Sunderland links to Top of the Pops on its 60th anniversary

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Sunderland's starring role over the 60 years of the show

Hit TV show Top of the Pops first aired on our screens 60 years ago this month.

It was the world's longest running weekly musical show and Sunderland can boast plenty of links to it.

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From stars of the show to producing it, Wearside has a link to it all.

Let's have a look.

Rocking back to 2015

Chris Cowey, a past pupil of Ryhope Grammar School, took over producing Top of the Pops in 1997. Status Quo drummer Jeff Rich had pupils rocking all over their school as he popped in for a special visit in 2015.

Jeff was at Bernard Gilpin School, in Houghton, to teach youngsters all about the skill and its origins.

Former Satus Quo drummer Jeff Rich during his drumming workshop at Bernard Gilpin Prmary School.
He was pictured with l-r Nathan Griffith, Abigail Broadbent-Siddons, Amber Pearce and Oliver Bailey.Former Satus Quo drummer Jeff Rich during his drumming workshop at Bernard Gilpin Prmary School.
He was pictured with l-r Nathan Griffith, Abigail Broadbent-Siddons, Amber Pearce and Oliver Bailey.
Former Satus Quo drummer Jeff Rich during his drumming workshop at Bernard Gilpin Prmary School. He was pictured with l-r Nathan Griffith, Abigail Broadbent-Siddons, Amber Pearce and Oliver Bailey. | se

As well as talking about experiences such as performing on Top of the Pops, he got a number of children to have a go at playing snare and military drums.

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It was a welcome return to the area for Jeff, who was part of the Status Quo line-up including stalwarts Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, who played ahead of the Stadium of Light’s opening match in 1997.

From Pops to panto

Children’s TV presenter Derek Moran, from Channel 5’s Milkshake!, starred in Aladdin at the Empire Theatre in 2015.

He also performed on the likes of Top of the Pops.

He was one of the members of pop group D-Side, who had three top 10 singles in the UK, as well as a No1 album in the Japanese charts.

Local links don't end there. A number of local artists have starred on the hit show, including;

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Heavenly hits with Wearside links

The Kane Gang which had hits including Closest Thing to Heaven, which reached number 12 and Respect Yourself at number 21.

Dave Stewart who was part of The Eurythmics which had a string of hit singles.

Dave Stewart pictured when he took a musical masterclass at Sunderland University in 1994.Dave Stewart pictured when he took a musical masterclass at Sunderland University in 1994.
Dave Stewart pictured when he took a musical masterclass at Sunderland University in 1994. | se

Washington-born Bryan Ferry who had more than 20 singles in the UK singles chart over two decades.

The Toy Dolls whose cover of children’s song Nellie the Elephant reached number four in 1984.

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The Toy Dolls playing at Fino's in Sunderland, in March 1985.The Toy Dolls playing at Fino's in Sunderland, in March 1985.
The Toy Dolls playing at Fino's in Sunderland, in March 1985. | se

Kenickie were another Sunderland band to appear on the show, including lead vocalist Lauren Laverne.

What are your best memories of Top of the Pops. Share them by emailing [email protected]

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