Sunday, August 28, 2005

ITV Teletext hypes the 1970s!

I remember last year reading about the "heyday" of Top of the Pops on ITV's Teletext service. It was said to be, of course, in the 1970s - "viewing figures of up to 19.4 million".

Good heavens - when?! I wondered. A quick check of the TV ratings showed that Teletext was right - TOTP had 19.4 million viewers on one occasion in October 1979.

When the ITV strike was on and viewers had no other option but to watch the BBC!

And as BBC2 was a minority interest channel, guess what BBC channel we were all watching?

Yes, top prize is yours, we were all watching BBC1, home of TOTP!

In fact, BBC1 was the only other option - there was no Channel Four and no Sky back then.

But Teletext didn't mention the strike. Perhaps the article's writer was too young to remember it? Or perhaps it simply didn't go with 70s hype mode?

So, that was the (entirely imaginary) Top of the Pops 1970s heyday. I contacted Teletext, who removed the "heyday" comment, but, it must be said, grudgingly!

Did any decade ever undergo such a lot of tweaking and lies to make it seem enjoyable in retrospect as the 1970s? Was it the same when we were celebrating the 1950s back in the 70s? I doubt it. In one of the online "Off the Telly" reviews - subject the BBC's I Love... series, the reviewer states that the 80s were "a less enjoyable decade". Now, I'm no 80s fan, but bear in mind that this reviewer had just sat through I Love The 1970s, which had contained at least five items of 1980s pop culture! Things unheard of in the 70s, or completely unavailable, sparkling away as fads of that decade.

The 1960s were also raided.

The real 1970s were NOT a time of fast-moving fads. Pop culture moved much slower back then (look at the time we took to shake off the 1960s hippie look).

But people who weren't even there seem happy to believe the lies.