Top Of The Pops - The Story Of 1980 was a BBC documentary first broadcast on BBC Four on 2 January 2015, continuing the documentary series shown prior to repeats of the Top of the Pops shows of a particular year. The programme mixes archive footage and studio performances with contemporary interviews with artists and presenters who featured on the programme during the year in question.

The '1980' edition deals in particular with changing musical and visual styles and upcoming new groups, as well as with the industrial action by BBC orchestra members which hit the programme directly in the summer, resulting in the show going off the air for several weeks for the first time in its history. As a result the programme received a notable overhaul, thanks to new producer Michael Hurll.

Links to Peel

TOTP Story of 1980 Peel still

Still from Top of the Pops - The Story of 1980

Although John Peel was still some years away from becoming a regular presenter on Top of the Pops, the 1980 documentary features a section on group the Piranhas, a band who had been championed by Peel but who then broke the charts and enjoyed some degree of mainstream success with their single 'Tom Hark'. According to band member John Helmer, Peel stopped playing the bands records after they had appeared on Top of the Pops, as they had apparently "sold-out". A brief clip of Peel's voice features him saying "So you're going to end it like that are you? You teasers! Those are the Piranhas..", immediately followed by a video clip of Peel saying "good night and good riddance".[1](approx 40:53 of above video)

As well as The Piranhas, the programme also includes interviews with members of former Peel session groups Madness, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Human League, The Vapors, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Adam Ant who all made it onto Top of the Pops in 1980. Archive footage of Gary Numan, Motorhead and Genesis also features.


  1. Origin of the Piranhas comment, and video clip of "good night and good riddance" are unknown but probably from different sources.