There could still be a Top Of The Pops Christmas Special after Simon Cowell said he may buy the rights to the show from the BBC.

It was announced on Tuesday that the programme - a fixture of seasonal scheduling - would not be broadcast this year.

But Cowell said he is prepared to come to the music show's rescue and purchase the rights for a broadcast on ITV1.

"I would rather it came to us than just sit in the dustbin," he said.

"If the BBC wanted to do a deal, and I can get ITV to buy it and broadcast it, I'd put it on ITV," said Cowell.

Speaking at the National Television Awards (NTAs) on Wednesday night, The X Factor judge said he planned to discuss the idea with the BBC before the end of the week.

"It's been a good year for music and I think it's part of the tradition," he told BBC News.

"It's not as though people aren't interested in music at the moment. Maybe we could make it a bit more interesting."

The music mogul's remarks follow comments from bands such as the Ting Tings and Kaiser Chiefs, as well as culture secretary Andy Burnham calling for the return of Top of the Pops, which was axed in 2006.

Mr Burnham recently said TV production companies were guilty of "relying on safe formats" instead of discovering new musical acts.

"That was what was great about the past - The Smiths did become a national name, even though I can remember my dad moaning about them on Top of the Pops," he told the In the City music conference in Manchester.

30/10/2008 14:57:45