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Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, The

SUBLIME HERALD of the weekend, forever jostling with TISWAS for Saturday morning supremacy, and the best thing EDMONDS has ever done. Everyone knows what this was all about, but the real stroke of genius was giving kids the chance to phone up and talk to the stars. Seems obvious, yet it was fantastic, and for some reason nobody does it anymore. Noel’s comrades were, of course, KEITH CHEGWIN (“He’s packed his bags and gone off with a knowing look – could he be near your place today?!”), MAGGIE PHILBIN and JOHN CRAVEN, along with Posh Paws (Stilgoe-esque anagram of Swap Shop) a purple felt dinosaur with poorly-articulated jaw that did a feeble “roar” whenever some sappy viewer sent him in a homemade waistcoat, and a stuffed toy sheep moved up and down by a crouching Craven. Plus ERIC who operated the TOTP-themed plastic sphere-on-a-string with the competition answers (and got own feeble awards named after him). Edmonds was in full bloom here: shouting, fooling around, obsessing over gadgety stuff, putting callers at ease, chatting amiably with a thousand guests, joking with the crew, and generally making the show a great place to hang out of a morning. Everyone involved seemed to have a great time, and hence you felt the same. Two theme tunes: the first went “SWAP SHOP! Daa-da-da, da-da-da-da, daa-da-dadadadadadadadada-daaaa!” over a squiggly “morphing” animation of the logo; the second, by BA “Kaftan” Robertson, had a sort of steel bandish effect and went “Hello, hello, hello, hello, hellooooo!” a la Smells LIke Teen Spirit. “Offers: Scalectrix (note spelling) 200 track and cars. Wants: Anything to do with Hazel O’Connor.”



  1. Jo Pacey

    February 14, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I have a very soft spot for Swap Shop, because they did an outside broadcast from the Lord Mayor’s show and I was riding on Imperial College’s float and my dad was watching Swap Shop and saw me !! I couldn’t stand Noel Edmonds but I had a bit of a crush on John Craven…

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  3. David Smith

    March 1, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I’m sure in the early days of Swap Shop I was convinced that Posh Paws’ name was actually “Pohs Paws”, due to an erroneous belief it was a palindrome rather than an anagram. Noel may even have said it was, initially… 😀

  4. Richard16378

    March 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Clas Ohlson sell a wall clock very similar to the one on the Swap Shop set.

    It would be great if they also had some replica trimphones to complete the feel.

  5. Tom Ronson

    March 30, 2022 at 2:42 am

    I had a drawing pinned to the front of Nolly’s desk circa 1980. In many ways, that is still the highlight of my career.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    March 30, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Swap Shop was an excellent concept, had Noel Edmonds in his first imperial era, and made a star out of Keith Chegwin RIP. Of course, for its first year, it had no real competition in many parts of the country, until ITV regions started taking Tiswas from ATV. Then it was a case of, are you Swap Shop or Tiswas?

    • Tom Ronson

      October 24, 2022 at 4:21 am

      Being an intrinsically dull child who had neither the need of nor the desire for aggressively boisterous entertainment, I was very much in the Swap Shop camp, and thought Tiswas – on the odd occasions when I bothered to tune in – just reeked of rotten, boorish, self-indulgent shite. Watching clips on YouTube, and it’s not really surprising that the cast members appear to be having a whale of a time, whereas the majority of the kids in the audience look bored to death. Also worth noting that Edmonds came across as a really good bloke in his seventies pomp – he was a sunnier soul who had yet to cross over to ‘grown-up’ telly where his tiresome local radio mentality (contrived zaniness turned up to eleven) was on flagrant display for all to see, not to mention the business with Michael Lush, after which it’s astonishing he was ever allowed near a television studio again…

  7. Richardpd

    March 30, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    This was one of the few TV shows presented by Noel Edmonds that my Dad liked, mostly because Noel hadn’t let his ego get the better of him at that time.

    It’s a shame Keith Chegwin never managed to really went on to present many shows away from children’s programming.

    • Droogie

      March 30, 2022 at 11:10 pm

      We’ll forget Cheggers on Naked Jungle then. My main memory of Swap Shop is Edmonds wearing one of those chunky yellow Plastic pens on a necklace to jot things down. The only other character I saw wearing one of these was pen freak Pauline on The League Of Gentleman.

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