"Dear Noel, I want to swap my Action Man for Maggie Philbin!"
Contrary to popular myth, 'Multi-Coloured Swap Shop' was NOT the first Saturday morning children's show. That honour went to 'Zokko' in 1968, a full eight years before Noel and co. got going.
"We're slick, we're glossy, and proud of it. We're out to entertain the whole family!", gushed Noel Edmonds in a 'Sun' interview in the late '70's. He'd been asked to make comparisons with I.T.V.'s 'Tiswas'. Noel thought that because 'Tiswas' featured people getting soaked to the skin, and sprayed with green slime, it was a bad show. Then, twenty years later, he gave us 'Noel's House Party'. Go figure.
According to a 'Radio Times' article, Noel 'likes a cup of coffee and a cartoon at eleven o'clock'. He may still do for all we know. Being a live show, anything could happen. One of the classic moments was when Noel interviewed Debbie Harry of 'Blondie' fame. He asked Ms.Harry to pick the winner of the previous week's competition, and she'd agreed. Eric's bubble descended onto the set. That week, it was made up to resemble Jimmy Savile O.B.E. Fearing Debbie might mistake the face for an unkind caricature of herself, Noel quickly pointed out it was in fact Jimmy Saville, of whom she'd never heard - his discomfiture was delicious. The Roving Swapman, Cheggers, provided another Solid Gold moment when a trophy he presented to a figure skater fell to pieces in his hands!
I often wondered what the parents of all those children wanting to swap their toys on air thought of this show. I bet that some were still being paid for on hire purchase. Hobbyists were also a regular item; one horrible boy bragged about his fabulous collection of Marvel Comics. I felt like phoning in to do a 'Five Star' on him! The best thing about 'Swap' was that it kept Noel off peak-time telly for years. Then, one day, it tragically ended, leaving Noel free to whirl his wheels and hand out gotchas!
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