BBC Radio 1 "UK Top 20/Top 40" (partially lost British radio chart show; 1972-2003)

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BBC radio 1 logo.png

The radio station's logo.

Status: Partially Lost

"The UK Top 20/Top 40" was a long running British music chart show, broadcast on Sunday evenings on BBC Radio 1 between October 1972 and February 2003.

Background[edit | edit source]

Prior to 1972, the BBC had aired another chart show "Pick of the Pops" first on the BBC Light Programme from 1955, then on Radio 1 from 1967. This show ended in September 1972 when host of 11 years Alan "Fluff" Freeman decided to step down to focus on presenting other shows in the stations schedule.

Beginning on the 1st October that year, a new programme, entitled "Solid Gold Sixty" took its place. The three-hour show was hosted by Tom Browne, a then relativly obscure presenter & actor. This was shortened to just 1 hour in 1974 owing to BBC budget cuts, before being restored to a two-hour Top 40 in November 1978, by now hosted by Simon Bates. Later presenters included Tony Blackburn, Tommy Vance, Richard Skinner, Bruno Brookes & Mark Goodier.[1] At the height of its popularity between the mid 1980s and early 1990s, the average listening figures for the show reached upwards of 4 million.[2]

The format would essentially remain unchanged until January 1991, when the Top 40 was extended by a half hour to accomodate room for all 40 songs in the chart to be at least partially played. In March 1992 the runtime was extended again to three hours, to allow all songs to be played in full.

Although the show officially continued until 2015, the Top 40 underwent a major revamp in 2003, with an altered format and new name The Official Chart Show. Given it's vastly altered format, it is listed seperatly.

Availability[edit | edit source]

Owing to it's immense popularity, a sizable quanity of programmes (1107) have survived in full thanks to members of the public recording the show. Most shows from before the late 1990s survive mainly on reel to reel tape or cassettes, while some later shows were recovered from VHS (recording from digital TV) or minidisc. Many gaps do still persist, however, including the shows first two years on air (1972-1974), where no complete 3 hour recordings are known to have survived, partly due to the first two hours being broadcast solely on MW as opposed to FM. Almost all of the 1 hour Top 20 programmes from 1974 to 1978 have been recovered, whilst many of the 2 and 3 hour shows from 1978 to 2003 have survived both complete and incomplete. Due to falling interest and listener figures, many shows from 1996 onwards do not survive in full, with only a small number of complete shows available from mid-2000 onwards.

Archive Status[edit | edit source]

Since c.2014, the vast majority of all major discoveries and recoveries concerning the programme have been made available online via audio streaming site Mixcloud. In the last 5 years, an increased online prescence has led to hundreds of previously lost shows being recovered, ranging from accross the shows lifespan. Attempting to list every edition's status would be near impossible, but the table below breaks down shows by year.

Year Shows Broadcast Surviving Complete
1972 14 13 10
1973 52 49 46
1974 52 44 37
1975 52 50 45
1976 52 51 44
1977 52 50 44
1978 53 53 48
1979 52 50 19
1980 52 51 24
1981 52 47 36
1982 52 52 39
1983 52 51 41
1984 53 51 45
1985 52 44 31
1986 52 46 39
1987 52 39 32
1988 53 48 41
1989 55 52 47
1990 53 52 46
1991 53 53 45
1992 53 53 36
1993 53 52 34
1994 53 52 41
1995 53 52 42
1996 54 52 36
1997 53 50 30
1998 53 53 30
1999 52 52 38
2000 53 49 21
2001 53 46 14
2002 53 44 24
2003 5 4 2

External Link[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]