Innovative Saturday morning children's programme where young viewers, for the first time, took an integral part in the events, being encouraged to phone in as well as turn up at different locations around the country, only revealed in the first few minutes of the show going out live. Sometimes as many as 2,000 children and their parents would turn up.
Multi- Coloured Swap Shop featured cartoons, pop artistes, sports stars and celebrity guests viewers could phone-in and talk to while the 'swapping' theme involved kids phoning up to swap old toys, books, clothes-just about anything other than pets (or kid sisters) for items that they'd like in return. The most interesting of these were highlighted in a Top Ten Swaps feature while the invited guests were asked to bring an item as a competition prize. The most sought after of these was undoubtedly drawings created in front of the camera by the artist Tony Hart who would pop in from time to time.
The series was a vehicle for former Pirate Radio / Radio One DJ Noel Edmonds and was intended to run for just six weeks. In the end it ran for six years. Noel was ably assisted by roving reporters/presenters Maggie Philbin and Keith Chegwin (who married in 1982) and John Craven presented News Swap which gave viewers a chance to speak about current events.
Feature items and prizes were delivered to Noel's desk from on high by 'crane' operated by the unseen Eric and pride of place on Noel's desk was taken by a dinosaur mascot called Posh Paws (an anagram of Swap Shop). For the last two years the series was known simply as Swap Shop. It was replaced by Saturday Superstore in 1982. A special show commemorating Swap Shop's 30th anniversary was made in 2006 reuniting the original team - and Posh Paws.
Published on January 9th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.