A whole 1hr 57min of Tiswas - One show from 11th October 1980 on ATV (Series 7 I think)
Starring: Chris Tarrant, Sally James, John Gorman, Lenny Henry, Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog,
Matthew Butler, Russ Abbott, Jackie Chan, Walsall Academy of Dance, Showaddywaddy, Rick Parfit of Status Quo
Includes adverts too: BigTrak, Starbird, Hornby, Look-in, Don't upset me, Up against time and
Doctor doctor (with Kenny Everett voiceover) plus "You never know what's round the corner ... so don't run.
Watch Chris Tarrant slag Russ Abbott off about his new single
Tiswas took the children's Saturday morning television mould and smashed it to bits, with its anarchic
nature, although it began life as a 'links' strand between many 'filler' programmes, such as cartoons
and old movies. The popularity of the presenters' links soon eclipsed the staple diet of filler.
It was originally produced as a Midlands region programme by ATV and was first shown on 5 January 1974.
Within a couple of years it had been taken up by some other ITV regional companies, and eventually nearly
every region broadcast the show, with Channel Television being a notable exception. Most famously hosted by
Chris Tarrant between 1974 and 1981, and later Sally James, it also featured the young Lenny Henry and
occasionally Jim Davidson together with Bob Carolgees and his puppet, Spit the Dog. John Gorman, former
member of 1960s cult band The Scaffold - was also in regular attendance. On the show, Birmingham folk-singer
and comedian Jasper Carrott was to introduce the nation to the Dying Fly Dance and also to many local hospital
casualty wards as the dance at one point soared high in the RoSPA list of common causes of household injury.
Like its cleaner BBC counterpart Multi-Coloured Swap Shop it had a running order but no script (with the
exception of some specific sketches).
The show was a stitch-together of competitions, film clips and pop promos, just about held together by sketches
from the cast. The show regularly featured spoofs of BBC children's programming.
A feature of the show was The Cage wherein initially the child audience, and later their fathers, were confined
and periodically doused in water (one spin-off of the show was the hit The Bucket of Water Song, performed by
the Four Bucketeers), whilst the show was also frequently visited by the Phantom Flan Flinger, who would throw
flans around the studio at all and sundry. Both Tarrant and the Flan Flinger would take great delight in trying
to 'flan' cameramen who would go to great lengths to avoid being hit.
The original logo features the word "TISWAS" in chunky letters. A later version of this logo featured a circle
going round the edge with "Today Is Saturday Watch And Smile" embossed upon it. The classic 'Zig-zag' logo
appeared in 1977 designed by Stuart Kettle - this initially featured a mechanical bird flying above it, but
later Chris Wroe (who drew all of the classic caricatures of the Tiswas team) replaced this with a drawing of
the Phantom Flan Flinger.
Tiswas (series 7, 1980 - 1981)
When the subject of Tiswas is brought up, it is this series that is used to define the show.
The opening titles, the bucket of baked beans over Sally, the
"REAL Trevor MacDoughnut", the cartoon festooned studio set, this is the definitive image Tiswas
has, or rather, what nostalgic clip show compilers tend
to use to illustrate the impact it had on television.
It seems as though the entire country had been gripped by Tiswas-mania at this stage. A few were
holding out - Tyne Tees in the north-east thought it best
to stick their weather girl on in the morning and present a pop-music-based show with a few guests
and either Alistair Pirrie or Malcolm Gerrie as co-
host. Northern Ireland's Ulster Television and the Channel Island's CTV still weren't having it,
probably hoping the kids preferred lie-ins.
This is a VHR rip and as such is a bit shabby in parts but well worth it.