The 70s Episode Guide


Colour television, some of the highest viewing figures. Oh, and a whole lotta love.



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Year by Year Guide




Decade In Review

As the 1960s ended and 1970s began, there were few changes at Television Centre.  Jimmy Saville and Tony Blackburn were the main presenters of TOTP at the turn of the decade, alternating each week, and Johnnie Stewart remained as the show's Executive Producer until 1971.  Presenters became more radio orientated as BBC Radio 1 was in full swing, introducing new faces to the programme, such as Noel Edmonds and Dave Lee Travis.

Although every episode after November 1969 was broadcast in colour, some of the remaining episodes from 1970-1973 only exist in the BBC archive as black & white, either because they were recorded in black & white as it was cheaper or they have been returned to the archive this way.

By 1971, TOTP had a new executive producer, Robin Nash. Robin Nash kept things basically the same, with some arguing that the early 70’s were clinging onto the 60’s too much, and this was certainly reflected in the production of the show. However, in the early 70s a new type of music was emerging, glam rock. Non-coincidentally, the stage performances by Pan's People became more risqué and sexualised, no doubt increasing the show's appeal to a male audience.


The early 1970s saw a number of strikes happening across all professions. This often meant that TOTP had no made-up studio at all. The BBC had already cut back the budget for the show; hence, the sets from this period look like someone has hung a cardboard box from the ceiling. The lighting of the studio was also different, no special lighting was used anymore because of the cut backs. 
The decade saw the launch of TOTP’s best known circular logo on 4th October 1973, the same edition in which TOTP celebrated its 500th episode. They all had the same theme, CCS’s version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’. In 1978, Robin Nash scrapped the theme along with titles and all viewers got was a quick animation of the logo at the end of the show. The theme music had been traditionally played over the Top 30 rundown at the start of the show, but now it was replaced with music that was in the charts at the time. As the 70’s moved on, punk and disco became the mainstream music genres and the show's budget steadily increased. Studio sets became more attractive and permanent; in came the ‘stain glass window effect’ sets. Robin Nash decided to develop the show a bit more in the late 70s as punk started giving into new wave music. Part of this change was to introduce another roster of newer presenters to host the show, such as David "Kid" Jensen and Peter Powell, but 60s stars Jimmy Savile and Tony Blackburn were still around, albeit less.

In September 1979, TOTP reached its highest viewing figures to date, 19 million, benefiting from a long-running ITV strike. However, by the late 70’s the appearance and identity of the show was somewhat of an issue. 
The turn of the decade saw a brand new set for TOTP, dominated by curves and shiny metal, ready to welcome in the start of the 80s…