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TOP of the POPS - Thursday evenings BBC4!
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Ian Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin wrote:
I wish the aspect ratio hadn't been cropped to widescreen in order to match that of modern falt-screen TVs.

Dunno what you're on about - it's 4:3 on the TVs in our house. I think you need to check your settings.
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Colin



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do know the difference between an authentic 16:9 image sequence and a 4:3 stretch on a widescreen display. I should do - I've worked professionally with video for over 30 years and my business today serves clients requiring analogue-to-digital video digitisation and transcoding!

A lot of current archiving is done is dual format - 4:3 native and 16:9 cropped and I contend that a lot of the TOTPs that I have seen have been cropped. Thankfully the original 2" Quad and Helical tape recordings made at the BBC were good enough to sustain cropping today. Technically, that's good, but from a composition point of view it removes essential content from the original.

If my display settings were incorrect I'd be seeing a "fat" image, after all, and I think I'd be able to detect that (even if many people seem incapable of doing so).
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin, the full frames are being broadcast in 4:3. If you're getting anything cropped, your settings are wrong.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caught up with this week's and was surprised to see they cut out Chas n Dave's TOTP debut from the main showing. Luckily, it was on the repeat. Not a bad episode overall - lots of singles that didn't actually make the Top 40 (including "Strummin"). Perhaps limiting themselves to the 40 is where it all went wrong?
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It probably was. Have a look at those editions from the early 1970s when, for a while anyway, you had album tracks featured and, at least one new release (sometimes two) incorporated among the top 30 stuff. Those would have been much more interesting editions. And the studio audience weren't encouraged to make noises rather like an advancing tribe of red indians in those days!
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Colin



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian, I have seen some editions that have displayed as 16:9. I do know how to set up a TV display and I do know the difference between 4:3 native and 4:3 stretched!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin wrote:
Ian, I have seen some editions that have displayed as 16:9. I do know how to set up a TV display and I do know the difference between 4:3 native and 4:3 stretched!

Fair enough. I've watched it every week and not a single one has been broadcast in the wrong aspect ratio or cropped off but if you want to believe it has been then I'm not going to stop you thinking that.
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Colin



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Robinson wrote:

Fair enough. I've watched it every week and not a single one has been broadcast in the wrong aspect ratio or cropped off but if you want to believe it has been then I'm not going to stop you thinking that.


I concede! I recently watched a compilation of TOTP clips within another programme broadcast on BBC4 recently, and also some editions on another channel, and both were shown in cropped mode. I had this is my mind when commenting above. I've just checked recent editions on iPlayer and can see that they're in 4:3 so I apologise. I'm rather glad to see that they haven't been tamped with as well!

There is an unfortunate tendancy for digitized 4:3 shows to be cropped lately, though, and it's annoying. On a recent visit to the BFI's National Film & TV Archive centre in Berkhamstead, Herts., I was reassured that that the first priority is to get a full, uncompressed, digital capture file of the 4:3 source material "as is", and where a cropped version is required this is undertaken by specialists on a needs-only basis. There are lots of TV channels these days that will simply not consider transmitting 4:3 material because their viewers would only complain. Amazing really...
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just watched this edition on BBC4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03hwgnl/Top_of_the_Pops_30_11_1978/ Thankfully they didn't edit out any of the turns, unlike the previous repeated edition, when we were denied X-Ray Spex 'Germ Free Adolescence'. Does anyone know why this was? Not a bad edition. Just had a laugh at The Barron Knights 'A Taste Of Aggro'. I wonder if they are still around, if so, perhaps they should start making records again, there must surely be plenty in the music biz to take the rise out of these days! Also a Darts track that most people must surely have forgotten about. I certainly don't remember 'Donít Let It Fade Away'. Neither do I Mankind's version of the Dr Who theme tune. These days, of course, very much back in vogue.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Evan Elpuss wrote:
I've just watched this edition on BBC4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03hwgnl/Top_of_the_Pops_30_11_1978/ Thankfully they didn't edit out any of the turns, unlike the previous repeated edition, when we were denied X-Ray Spex 'Germ Free Adolescence'. Does anyone know why this was?

It wasn't edited out. You've got to watch the post-midnight broadcasts, which are complete.

