Memories of Top Town - a talent contest to remember

Do you remember Top Town?

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:30 pm
PIC: David Atkinson Archive
PIC: David Atkinson Archive

It was pitched as a friendly battle of light entertainment between towns which started off as a radio series in 1950.

Top Town was essentially a talent contest with the town with the best variety acts winning their heat.

By 1954, the series had transferred to television, where it was broadcast live on the BBC and ran into the early 1960s.

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Intriguing pictures show life in Leeds during the 1950s

The show was presented at various times by Peter Haigh, Peter West and David Jacobs, with each team being given half the programme to convince the judges that they were worthy of progressing to the next round.

The judges panel - not seen until the very end of the programme - comprised ‘professionals’, representatives of the viewers and guest judges.

These photos are sure to evoke memories for those who remember towns around Leeds being involved.

The main image, published courtesy of the David Atkinson Archive, shows competitors from Morley in the Top Town Contest in 1958. They were the winning team after seeing off the top talents from Batley and Ossett.

The second image, published courtesy of Leeds Library & Information Service run photographic archive Leodis, rewinds to the 1950s and shows entrants to the contest which would vote for the three most beautiful girls in Aireborough.

On the back row, man with the moustache is BBC producer Barney Colehan. He was also producer of The Good Old Days staged at the City Varieties Theatre and It's a Knockout and Jeux-sans-Frontiere which were the successors to Top Town.

DO YOU REMEMBER TOP TOWN? Share your memories with Andrew Hutchinson via email at: [email protected] or tweet him - @AndyHutchYPN******************

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Laura Collins