(Originally written by the BBC and posted 23rd November, 2006.)

Anarchic 1970s children’s programme Tiswas will return to ITV next year with original presenter, Chris Tarrant.

He will host a one-off show featuring classic sketches and interviews with guests who were “gunged” on the programme, such as Sir Trevor McDonald.

But Tarrant has launched an appeal for recordings of Tiswas, as many of the original tapes were scrapped.

“If anybody’s got any videos that will help us put this programme together, please get in touch,” he told the BBC.

Tiswas became a cult favourite when it hit the airwaves on Birmingham-based ITV station ATV in 1974.

‘Disaster for television’

It gradually went nationwide, and its mixture of sketches, cartoons and custard pie fights proved a hit – initially with the children’s audience it was aimed at, but later with their parents as well.

The show’s name was believed to be an acronym for “Today is Saturday, Watch and Smile”.

It was cancelled by ATV’s successor company Central in 1982, but spawned a short-lived late-night spin-off called OTT – Over The Top.

According to Chris Tarrant, more than 350 episodes of Tiswas were scrapped by a Central executive who called the show a “disaster for television”.

Tarrant says he has been able to retrieve several tapes through the estate of comedian Kenny Everett, who was a big fan of the show.

Cast reunited

tiswas-pic-bewerktMany other episodes were saved by presenter Sally James’ husband.

James will join Tarrant for next year’s tribute show, along with co-stars Lenny Henry, Bob Carolgees and Spit the dog.

The villainous Phantom Flan Flinger is also due to make an appearance.

The tribute programme will have a similar format to ITV’s Audience With… series, where stars perform and answer questions from a celebrity audience.

Tarrant said it would mark the 30th anniversary of Tiswas becoming a national programme “that fundamentally changed children’s television forever”.

Members of the public who want to submit tapes of the original series can contact Tarrant’s production company at the email address unimediaman@aol.com.