The Shows: Summer Replacements

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 Picture Show.

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 Show

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 Youth

It's Wicked

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.

Parallel 9

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.

The 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.

Fully Booked

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 Paul 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 Pablo.

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 truck.


The POD (Programmes On Demand) was first aired for the second part of summer 2006.

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.

A simple format that simply filled eight weeks!

  Celebrating BBC Saturday Morning television since 1976