“This is what they want!”
From ATV Centre in Birmingham a Saturday morning phenomenon was launched upon viewers back in 1974 – years before the BBC launched Swap Shop – Saturday was Tiswas day!
There are quite a few suggestions for what ‘Tiswas’ stands for, the most often used according to host Sally James is “Today Is Saturday, Watch And Smile” although she also points out some changed it to “Today Is Saturday, What A Shambles!”
For almost a decade Tiswas, hosted by a number of ATV presenters – but most notably ATV Today reporter Chris Tarrant took the lead and led the show into the television mayhem that was cages full of celebrities and non-entities being covered with gunge, custard pies being splattered in the faces of anyone and everyone while buckets of water were thrown in joyous abandon.
Tiswas, primarily a children’s show, also developed a cult adult following – more so when Sally James joined the series as a co-host in thigh-length boots. So join Chris and Sally along with Lenny Henry, Bob Carolgees, Spit the Dog, John Gorman and The Phantom Flan Flinger in three compilation shows that showcase highlights from the most roudy Saturday morning show ever.
The series ended on ITV back in 1982 – but the legacy of the show has been seen in many children’s productions ever since.
Due to the wiping policy of ATV many of the early programmes no longer survive in the ATV vaults, so the compilations are very much the best of what remains in the archives.