Quote:
Just had a laugh at The Barron Knights 'A Taste Of Aggro'. I wonder if they are still around, if so, perhaps they should start making records again, there must surely be plenty in the music biz to take the rise out of these days!

My girlfriend watched them perform at Chelsea Flower Show last year. Sadly, they were completely "straight" - just doing 50s covers.

Quote:
Neither do I Mankind's version of the Dr Who theme tune. These days, of course, very much back in vogue.

This has just been re-released to cash in on Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary.

BBC Four have confirmed the repeats will carry on into 2014 - however, there were more Savile/DLT episodes in 1979 than '78 so it's going to be a bit patchy.
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done to Liza Tarbuck for playing it on her show of 23/11: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03j0vk8
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having watched BBC4's "TOTP Big Hits of 1979" I realise where Colin's confusion has come from. This compilation did indeed crop the top and bottom of the picture off - but thankfully the main broadcasts (which restart this Thursday) don't do this.

Speaking of the compilation, Mike Batt was annoyed that despite being Number One for 6 weeks, "Bright Eyes" wasn't considered "big" enough for the show.
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Colin



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Robinson wrote:
Having watched BBC4's "TOTP Big Hits of 1979" I realise where Colin's confusion has come from. This compilation did indeed crop the top and bottom of the picture off - but thankfully the main broadcasts (which restart this Thursday) don't do this.


Yes, it does depend upon which programme strand you're watching at any given time. It makes sense to show whole programmes in their original 4:3 format, but I can understand the logic of cropping to 16:9 letterbox where such clips are included in mixed-format edit jobs. You do notice a quality hit, though.

Thankfully, the original digital transfers of the 2" master tapes by Vanderquest in West London are exceptionally good.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can completely sympathise with Mike Batt's view - Bright Eyes was a big track at that time and to me more than deserved a place in the 1979 line up Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
I can completely sympathise with Mike Batt's view - Bright Eyes was a big track at that time and to me more than deserved a place in the 1979 line up Sad

Agreed. Maybe he didn't perform it in the studio, but they could have mentioned it on the "Story of" documentary.

For me, this is the problem with bringing back TOTP: the great joy of the show in it's 70s heyday is that anything goes - if it's in the charts, it's on the show. But nowadays music is taken way more seriously and a snobbiness exists that means all sorts of popular stuff just doesn't get an outlet. It affects everything, including the Radio 2 playlist.
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Colin



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's definitely an "agenda" here - albeit unwritten, one assumes. I find it odd that BBC TV channels are happy to run 40-year-old editions of Dad's Army at every opportunity while ignoring other superb and timeless classics like Steptoe & Son or even Til Death Us Do Part. History is being re-written right under our noses.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting edition shown this week. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03xcbrp/Top_of_the_Pops_09_03_1979/
When did you last hear 'Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees' by The Leyton Buzzards. Or see Motorhead doing 'Overkill' follow The Dooleys!!
Here's the tracklist (9/3/79) http://z6.invisionfree.com/popscene/ar/t8918.htm
Quite a few rarities in this edition!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd completely forgotten about that track called the 'Bristol Stomp' Embarassed

Is it just me or did they really intend it to be poking fun at Showaddywaddy - in a Bristol kind of way of course Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite an eclectic recent episode, and all the better for it. But Legs & Co reached a new (unexpected) low with their dance to the Sex Pistols. They were hopeless.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The teenage schoolboys in the TV audience wouldn't have minded, though!

Personally, I'd given up on TOTP in the mid-70s as it (and most of the chart music) was just naff. It would be nice to see re-runs of the much better OGWT on BBC4. It probably won't happen because the channel might well be the next for the BBC axe when the corporation succumbs to another wave of political meddling in the near future. It's bound to happen.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. I just don't watch these late 70s TOTP as the music was naff, certainly compared to the show's heyday of the early 70s (despite the awful glam rock) and for me the late 60s. In fact I've not even heard of a lot of the names from TOTP in 1979. This may prove that I was an old fart then, never mind now.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd given up on it too by that time except for an odd occasion!

