This is a show that picked up millions of viewers in its heyday, but is now reduced to returning once a year - when we're all stuffed with turkey and mince pies - for a desultory Christmas special. Still, let's remember the good times, eh? And oh boy, was Top of the Pops good.
Top of the Pops: Originally broadcast from January 1, 1964 to July 30, 2006
So, what made Top of the Pops special? Well, for one thing, it became a proper institution. The weekly music show was just part of the furniture - one of those shows that you could rely on every week. And we've lost count of the number of times excitable '90s popstars said that oh-my-God-they'd-always-dreamed-of-being-on-Top-of-the-Pops-and-it's-a-career-highlight.
Let's be clear - Top of the Pops was always a little bit, well, naff. It was a primetime, BBC television show, after all - it never quite had that edge or cool about it. And that wasn't helped by the horrendous dancing from the audience (seriously, what were these people thinking?) Basically, it was all very well-behaved.
Despite that, though, it was awfully loveable. This was back in the days when Top of the Pops was your big chance to see popstars in the flesh, before music videos played on TV 24/7 and the internet provided instant access to all of your favourite artists. People scheduled their Thursdays (and later Fridays) around Top of the Pops, and who can forget the excitement of the countdown to number one?
And though Top of the Pops was never going to be the most controversial show on television, it did have a personality - largely thanks to the list of fab presenters who made it their own (everyone from Jimmy Savile to Dave Lee Travis to Tony Blackburn to Anthea Turner to Jo Whiley to Zoe Ball - seriously, the names go on for pages and pages).
It wasn't just presenters and DJs who took on the job (and boosted their careers immeasurably), though. Every so often a celebrity would step up to take the Golden Mic, giving stars like Take That, Kylie Minogue and Jarvis Cocker the chance to introduce the acts for once. Basically, that just proves how much of a draw the show could be.
But let's go back to how blooming naff Top of the Pops could be. Before the widespread release of music videos, something had to be done when acts couldn't make it to the studio. Enter the dancing troupes!
Sure, you have to be of a certain age to remember the likes of Legs & Co, Ruby Flipper and Pan's People, but if you search them out you will get a big treat. Hired to provide some visual stimulation to a backing track when the bands couldn't perform, the dancers came up with some of the most bizarre routines to make it onto television.
But to their credit, they often had hardly any time to prepare, and their dances were quite a feat. Certainly, the troupes were one of Top of the Pops' more adorable traditions (and it was sad to see them go when satellites and music videos made their appearance).
And Top of the Pops was also a big draw because you never knew what could happen. One of the biggest controversies on the show had to be the use of miming - whether to a live backing track that had been recorded earlier, or just to a record. But naturally, some of the stars weren't too happy with this.
Basically, when you're dealing with musicians there's always the chance for things to go a bit haywire. Take Noel and Liam Gallagher deciding to swap vocals and guitar for their performance of 'Roll With It', or Kurt Cobain's memorable growl over the backing track to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (adding the Ofcom-baiting lyrics: "Load up on drugs and kill your friends"), or any of the many incidences of the acts not being too keen on the idea of miming.
Top of the Pops was so successful that it spawned its own magazine, which kept pre-teen girls up to date on the movement of their favourite bands (trust me - I was a devotee). It was even the publication that named the Spice Girls Posh, Baby, Ginger, Sporty and Scary. Now that is influence.
But the show couldn't survive, despite a few late revamps in an attempt to boost the viewing figures. The internet had arrived, lots of people had MTV or at least some kind of music video channel, and with all the new access to music, Top of the Pops seemed a little... outdated.
Well, if you ask us, that's a travesty. We need Top of the Pops, and we need it now. Nothing fancy, no cosy chats with the stars, no changes to the format. Just back-to-basics - performances and rubbish jokes. You might think this is stupid - we still have the internet and we still have MTV.
But watch Top of the Pops 2 now, which is still going strong and showcasing archive performances from old editions of Top of the Pops. Sure, you'll enjoy it for a while, but it starts to become unbearably sad. Fast forward 20 years, and the post-2006 generation will have hardly any archived performances from their favourite childhood-or-adolescence acts. This is not just a personal shame - it's a pretty big cultural one.
Seriously, where is the music now? Step forward The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, who give us a few weeks of performances each winter. It's hardly good enough, especially when you consider that only the biggest, most mainstream acts will make it onto the stage.
Or you have Later... With Jools Holland, which is almost at the other end of the scale - great for promoting the lesser-known acts, but not necessarily a broad representation of what's happening in music each week.
We're hardly the first to call for the return of Top of the Pops - everyone from MPs to Simon Cowell to Neil Tennant have begged for a revival. But that just shows what an enduring show it was, and what an impact it had. A Christmas special once a year is not the same.
Still, it doesn't look like we're getting it back any time soon (though please, prove us wrong dear BBC!) So instead, we'll satisfy ourselves with Top of the Pops 2, when that pops up, and the reruns of 1970s edition each week on BBC Four.
If you haven't been watching them, make sure you check it out - it is wonderfully cheesy and cringeworthy and provides plenty of ammunition for when someone tells you that music was better back then. Once they've sat through Brotherhood of Man's 'Save Your Kisses For Me' winning the number one slot for six weeks running, they might just change their mind. And hey, if enough BBC bigwigs see the old Top of the Pops' ratings rising, maybe - just maybe - the show has a better chance of coming back.
Were you a fan of Top of the Pops? What are your favourite memories from the show? Leave your comments below!