By Mark Nobes

Join me on a nostalgic trip back to Saturday morning TV in the 80s, which was dominated by kids TV shows including Swap Shop, TISWAS, Saturday Superstore, No.73 and Going Live.

Swap Shop

Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (better known as just Swap Shop) was created by the BBC to challenge the rival kids' TV show on ITV, Tiswas. The show was broadcast live for around three hours every Saturday morning (from 9.30am) and ran for six series - a total of 146 episodes. 

The main presenter was, of course, Noel Edmonds who is better known these days for hosting the now defunct Channel 4 TV game show Deal Or No Deal. Other regular presenters on the show were Keith Chegwin (R.I.P.), Maggie Philbin (she joined the team in 1978) and John Craven.

Another regular character on the show was the stuffed dinosaur Posh Paws, which is an anagram of Swap Shop. Many people wrongly thought that Posh Paws was Swap Shop backwards, but it wasn't, as that would be Pohs Paws. 

The show was a huge success, but was replaced by Saturday Superstore in 1982, as the presenters agreed that it was time to move on. Although I preferred Swap Shop over Tiswas, like many kids, I would occasionally switch over to ITV when there were any "boring bits" to watch Chris Tarrant and co.

It was actually quite annoying to have both programmes on at the same time, as I really wanted to watch both of them. Of course, in those days we didn't even have the luxury of video recorders. Annoyingly, I would usually discover that I had missed the best part of Tiswas during the first break at school on a Monday morning, when we all used to discuss what we had been watching over the weekend.

Noel Edmonds on the front cover of Swap Shop Book Four (1981 Annual)

Noel Edmonds -Swap Shop Book Four (1981 Annual)


For those of you who didn't grow-up in the 70s or early 80s, TISWAS was a kids TV Show created by ATV, and was aired between January 1974 and April 1982 on Saturday mornings on ITV. It was first shown only on the Midlands TV network ATV, but gradually other ITV regions also aired the show, with Tyne Tees being the last to show it in 1981.

For those of you who grew up in the North-East of England, you will be more familiar with Lyn Spencer who presented Lyn's Look-in until 1979 when she became pregnant. After this, the programme's title was changed to Saturday Shake-Up. The show’s format consisted of interviews with celebrities, pop bands, cartoons, children’s programmes, etc., but unlike Tiswas, was recorded and not live.

TISWAS was an unscripted and, at times, chaotic show and featured regular presenters Chris Tarrant, Sally James, comedian Lenny Henry, Bob Carolgees (usually with his puppet "Spit" the dog) and ex-member of the band Scaffold, John Gorman. Occasionally, comedian Jim Davidson would make an appearance, too.

Video clips in the playlist include Legs & Co (who used to dance to the songs on Top Of The Pops when an act couldn't perform in the studio, and before videos were invented!) with actor Dennis Waterman when they became yet another victim of the Phantom Flan Flinger and his family. You will also find clips of the opening titles and The Pretenders.

TISWAS Annual 1981, blue cover featuring many children

TISWAS Annual 1981




Mike Read and Sarah Greene were the main presenters on Saturday Superstore, which ran from 1982 until 1987. Keith Chegwin and John Craven who had previously worked on Swap Shop also helped to present the show.

Saturday Superstore ran for five series (142 episodes), starting on 2nd October 1983. The final episode was broadcast on BBC1 on 18th April 1987.

One of the defining features of "Saturday Superstore" was its interactive nature. Viewers were encouraged to call in and participate in live phone-ins, contests, and competitions. The show's hosts welcomed celebrity guests from the world of music, film, and television, allowing fans to connect with their idols in a way that felt personal and relatable.

Infamous moments on the show include Captain Sensible appearing to be intoxicated, and the band Matt Biano receiving verbal abuse from a caller.

This video clip features a-ha doing a phone-in interview. The Norweigan band's frontmanMorten Harket speaks such perfect English, it's hard to believe it's not his native language!

Mike Reid, Saturday Superstore


In the playlist you can enjoy rare footage of legendary guitarist and musician Gary Moore paying a visit to No.73 - the 80s Saturday morning kids TV show on ITV which aired from 1982 until 1988. There's also a snippet from series 3 - episode 15, just to bring back a few memories - watch out for the TVS TV Ident at the start.

No.73 ran for eight seasons and featured presenters Sandi Toksvig, Neil Buchanan, Andrea Arnold, Kate Copstick, Kim Goody and Richard Waites.

The No.73 door - 80s saturday morning TV


In the video playlist at the top of the page, you can see the fresh-faced Philip Schofield and Sarah Greene visiting Alton Towers in a 1980s episode of the Saturday morning show which was broadcast on BBC1 from 1987 until 1993.

Regular slots in the programme included the hilarious Trevor and Simon clowning around in their comic routines, Growing Pains with agony uncle Philip Hodson, Double Dare with Peter Simon and the Video Vote which reviewed and rated the latest pop videos and a cooking slot with Emma Forbes.

I musn't forget Gordon The Gopher (also known a Gordon T Gopher) who also appeared in on the desk with Philip Schofield. They also appeared together in the broom cupboard segments which were shown in-between programmes on CBBC. Andy Crane and Edd the Duck took over the slot in 1988. 

Phillip Schofield with Gordon T Gopher in the 80s