Loud call for miming to return to 'Top of the Pops'

IT HAS at least the virtue of being commendably honest. In one of the more shameless pieces of lobbying, the music industry is trying to persuade the BBC to end the practice of artists singing live on Top Of The Pops, and go back to the good old days of out-of-synch miming, writes David Lister.

This is because some of the performances have been so dismal that as a result, teenagers don't want to buy the records.

Or as Robert Lemon, director of one of the companies that plugs new singles, put it: 'Top Of The Pops is a visual programme, not an audio programme, and in some cases it doesn't do the artist any good to sing live.'

The industry's views were canvassed by the record companies' trade paper Music Week, as the BBC considers whether to revamp the 30-year-old show. The industry wants a overhaul of the programme, with a repeat on a Friday night and the abandonment of live vocals.

Nearly all the pluggers - employed by record companies to promote their artists to broadcasters - polled by Music Week suggest scrapping live vocals since the public expects to hear what is on the record, and too often the sound of the singer on the record and the sound of the singer on the television seem only distantly related.

Mr Lemon, whose company promotes Kylie Minogue, said last night: 'We have made our thoughts known to the BBC. A potentially disastrous sounding performance can stop people buying the record, and there is evidence that this has been happening.'

The BBC, which replaced miming with live vocals in 1991, said last night the present intention was to keep the format as it is.

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