Like its counterpart on the Beeb, Multi Coloured Swap Shop, TISWAS actually started in the seventies. In fact it started in 1974, then as an ATV (Midlands) only show. It went (almost) national in 1977 – the year after Swap Shop started – did the ITV bosses have some strange inkling that this was what they needed to face up to the smug beardy git on the other side?
Chris Tarrant was the main protagonist of TISWAS, ably assisted by… wait for it boys… Sally James, ‘marshalling’ a gang that included at various times Michael Palin, Bob Carolgees, Spike Milligan, Jasper Carrott, Lenny Henry, Bernard Manning, Frank Carson and many more.
There was the Phantom Fan Flinger, (an alliterator’s dream), the buckets of water, The Cage, the being-pulled-up-by-your-ears-from-under-The-Desk, The Dying Fly and much much more.
Unfortunately, TISWAS didn’t last for very long into the 80’s, being finished by ITV in 1982 – ratings were on the slide and perhaps the anarchic nature of the show was a little too near the knuckle for them. Telly execs eh? Anyway, as I mention on my post about Swap Shop, this was the only TV issue that I really remember my mum putting her foot down and telling us what we were going to watch. So perhaps my memory of TISWAS is not the best, but what I do remember, was very funny.
In a final, tenuous, attempt to up my TISWAS creds, I did know a girl at University (well, a girlfriend of a friend) who had appeared from under The Desk. I don’t think that this really counts though does it? No, I thought not.
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