Birchington author releases Top of the Pops book focused on decade from Punk to New Romantics

Peter has published a second 'Top of the Pops' book

A Thanet author and music historian has released a follow up to last year’s book delving into the BBC’s Top of the Pops show.

Peter Checksfield, who lives in Birchington with partner Heather Carter, has released a bumper 650-page examining The Punk and Romantic Years: 1976-1986.

The A4 book, following on from Top of the Pops: The Lost Years Rediscovered 1964-1975, recaptures the years from the dawn of Punk to the tale-end of the New Romantics, via disco, New Wave, Reggae, Heavy Metal, Synth-Pop, Gothic Rock and more.

The book includes:

  • Complete episode listings to all 567 episodes from 1976 to 1986.
  • Nearly 2000 black and white screen-shots of TOTP performances.
  • 1200 mini-bios on every act seen, heard or danced to.
  • Details of all lost and cancelled episodes.
  • Exclusive memories, anecdotes, memorabilia and photos from artists who performed on the show.

In the introduction, Peter says: “A few days into 1976 I turned 13. By the end of 1986 I was nearly 24. Re-watching these TOTP episodes brought back so many memories of those pivotal years in my life:

“I became a teenager to the sound track of Showaddywaddy, had my first, all too fleeting romance to Jilted John; left school and started my first job to The Members and The Korgis; had my first legal pint to Chas ‘n’ Dave, celebrated my 21st to Shakatak and relocated from London to the Kent coast and started a new job to Wang Chung and Amazulu.

In retrospect, this was the last golden era of the classic pop and rock single – before an over-proliferation of dance music, hip hop, generic ‘boy’ bands and soundalike ‘divas’ meant that having a memorable melody and a catchy hook were no longer essential requirements of having a hit record (rant over).”

The book is available now from Amazon price £21.95 but currently there is an offer

Find it at


  1. To not cut a long story short. Remember the Korgis, although I preferred the faster 1990 charity version they did.

    • It’s weird how it’s sometimes the less obvious records that remind us of key events in life, they do with me anyway! Rediscovered quite a few gems that I’d forgotten all about while writing this book, songs like ‘Airport’ (The Motors) and ‘Obsession’ (Animotion).

      • Yes, Airport by The Motors is a song I remember from childhood & always resonated. Same with Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello & The Attractions.

      • Congratulations Peter on your new book, your post has brought back happy memories of when I attended TOTP in 1981. I even managed to get 2 minutes of fame at the close of the show!

  2. Congratulations Peter I was 30 by end of 86. Have not read your first book but will be ordering if still available ( unless family gets for b-day iin couple of weeks lol) my memory of 60s music is when it starts for me when I got my first Danset play was made of 3 different put together by a neighbour and was given 40 plus old jukebox 45s skiffle was Lonnie Donegan and Jim Reeves County music, was not until 66 when I purchased my first record Distant Drums & b side Old Tige, 70s through to 74 every single top 40 record in my collection, was on totp when Elton John played with TRex I’m actually on the film BBC did watched myself December last year showed kids they laughed at how we dressed in those days and I stood out like a sore thumb as I 6 ft 3 inches and the set crew said you have to be at the back of any dancing as your so tall at least 8 inches over the rest, anyway enough of me good luck on your sales Peter.

    • How cool Chris that you were there for the T-Rex appearance with Elton (must re-watch it later!).

      Both my TOTPs books are available via Amazon and are currently on offer. There should be an ad somewhere on this page.

      • It was on the day and yes will have a look for add, also I miss the Guinness book of hit records which out bi annually I think my copies of them disappeared when moving.

    • Lonnie Donegan lived in Birchington at the end of his life. His family bought our house in Cliftonville in the 80’s.

  3. wonder how much of this is his own work and how much came from a press release? It does seem though, that the more they write pretentious b*ll*cks, the greater the chance of public funding!

    • Sadly, I’ve never received any public funding – ALL research, interviews, writing, formatting, layout, cover design, publication and promotion is done solely by me, myself and I. Maybe I’m not quite good enough at writing pretentious b*ll*cks in order to seek public funding, or maybe, just maybe, my work is good enough to succeed on its own merits, and all it takes is a LOT of hard graft?

      Now, Ho, tell us all about your work.

    • Isn’t that what Peter Checksfield wrote about Dan Thompson? The piece he wrote reviewing the Ingrid Pollard at the Turner? Peter the troll has been trolled I think. Ha

Comments are closed.