Pop picker Peter charts TV show’s lost years

POP PICKER: Peter Checksfield with his Top of the Pops book

A Thanet author, music historian and photographer has released a new book delving into the BBC’s Top of the Pops show.

Peter Checksfield, who lives in Birchington with partner Heather Carter, has compiled an episode guide and chatted to celebrities for Top of the Pops: The Lost Years Rediscovered 1964-1975.

From January 1, 1964 to July 30, 2006, BBC TV’s ‘Top Of The Pops’ was the UK’s longest-running and most influential music TV show. Yet, the BBC didn’t start semi-regularly keeping tapes of the show until the spring of 1976. Fortunately – thanks largely to sneaky TV technicians, overseas TV stations and early home-video pioneers – the picture isn’t quite as bleak as it at first appears.

This book affectionately recaptures those musically and historically important years, and includes:

  • Complete episode guides to all 619 episodes from 1964 to 1975.
  • The 1969 ‘Pop Go The Sixties’ and 1970 ‘Into 71’ one-off TV specials.
  • Hundreds of black and white screen-shots of surviving footage.
  • Nearly 900 mini-bios on every act seen, heard or danced to during those years.
  • Memories and anecdotes from some 50 artists who performed on the show, as told exclusively to the author.

Peter, 58, said: “This is my 10th book, so I wanted it to be a little special and not just endless pages of lists. That’s when I thought it might be a nice idea to try to get a few celebrity quotes about the show.

“I was amazed at some of the people who very kindly gave me their time; Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry chatted on the phone for a hour, and other legends who responded include Suzi Quatro, Graham Gouldman (10cc), Anita Harris, Bev Bevan (The Move/The Electric Light Orchestra), P.J. Proby, Peter Asher (Peter and Gordon), Dee Dee Wilde (one of only two surviving original members of Pan’s People), and about 50 others! 

“Perhaps my biggest scoops though was getting all three surviving members of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (Roger Ruskin Spear, Rodney Slater and “Legs” Larry Smith) and both front-men of The Searchers (Mike Pender and Frank Allen) to send in anecdotes.”

The book is available from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09HC1LK8G

Find more of Peter’s books at http://peterchecksfield.com/