What on Earth is going on with Saturday morning TV these days. God, that made me feel old! Anyway, back to my rant, what exactly is going on here? We have a bunch of wannabe stars (who in my opinion are more camp than a tent in a field) trying to entertain the kids of today by doing competitions, interviewing famous people and occasionally going hand-gliding or something similar while making complete arses of themselves by acting so terrified. No wonder kids prefer to go out and nick car stereos rather than sit in and watch a bit of telly.
It wasn’t like that in my day, I can tell you (I would tell you some of my old war stories, but I wasn’t actually in any wars, so I cant). Why? I hear you cry. Well, while Noel Edmunds was doing his best to keep himself in work on BBC1 with Swapshop, ITV were doing one better with a little thing called Tiswas. (Today Is Saturday Watch And Smile)
Starting in 1974 and running for 7 years, many a youngster woke up early Saturday morning (those who woke up a little too early had to subject themselves to half-an-hour of the Noel, but hey) to watch Chris Tarrent, Sally “sulky” James, John Goreman, Bob Carolgees (with his dog Spit of course), Lenny Henry and a host of other celebs all having a damn good time.
There have been many a show that tried to emulate the silliness of Tiswas, but quite frankly have failed miserably. I for one can’t stand people who deliberately try to act silly. Tiswas was different though, they weren’t trying to act silly, they were just having a genuine good time and just being silly in the process. There were no “carrying a plank of wood and then turning around to smack someone around the back of the head” type gags, it was just a morning of people chucking buckets of water at each other with the occasional joke chucked in for good measure.
Their mission? To entertain wee little brats? No! To entertain themselves? Yes! Even the studio crew ended up in the action. Oh my God! We’ve broadcast a picture of a camera man! This is suppose to appear like real life to people! We can’t show that we’re actually in a studio! Does Tiswas care? Does it hell!
Being a kids show, then the obvious thing is to have kids around the studio. That’s what everyone else does. But what if a grown-up wants to waste his or her morning? Well, there was only one way they could get on the show, and that is to be put in the cage. Everyone wins, the kids see their parents locked up and having all sorts of rubbish chucked over them, and the parents get on the show.
Back then it was also impossible to say “Compost Corner” without everyone around you yelling it back. And who could forget The Dying Fly? That was just an excuse to lay on the ground and kick your legs in the air.
Back then – A Saturday morning show where people just had fun. Now – the reason why we sometimes have a water shortage and hose-pipe bans. At least it kept a bunch of cleaners in work though.
As Chris himself said – “This is what they want!”, and he was right!