Ok, ok. It started in 1976, but I don’t remember watching it when I was only six. It was an 80’s phenomenon alright! Having said that, it gave way in 1982 to Saturday Superstore – Mike ‘Auntie’ Read taking over the mantle (surely cudgel) from Noel ‘Tidybeard’ Edmonds.
But enough of this, what about Swap Shop? Well for a kick off, it wasn’t TISWAS. Featuring Edmonds (never really liked him, mesel’), Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin, Maggie Philburn and John Craven, Multi Coloured Swap Shop bestrode Saturday mornings in my formative years, as I yearned, nay ached for the chance to get up and turn over to watch Tarrant and the guys on the other side. Sadly, this was the one time when me mum put her foot down and told us what we were going to watch. Boo hoo.
I can still recite the now defunct telephone number – 01-811-8055 – wouldn’t it be cool if BT could allow us to dial the number and leave us a message on answering, something like, ‘Hi there, you’ve got through to Multi Coloured Swap Shop, unfortunately, you’re 27, 28, 29… years too late.’ But they don’t, probably. Perhaps you could try it and let me know?
Anyway, one of the first times I saw it, I though that I had seen a ghost. No I really did. A girl from our school had recently died and Maggie Philburn was an absolute spit for her. It shook me for a while, I can tell you. Cheggers was his manic self, wind, rain, snow, sea spray, you name it, he was out in it. I think that he was the nearest thing that they ever got to what was going on over on ITV, but even that was in a controlled, BBC kind of way. And John Craven was, er, John Craven. Enough said, he presents Countryfile now…
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