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Top Of The Pops makes a comeback

Top Of The Pops is to return - with the BBC showing weekly reruns in its original time slot.

The much-loved show was a viewing staple for 42 years until it was axed in 2006 after falling audiences.

But now the BBC is to draw on its huge cache to retransmit old editions of the programme, episode by episode, each Thursday night at 7.30pm from April 7.

The series will start at 1976, the point at which the BBC's full archive of shows begins. Although 1976 was the year punk began to take hold as a movement, it was not reflected in the programme that year as many acts railed against the safe, establishment show.

Although the series began in 1964, originally recorded in a Manchester church, many editions were famously lost or taped over in the days when TV stations were less rigorous about cataloguing their shows.

Individual performances have been used for editions of TOTP2, but they have rarely been shown in full. It is hoped the reruns will continue to run for subsequent years.

BBC Four controller Richard Klein said: "Let's see how it goes."

Acts who featured on TOTP during 1976 included Abba with Dancing Queen and The Wurzels performing Combine Harvester, as well as artists as diverse as Jethro Tull, Tina Charles, Bryan Ferry and Acker Bilk.

The reruns will be a mixed blessing for many of the presenters, who may be horrified to see the dated outfits they wore to host the show.

Although TOTP was dropped five years ago, it is revived annually for a Christmas Day edition. The series will launch with a documentary, to be shown this Friday, which looks at the show in 1976 as a "barometer" of music and light entertainment in general.

© Press Association