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Old Grey Whistle Test host David Hepworth doesn’t agree with calls for show to be revived

David Hepworth, 71, has spoken out about whether The Old Grey Whistle Test – later known as just Whistle Test – should make a return to our screens. And the answer is simply, no.

The music show first broadcast on the BBC in 1971 and went through a range of hosts during its time on-air, until its final showing in 1988.

Similar to Top of the Pops, it focused on albums rather than the chart hits.

But in a new interview, the journalist opened up about the reasoning behind condemning another series reboot.

“Some say they should bring Whistle Test back,” he said.

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Having launched in 1971, the 71-year-old admitted Whistle Test’s reboot wasn’t as successful as that of BBC2’s other specialist programme, Top Gear.

“Instead, it came off the air in 1988,” he explained to Radio Times.

“Collateral damage in the war between the barons that is waged ceaselessly within the Corporation.

“At the time, nobody on the programme anticipated anything we did would turn out to be of historical interest.

“The contracts certainly didn’t allow for it – bands were signed for one live broadcast and one repeat later that week.”

And there were other changes, too.

“The BBC lopped off the Old Grey from the title, commissioned an unlovely synth-pop remake of the original theme tune and gave the impression of wishing the show would magically morph into The Tube,” David retorted, confessing it didn’t have the desired “bold reinvention”.

David’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.


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