The annual Top of the Pops Christmas special has been axed, according to 'industry insiders'.

It will be the first year that the show - which stopped airing in 2006 - will not be broadcast on Christmas Day. Instead, the BBC have decided to show an eight-part TOTP2 series.

"Top Of The Pops was decommissioned in 2006 as it became clear that it no longer occupied the central role it once did," said a BBC spokesman. "We said at that time the Christmas special would continue but would have to earn its place every year. This year it was felt that pop music would be better represented over Christmas by a special, eight-part series of TOTP2."

The latest development is that Simon Cowell is rumoured to have offered to buy the format from the BBC, according to The Sun.

"I've got a suggestion for them," he reportedly said. "If they don't want it, I'll take it. I'm serious. They can give it to me or I will give them a bit of money. Why end the tradition? It's like not having Christmas pudding. I don't believe in breaking with tradition. This year has been phenomenal for British music and we should celebrate by making Top Of The Pops at Christmas a fantastic event. I've made them an offer and let's see if they accept."