Pop Charts Britannia: 60 Years Of The Top 10

Confirmed for BBC Four on 16 November at 9.25pm to 10.55pm

Friday 16 November



As the British singles chart celebrates its 60th anniversary, BBC Four will be broadcasting a special documentary that will take a unique look back at the secret history of the top ten.

Since 1952 - the year the NME invented the British singles chart - we have mapped out our lives to the free ebb and flow of charting pop. We have ritualised and shared the experience of the charts on radio and on TV. Whether sitting around the television set with the entire family discussing an edition of Top Of The Pops in the seventies or taping Dr Fox or Mark Goodier in the secrecy of our bedrooms, our experience of the charts was a part of growing up. You couldn’t ignore them - at the very least they were a topic of conversation in everyday life.

For their part, the charts, as the ultimate expression of the consumer, have said more about British popular culture than the history books would care to admit. The charts show that the spirit of the age is sometimes better represented by the really tacky than the profound.

From the record industry’s involvement, to illegal downloading and the effect this had on the sale of singles, to the 2006 surge in online music buying, the documentary will provide a fascinating insight into the secret history of the top ten.

BBC broadcasters including David Jacobs, Pete Murray, Bob Harris, Paul Gambaccini and Reggie Yates, alongside pop legends like Sir Cliff Richard, pop fans and chart enthusiasts like Grace Dent and music biz insiders like Jon Webster and Rob Dickins contribute to the programme.

Produced & Directed by Ben Whalley

Executive Producer Mark Cooper