attention for the first time”; while Mike Read declared the 90s were “all about Brit Pop and Girl Power”. Brit Pop was merely a snotty nose that lasted a month or two, while Girl Power was a manmade compulsion virus that provoked sufferers to part with their cash under the illusion that they were part of a social gender powershift. And while Girl Power did have the benefit of a short-lived narcotic adrenaline rush, it was soon replaced by a crushing, terminal sense of disillusionment (or the Shayne Ward Syndrome).

And alongside Robbie Williamsitis and Marketing Rot, the third of the unholy trinity of ailments that ultimately caused TOTP’s untimely demise was the Jamiroquai Parasite. It has been estimated that exposure to just 3.25 seconds’ of Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity (which was shown in this autopsy) is enough to strip away the very soul. Unfortunately in the late-90s, nobody was fully aware of the true dangers of Jamiroquai, and TOTP played unwitting host to the parasite (a leering slug-like creature that excretes through its mouth into a bulbous velvet hat) during which time the soul of the programme was surreptitiously hollowed out leaving a huge vacuous hole that manifested in the shape of Tim Kash; a hole through which came many lesser illnesses, such as Crazy Frog, Shania Twain, Girls Aloud and the boil-faced spiritual offspring of human anthrax spore Louis Walsh, but all of which ate away a little more at TOTP’s health until it could stand no more.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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