One of the shows I always feature on my Birmingham TV locations tour is TISWAS, as it was recorded at the sadly recently demolished ATV studios on Broad Street, but I often get blank looks for attendees who are slightly younger than I am. I not sure if it’s because they can’t actually believe that a whole Saturday morning show could be made for a mere £300 or they are shocked that children were often soaked with water and janked up by the ears, but they clearly have no idea what the show was about.
TISWAS was the brainchild of ATV announcer Peter Tomlinson and was originally hosted by John Asher and a local TV reporter by the name of Chris Tarrant. In the late 70s new presenters such as Sally James, John Gorman (The Scaffold) and Bob Carolgees (he with the spitting dog) joined the fray. They also found a role for a little known young Dudley comedian named Lenny Henry, who was once seen famously impersonated Trevor McDonald (as Trevor McDoughnut) while Chris Tarrant sneaked in the REAL Trevor to surprise his co-star.
TISWAS ended in 1982 but now, thanks to Big Centre TV, Saturday is once again TISWAS day as they will be repeating highlights from mostly previously missing episodes of the Saturday morning mayhem that were thought to be lost forever. Because the show was broadcast live it was very often never recorded and many episodes were thought to be lost forever, but no one accounted for their legion of fans who recorded the show on their home video recorders.
Mainly sourced from home recordings of the show the team at The Tiswas Fan Club (TiswasOnline) and TV archivists Kaleidoscope have carefully restored and cleaned up the footage (and I don’t mean wiped the remains of custard pies off them) to show compilation episodes on Midlands channel Big Centre TV. Viewers who are not in range of the regional Birmingham and Black Country channel will be able to catch up online at http://www.bigcentre.tv, so no one will miss out on the return of this Saturday morning institution.
One of the main sources of the historic episodes was a Matthew Butler. For those old enough to remember young Matthew was a regular on the show for a couple of years in the early 80s after he first appeared dressed as a rabbit to sing along to Bright Eyes, the theme from movie Watership Down. Matthew’s private collection of TISWAS tapes has provided hours of classic footage so that everyone can now see exactly what was going on just off Broad Street on a Saturday morning.
Last Saturday morning, at the end of the afternoon Birmingham TV and Film Locations tour, some of the attendees stumbled across a promotional photo shoot for the new series and had a picture with the The Phantom Flan Flinger, see link below.
A photo posted by Mark Wilson (@sparks1968) on Sep 5, 2015 at 11:12am PDT
“Tiswas Pies Again” is an UpAndHappy! Production for Big Centre TV.
Big Centre TV broadcasts across Birmingham and the Black Country on Freeview channel 8 and Virgin Media channel 159, and online at http://www.bigcentre.tv