Harry Goodwin remembers Top of the Pops

Harry Goodwin photographed every visitor to the BBC's Top of the Pops studios in London and Manchester between 1963 and 1973. The result is one of the most extraordinary and comprehensive collections of 1960s rock and pop musicians in the world. In this f

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Video Transcript


Top of the Pops was launched by the BBC on New Year’s day in 1964 and became one of the longest running TV shows in British history. On that night, The Rolling Stones was the opening band. The pohotographer was Harry Goodwin.

Throughout the 60s and 70s the show featured a host of singers and stars and set many previously unknown bands on the road to fame. Everyone from The Who to Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and Cher performed on Top of the Pops. Harry Goodwin’s unique collection of photographs pays tribute to them all.

Stanley Dorfman (former producer/director on Top of the Pops)

He is the most purest, delightful man that ever existed. And I’m as proud to have worked with him as I am to have worked with any of the great rock and roll stars because I think he’s part of the 60s scene.

Harry Goodwin

Well Johnnie Stweart came along and he sat on the Billiard table and he said ‘You’re going to have to work very hard on the show if you do it.’
I said ‘Well, I’m not worred about that,’ I said, ‘How much am I gonna get?’
He said ‘I’ll pay you £30 a week’
I said ‘£30 a week on a television show?’
He said ‘Yeah, but I’ll put your name on the screen provided you got six pictures on the show every week’
I said ‘You’ve got a deal’
I said ‘What you gonna put on?’
He said ‘Harry Goodwin – Still Photographer’
I said ‘You’ve got me. And that’s how I started’

Stanley Dorfman

We moved to London and went live and suddenly the show just took offf and we had live orchestra, we had live arrrangements and it just changed the whole face of music in England.

Harry Goodwin

The show was massive, it was growing bigger and bigger all the time and to this day I don’t think there’s been a TV show to beat it. It’s still popular, the songs are still good now.

Mick Jagger was a pro at the camera. He could do anything; pull faces.
And he said to me one day, he said ‘You’re only getting £30 a week on the show. We’re becoming billionaries here!’
I said ‘Well, if I live a little bit longer I might become more famous than you I’m hoping I might prove myself right here!’
The beauty of it I’ve still got all these pictures, with the stories. Aren’t they? They’re all here, the stories.


Top of the Pops was the TV show that changed the face of music in the 1960s, turning its half-hour weekly run down of the pop chart into required viewing for everyone between the ages of 3 and 30. In this brief interview, Harry remembers how he got the position as the show's official stills photographer while producer Stan Dorfman explains why he considers the snapper a 1960s legend