TV Cream

TV: N is for...

Number 73

RUEFULLY RECALLED by many a kid as the first long-term replacement (see just about anything beginning with the word “Saturday” and FUN FACTORY for the short term) for TISWAS. Considering what had gone before, it’s amazing that No. 73 lasted as long as it did, although being up against SATURDAY SUPERSTORE probably helped. The themed setting was a terraced house in Maidstone, Kent (ME15 6RS, or “Me fifteen, six arse”) where landlady Ethel (SANDI TOKSVIG) presided over a wacky extended family which included blonde no-mark HARRY, irritating still-at-it artist NEIL BUCHANAN (who was so crap he even failed an interview for an art foundation course, possibly the easiest game in the world), and rollerskating cockney redhead Dawn (ANDREA ARNOLD). Later additions included KIM “WATCH” GOODY. Mullets and ra-ra-skirts prevailed. The usual mixture of bands (Westworld and Amazulu being typical examples), “educational” bits (zoo vet, DAVID TAYLOR, local kids-with-a-talent, etc.) and cartoons (WILLIE RUSHTON’s cultish TRAPDOOR) ensued. Everyone remembers Toksvig’s Sandwich Quiz, where two guest celebs were invited to answer questions and build sandwiches, one layer at a time, for no reason at all. Arnold and Buchanan survived name transition in late ‘eighties (to 7T3, set in a wild west theme park for no discernible reason), then lacklustre MOTORMOUTH.



  1. Stan Pomeray

    August 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    The first series was described by ITV as being set in a house whose owner, an “old lady” called Ethel Davies, opened it up to all sorts of guests.

    Old lady? Sandi Toksvig was 25 at the time LOL

    And why “Ethel Davies”? Might as well have just used her real name!

  2. Richard Davies

    August 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I was also puzzled why Sandi Toksvig had the name Ethel Davies in it back in the day, Neil Buchanan managed to use his own name alright.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    June 16, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    They did a whole episode as an outside broadcast from, I think, Camber Sands. It was (presumably) the day after the Herald of Free Enterprise sank (so Saturday 7 March 1987), and there was a news report in the middle of the programme (not reporting the sinking but the next day’s aftermath), and (it being live), they accidentally cut to the live broadcast too soon, revealing the cast all watching the news report with very solemn faces. Then it cut away, and when the programme re-started, they were all back in character, mucking about etc. It was an early glimpse behind the curtain as it were – made quite an impression on me at the time.

  4. Richardpd

    June 16, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    One the Sunday Granada didn’t show The Love Boat, a few times programming has been postponed for being “too topical”.

    I remember the Wide Awake Club was cut short a few months earlier (20/09/1986) due to the Colwich rail accident happening the day before, and TV-AM covering the aftermath.

    I’ve got the feeling one of their guests for the show was on one of the trains involved, & they weren’t in the mood to improvise something to fill the slot.

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