Did we like it?
After seeing the reception the BBC reunion of Swap Shop received, some nostalgic 30-something commissioning editor at ITV made the obvious move of bringing back together the Tiswas team for one night only. So Chris Tarrant, Sally James, Lenny Henry, the Phantom Flanflinger et al dusted down the jeans and T-shirt and dug out the custard pies for one last time. This is what they want!
What was good about it?
• Sally James has aged very well.
• They’d tracked down some of the kids who were on the show originally, including the five-year-old who sang Bright Eyes dressed as a rabbit and the lad who interrupted the prize draw to inform Chris that he needed to go to the toilet. Both guys had got into the spirit of the show, one dressed in a rabbit costume; the other consumed five drinks just before the programme, so he was desperate for the toilet.
• They’d managed to get a load of original guests back for the show – including Sir Trevor Macdonald and David Bellamy
• The Cage was back, and Tarrant didn’t miss an opportunity to soak the imprisoned audience or cover the with gunk – it must have been a long night for them…
• Apart from being slightly greyer, both Bob Carolgees and Spit the dog looked exactly as they did in 1980 – and the act hasn’t changed a bit.
• Tarrant revealed how Rick Parfitt from Status Quo lit up a joint while trapped in the cage! This not being the sort of thing they wanted live on Children’s TV, a couple of hastily thrown buckets of water sorted things out.
• Tony Brutus, the self-styled ‘Strongest Man in the World’. Result? Manning and Daddy sprawled on the floor, Manning having split his trousers and Tony Brutus having wrecked his knee.
What was bad about it?
• Though everyone concerned seemed to be having a good time, there was something faintly embarrassing about an middle-aged audience sporting David Bellamy beards and singing along in Compost Corner.
• We were ‘treated’ to a live performance from Status Quo. The upside being that Quo got covered in custard pies and buckets of water.
• The clip of Tarrant interviewing Muhammed Ali, showed how in awe of the Greatest he was. Sadly, it was obvious that Parkinsons disease had already begun its hold on Ali.
• Bernard Manning cropped up in quite a few of the clips; the fact a rancid old bigot like that was a kids TV regular reminding us that things weren’t always better in the old days. RIP – not!
• Creature Feature brought us the edifying sight of a bear in a studio full of children, and a bloke boxing a kangaroo. Can you imagine that on Saturday morning TV these days?