Tiswas #302: 3rd April 1982

Tipi Hedren, a massive elephant and a huge flan fight to kiss goodbye to this long-running franchise?

The final ever Tiswas bowed out here, with Sally James, Den Hegarty, Fogwell Flax and Gordon Astley at the helm. Sure, there’d be two Tarrant-fronted reunions (for ITV Telethon ’88, and 2005’s prime time Tiswas Reunited), but this is the end for your actual Saturday morning outings of Tiswas.

Let’s take a look into the flan-stained archives to see why future Hollywood star Melanie Griffith was linking arms with Frank Carson on the 302nd Tiswas.

Den Hegarty headbutts the Central Independent Television ident
Den Hegarty treats the new Central Television ident like a gong

The now familiar Central Television ident begins for the final time on Tiswas, and as soon as the jingle is completed, Den Hegarty runs on to headbutt the globe while shouting “bong!”, then staggering off.

We open with a montage of past moments from this series, backed by a comedic instrumental as Den Hegarty narrates, in a pastiche of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’s Intro & Outro. Den refers to himself in the first person, and cites all the celebrities on screen:

  • Cliff Richard
  • Big Daddy
  • Rod Hull and Emu
  • Terry Jones
  • Isla St Clair
  • Hercules the Bear
  • Shaw Taylor
  • A stuntman
Terry Jones on Tiswas

Then we cut into the opening titles, the last time these would be broadcast on television.

“We’ve got celebrities from every corner of the Equity labour exchange!” Kicking off the final Tiswas is Frank Carson, accompanied by warm-up man Ollie Spencer, guests Ted Moult, Spike Milligan, Steve Davis, Chas & Dave, Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall, Bad Manners and various others. Sally James isn’t present.

Plucked totally out of the audience ‘at random’, is magician Clive Webb. He frantically fiddles with a doll’s house, spinning it round and then presenting us with its occupant – Sally James!

Sally is wearing a t-shirt depicting herself on the front page of the Daily Mirror. Someone forgets their line. “You’re supposed to ask me if I have any last requests!” chimes Sally. The chaos of live TV, eh? Anyway, Sally’s last request is this cartoon…

Bugs Bunny: Napoleon Bunny-Part (1956)

Out of the cartoon as the audience air-conduct the Looney Tunes sting, and we get a pyro and a dropbox pours a mess of tiny polystyrene balls on everyone.

Pyrotechnics go off
Pyrotechnics go off in the Tiswas studio and a dropbox covers everyone in polystyrene balls

A VT insert gives us singer Sal Solo, the frontman of Classix Nouveaux, outside a house. He thanks the Tiswas team for letting his band come on the programme to sing Is It A Dream two weeks ago. He apologises for not doing one of Sal’s Legendary Pop Interviews and expresses concern that none of the band got a flanning. Which of course leads to one from a nearby stage hand. After Sal peels off the paper plate, he drops a heavy hint as to what the custard really is, as he starts shaving it off with a razor.

Sal Solo from Classix Nouveaux
Sal Solo uses the pie foam for a bit of a shave

Back to the live studio with Sally James and Den Hegarty at the desk. It’s explained that it’s Sally’s final show as the camera focuses in on the Daily Mirror headline.

Sally feels the need to bucket the cage! Which seems to be filled with boys from a football team.

Returning to the desk, it’s time for the results of last week’s competition, but first, an interruption from the frantic Clive Webb, shouting at his watch. (Should I give away the punchline?)

Another interruption throws Sally off her pace, as Spike Milligan wanders in front of the camera, seemingly about to tell a joke, manically smiling, but then just wanders off again.

Finally, the results of last week’s Paul McCartney competition! Sally is having trouble finding the winner’s card because the desk has been covered in so much debris.

Frank Carson and Trevor James with Sid the Parrot then pop in for yet another interruption. They’ve received a complaint from a viewer, which Trevor reads out. The viewer is displeased with the parrot abuse, signing off “stick to the custard pies!” Which of course leads to Trevor flanning his pet.

Buster Bloodvessel pops up from under the desk

Will we get the competition results? Everything has gone rather unhinged, as Sally and Den, apropos of nothing, bring ‘competition winner’ Buster Bloodvessel up by his ears. He also does the razor trick that Sal Solo did earlier. Sally reads out a terrible pun about a ‘bald-point’ pen and Buster reads out a viewer’s joke.

Den brings on a viewer’s gift, it’s a new jacket. The accompanying letter explains that as they did not know Den’s measurements, they measured him off the telly. Camera shows the very tiny jacket as the pay-off.

Measured from the television

Freeze Frame by J. Geils Band

Was this picked due to the sight of the band members getting gunged with paint at the end?