The Summer Replacements have always been somewhat overshadowed by the
main programmes, but here's a run-down of the shows.
Get Set for Summer/Get Set
This was the first real stab at a summer replacement, and came out of
the BBC's North West studios in Manchester. Get Set for Summer was fronted by
then Radio 1 DJ Peter Powell and Mark Curry who was later to become a Blue
Peter presenter. Mark was joined by Deborah Appleby for Get
Set which shared the summer of 1983 with the Get Set
The show was never glamourous, although it did it's best and introduced
us to the world of TV POW! (a voice activated space shooting game that ran
from Mattel's Intellivision games console)
The Get Set Picture Show/The Saturday Picture
This was somewhat similar in format to it's predecessor, Get
Set, and was
presented by just Mark Curry for the first part run during 1983
(as the Get Set Picture Show). He was
joined for the next two years Maggie Philbin. In
the final series of the show, Mark was joined by Cheryl Baker (of
Bucks Fizz) and the show gained an studio audience.
The show had a vehicle (The Mobile Picture Unit) which was in
pre-recorded segments when the crew 'went out' to some place or other
Probably the most memorable bit of this show was where the accident
prone Mark was making a sort of milk shake cocktail when his shaker
decided to break apart covering him in the liquid held within.
The first series of The Saturday Picture Show had a theme tune that was performed by the popular band Musical
Oh dear... This one should rather be left in the murky depths of the
past, but here goes...
Someone had the bright idea of a show that should not be studio based,
and travel to a different location each week. This led to the show's
'transport' being a red Ford Mustang, and the 'set' being an American
diner. It was a bit weird as although this was obviously the show, it was
linked by a couple of characters watching it at home and flipping channels
to link in other content.
It's no surprise that this one only lasted a year - it was awful!
On the Waterfront
This one was pretty unique and rather good with it! On The Waterfront
came from a BBC studio that was an old warehouse on the Liverpool
waterfront. It was a great mix of studio fun (games
and quizzes) and pre-recorded sketches.
Without a doubt, the team's finest moment came with a reworking of a
old children's classic serial. The Flashing Blade was a dubbed French
serial that had seen the day of light during the 70s, but they managed to
skillfully compress each 20 minute episode to around 5 minutes, and then
completely redub the soundtrack to create a highly comical show. The
rewrite of Flashing Blade was done by Russell T Davies - the man
behind the highly successful return of Doctor Who.
This shared the summers of 1988/89 with On The Waterfront. A
Manchester studio based programme, the idea was that some of the content
of the show was chosen by the viewers.
Jenny Powell (who had worked on BBC2's No Limits), Tony Dortie
and Anthea Turner (a then little known children's
presenter from the summer 'But First This' strand and more recently
BBC THREE's Perfect Housewife) worked well together as a
team - one of them, mainly Anthea, did an outside broadcast.
It was on this series that a mistimed fire flash exploded too close to Anthea
setting her hair alight on live children's television.
The 8.15 From Manchester
This one went out at 8.15 and yes, was broadcast from Manchester.
A little known Ross King and Charlotte Hindle
(who presented ITV's Saturday Morning show Get Fresh) were joined in the
second year by Radio 1's Dianne Oxberry (now a weather presenter
for BBC North).
The show was the normal mix of music, cartoon and quizzes and worked
well - as well having a cracking theme tune by the Inspiral Carpets.
It had a water based game show, The Wetter The Better, (shot at Blackpool's Sandcastle centre)
where basically teams of school kids got to pelt one of their teachers
with water. Ross presented this game show, and was assisted in the second
series by Liverpudlian songstress Sonia.
An odd one! P9 came from the ninth parallel dimension far away where guests would be 'beamed' up to supply
information and entertainment to keep Mercator entertained or something
like that anyway! Actually, it was a studio set at Pinewood Studios
in deepest Buckinghamshire.
first series had a brilliant theme tune - probably one of the best to have
ever graced Saturday Mornings (yes, even better that The 8.15 From
Manchester!) - it's in the Sound and Video gallery.
The main problem they had in the first series was that all of the
characters were in this parallel dimension, and all of the actors had
difficulty staying in character whist trying to interview the guests. This was 'fixed' by reworking the concept of the show for the later
series, by adding an Earth Station that had the gateway, and a presenter
who could hold it all together. Lucinda Cowden, who played Melanie
in Neighbours, had the job
towards the end of the show's run.
Parallel 9 was the first show broadcast
in the Saturday morning slot that was an independent production, being
made by Roach and Partners.
Off to Scotland for the first time! This was another 'themed' show - it
was based in a hotel, but the difference was that the
presenters were themselves, and they had a number of characters around
them - most prominently Morag the Cow who ran the reception (perfectly
normal in the world of children's television!). Grant Stott (brother of
John Leslie who presented Blue Peter) was joined initially for series 1 by
ZoŽ Ball, then for the next two series by Sarah Vandenbergh (from
Neighbours). They had a massive supporting cast of characters - such as
Wee Alistair McAlistair, Jan Van Da Vall and Les Vegas - who were all
Brophy (who also performed the voice of L&K's Ratz).
The show was reworked for it's fourth and fifth years, but despite
still having the same name, had nothing to do with a hotel at all as it
mutated into another studio show with music, guests and cartoons. Chris
Jarvis (ex CBBC Studio 9) and Tim Vincent (ex Blue Peter) were joined
initially by Gail Porter and then Kate Heavenor (who was first seen on BBC
Choice's The Crew Room).
Other than the first series, the show was 'filmed as live' in advance -
and therefore lost any ability for a phone in or a live quiz - and also
found itself on Sunday mornings!
Almost a new show - a repackaged live version of the last
incarnation of Fully Booked back in the Saturday slot.
FBi, which stood for Fully
Booked Interactive, inherited Kate Heavenor, and
got Boyzone's Keith Duffy and Vernon Kay who was presenting UK Play's
'The Phone Zone' at the time.
Again the normal mix of music, cartoons and guests entailed and worked
well especially as it went on to show that the live format does work best
as the viewers really felt that they could influence the show's path -
such as the cartoon phone vote.
Time passes... six years to be precise before a
real Summer Replacement appears again.
The Mighty Truck of Stuff
This show started off its life on the CBBC Channel and was bumped up
to BBC TWO (simulcast on the CBBC Channel) for the first part of the
summer of 2006.
Host Reggie Yates had a Mighty Truck, and his task
before the timer runs out was to fill it with stuff that can be won by one
viewer. Reggie would swap, borrow and take part in some bizarre games to
get stuff for the truck. He is assisted by celebrity guests, the studio
audience, his side kick Kojo, and his team of 'packers' headed up by
When the timer runs out Reggie called up one viewer live and as long as
they answered with the words 'show me the truck' they win.
New Zealanders Reece and Jared appeared as Reggie's Superfans.
They featured on the show in a segment where they would let shopping
centre visitors experience their unique services in exchange for items for
The POD (Programmes On Demand) was first aired for the second part of
It was basically show where a team of girls took on a team of boys in a
series of challenges set by the POD. The winners of the challenge got to
'demand the programme' that aired next.