H
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that TOTP was only doing the job it was intended to do (reflect the music in the Top 20 each week) but its content also reflected the massive chasm that existed between "pop" music and "proper" music being made by the many really superb bands that were producing albums and touring. There were, of course, the serious bands who also crossed over into the chart; Mott The Hoople comes to mind as a band that was really excellent on the college and town hall circuit but of course they weren't making any money. They needed David Bowie to give them a much-needed leg-up which resulted on their status as a Top 20 band as well. They were never as good live after that, imho.

As a music show whose budget was minuscule compared to TOTP, The Old Grey Whistle Test - which was tucked away in the late-night BBC2 schedule and produced in the "broom cupboard" that was the Presentation B studio up on the 5th floor of TV centre - was the must-see show for hip and groovy dudes like wot I woz. Still am, in fact.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really strange to see Legs and Co dancing to the Sex Pistols track 'Silly Thing' tonight - just about the last thing one would expect bearing in mind the whole punk philosophy Confused - me thinks someone was taking the Michael Smile

Also good to see Sham 69 on there doing something different from the inevitable 'Hurry Up Harry' - excellent though that track is

Why do we never here tracks like these on mainstream radio today - such a shame Sad
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Colin



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
Why do we never here tracks like these on mainstream radio today - such a shame Sad


Bacuase mainstream music radio is the result of a stitch-up between broadcasters and record companies! It's not "music" any more, it's "product" and the radio stations exist to promote whatever the publishers want promoted. They even have a hand in compiling the playlists.

That's why I listen to mainstream radio so much less than I used to.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know Colin - I almost put a postscript on my last post saying 'I'm sure Colin will tell us' and of course you are absolutely right but it was rather a rhetorical question Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
Do you know Colin - I almost put a postscript on my last post saying 'I'm sure Colin will tell us' and of course you are absolutely right but it was rather a rhetorical question Smile


Yep - I kind of sensed that! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting edition this week from 17/5/79. Not least 'Paradise Skies' by Max Webster Band & 'Evening Star' by Judas Priest, to name two of the featured tracks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b042twvn/Top_of_the_Pops_17_05_1979/
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it my imagination or were the Watership Down clips longer the first time round? I'm guessing the repeat clips are cut for copyright (in which case, why not cut the DLT/Savile episodes too) as I remember the video going on for ages back in 1979.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect that you are right. In the end credits they credit 'CIC' for the Watership Down clips originally used in 1979.
I seem to remember the same happening when those Travolta / Newton-John Grease tracks were featured. Only I think they found a 'Pans People' routine they seemed to fall back on for the BBC 4 repeats.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Robinson wrote:
Is it my imagination or were the Watership Down clips longer the first time round? I'm guessing the repeat clips are cut for copyright (in which case, why not cut the DLT/Savile episodes too) as I remember the video going on for ages back in 1979.


Perhaps it was in a different show (i.e.: a couple of weeks either way). There is an odd mix out from the film sequence back to Peter Powell, which indicates that it's been tightened up during the edit as part of the digital restoration process...... or perhaps that's just the way it was that week. In the 70s, TOTP was usually recorded "as live" (i.e.: straight to tape as if it were live) on a Wednesday evening at TVC ahead of a Thursday 7.30pm transmission and it was only allowed VT editing time if absolutely necessary. Only a few years later, it was shot in blocks with a lot of editing time, but then videotape technology had improved immensely.

I also notice that the link to the end credit sequence is rather hastily made - indicating another chop there for some reason. Mysteriously, the running time is still 39 minutes, which does fit with an overall 40 minute transmission slot originally.
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin wrote:
It would be nice to see re-runs of the much better OGWT on BBC4. It probably won't happen because the channel might well be the next for the BBC axe when the corporation succumbs to another wave of political meddling in the near future. It's bound to happen.

There's this compilation that I'm watching: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b014vzy3/old-grey-whistle-test-70s-gold (there's 4 days left to watch as I type this)
Which brings me to a question that has been puzzling me for many years, and that is, What is that black 'ruler' type thing that goes around all the walls about half way up and has a scale on it marked in odd numbers?
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OGWT was produced live in one of two studios that were originally intended to be "presentation" studios at TV Centre, back in the days when it was assumed that all programmes would be introduced by in-vision continuity announcers. The architects planned for a "Presentation Studio" to be available for each of two TV channels - and they were called "Pres A" and "Pres B" accordingly, up on the fifth floor away from the proper studios. They were small - little more than a large domestic living room - and it's amazing to think that so many talented bands of the day were happy to perform in a studio where little room was left for three large EMI TV cameras!

