TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

Home Intro Articles Credits Timeline Links 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s


2nd October 1976 - 27th March 1982

Devised by the Blue Peter production staff and hosted by Radio One DJ Noel Edmonds, who was only too happy to give up his weekday breakfast shift. Edmonds had a previous attempt at the children television show format with the Wednesday tea-time show Z Shed.

Broadcast on Saturday mornings from 9.15 to approximately 12.15 the principle idea was for kids to phone in and offer swaps with others kids from around the country, an idea that had already been used by ABC TV in the late fifties with their show Swap Shop and by Capital Radio in London in 1974 with their show Swap Shop.

The real reason that the show was given to go ahead was to try to counter the ever growing success of ATV’s anarchic Tiswas broadcast in a similar timeslot, however, the all too familiar Blue Peter approach got in the way. While Tiswas attacked the senses and kept the audience on the edge, Swap Shop barely kept them awake.

Outside broadcasts featuring outdoor swap meets 'Swaporama' were handled by actor Keith Chegwin (aka Cheggars), while the host was joined in the studio by Maggie Philbin and Newsround’s John Craven, the show's mascot was a dinosaur, Posh Paws (an anagram of Swap Shop).

Several bank holiday specials Swap of the Shops featured repeats of the music acts appearing live in the studio.

Despite its unpopularity with most children, everyone knew the phone number was 01 811 8055. Every week promo clips were shown, while a guest pop star would mime to a couple of songs and be questioned by children over the phone.

Despite being a children's show, no children were actually seen in the studio, unlike Tiswas where they were the co-stars. The show was due to last six weeks, but ended up lasting six years, giving way to the similar Saturday Superstore when Edmonds left to host an early evening show.