Top of the Pops to make Christmas return

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The Independent Culture

Top Of The Pops is coming back this Christmas, with two special one-off shows, the BBC confirmed today.

The first programme will go out on BBC1 on Christmas Day and the second on New Year's Eve.

The corporation said there are no plans to bring back TOTP, which regularly pulled in millions of viewers in its 1970s heyday, permanently.

The show was decommissioned in 2006 after more than 40 years of showcasing established and new acts.

The announcement follows growing speculation of a comeback and lobbying by the music industry and fans for the show's return amid claims of a lack of pop music on television generally.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has questioned where the successor to TOTP would come from.

And last month X Factor judge Simon Cowell might have ruffled a few feathers when he said he would like to buy the rights to the show from the BBC - and broadcast it on its rival ITV instead.

"I would rather it came to us than just sit in the dustbin," he told the BBC.

Bands including the Ting Tings have also called for the show's return.

The TOTP Christmas Special is billed as an hour-long celebration of all things pop.

Hosted by Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates and filmed in BBC Television Centre, it will feature exclusive performances from some of the year's biggest stars and will count down the chart to the all-important Christmas number one.

The TOTP New Year's Eve Special will look back at the year in pop.

Cotton and Yates will take in the year's smash hits, highlights from music festivals such as BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend and Glastonbury, and unique performances from BBC sessions.

The hour-long special is the first time BBC1 has shown a New Year's Eve edition of the show.

The BBC's musical line-up this Christmas includes TOTP2 and Jools Holland's annual Hootenanny on BBC2 alongside The Big Finish on BBC1.

Jay Hunt, controller of BBC1, said: "With shows on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, Top Of The Pops has never been bigger.

"The shows will form the centrepiece of a massive musical offering during the festive season that we hope viewers are really going to enjoy."