Anyhow, OGWT had such a miniscule budget (the controllers were deeply suspicious of these scruffy musicians playing all this weird music) that they wouldn't even allocate a decent TV studio down in the main ring of studios, even though most would be empty at that time of night. So small was the studio that there was not even room for a surround cyclorama or backdrop. When you see Bob Harris or Richard Williams sat on a stool and talking to camera, the huge camera and operator was right back to the glass of the control room!

What you see is the bare studio walls (wire mesh over 12" rockwool battened to the walls). The numbers are simply measurements (in either feet or metres) relating to the floor grid plan. That's used by set designers, lighting directors, directors etc., and is a standard feature of all "proper" TV production and film studios.

In the early days OGWT was produced in "Pres B" and it really was only big enough for double- or triple header interviews, programmes like The Sky At Night, etc. It was later stripped out as a TV studio and was converted to be part of the technical areas for channel control and continuity.

By the way, I find the "excerpt" and compilation programmes featuring OGWT content frustrating to watch - I'd much rather see whole programmes in the way that TOTP is presented (especially the early ones presented by Richard Williams but I doubt many of the tapes have been preserved).
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin wrote:
What you see is the bare studio walls (wire mesh over 12" rockwool battened to the walls). The numbers are simply measurements (in either feet or metres) relating to the floor grid plan. That's used by set designers, lighting directors, directors etc., and is a standard feature of all "proper" TV production and film studios.

The numbers nowadays are used to build 3D versions of the studios so graphics can be dropped in. So, for instance, on Match of the Day all those graphics of footballers and scores can be plonked in and move around in co-ordination with the cameras.
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Colin



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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Robinson wrote:

The numbers nowadays are used to build 3D versions of the studios so graphics can be dropped in. So, for instance, on Match of the Day all those graphics of footballers and scores can be plonked in and move around in co-ordination with the cameras.


Yes, that's correct. The new 4K HD studios (where cameras are robotically controlled in many cases) at Salford are built with a lot of CGI in mind and the indicators help with positioning in "green screen" (CSO) applications - which seem to be in use everywhere these days! I was on a green-screen set at "The Hospital" studio in central London (where Watchdog is now produced) and it's very disconcerting when fully lit. No wonder so many actors and performers don't like it! Jeremy Vine copes with it well during his election results sequences.

I'm told that the new studios to be installed at the former BBC TV Centre (of which 4 will be available after redevelopment) will have real state-of-the-art 4K and 8K High Def capabilities which will make such techniques even more impressive.
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin wrote:
By the way, I find the "excerpt" and compilation programmes featuring OGWT content frustrating to watch - I'd much rather see whole programmes in the way that TOTP is presented (especially the early ones presented by Richard Williams but I doubt many of the tapes have been preserved).

I know what you mean, I'd love to see some complete Old Grey whistle Test episodes shown in the same way they are currently doing with Top Of The Pops, that's assuming they weren't all 'wiped'!
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Colin



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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Evan Elpuss wrote:
Colin wrote:
By the way, I find the "excerpt" and compilation programmes featuring OGWT content frustrating to watch - I'd much rather see whole programmes in the way that TOTP is presented (especially the early ones presented by Richard Williams but I doubt many of the tapes have been preserved).

I know what you mean, I'd love to see some complete Old Grey whistle Test episodes shown in the same way they are currently doing with Top Of The Pops, that's assuming they weren't all 'wiped'!


Thankfully, the tapes weren't wiped - as evident by the fact that we're able to see so many surviving clips. However, even in the early/mid 70s such live programmes weren't automatically recorded to expensive 2" master tapes so we live in hope!
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least there should be no issues with who was presenting the show with The Old Grey Whistle Test. As an example, I've just looked at this Top Of The Pops list http://z6.invisionfree.com/popscene/ar/t8918.htm and you're only likely to see two of the June 1979 (the year we're now seeing) shows!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we have the DLT ones back now?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The repeats restart this week. I'm guessing there's been such a long gap because of having to drop so many Savile and DLT shows from 79.
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