There was no doubt about it - Swap Shop was going to be a tough
act to follow, but the BBC's new replacement programme was up to the task.
Basically by just altering the format slightly, a whole new show was
created Saturday SuperStore.
The main differences between this and it's predecessor was it's 'themeing'
and the lack of the 'swapping' element.
The main presenter of the show, or the 'General Manager' as he was
known, was, again, the then host of the Radio 1 breakfast show Mike Read. Keith
Chegwin was the show's 'Delivery Boy' who spent time out on the road
with the Delivery Van (a refurbished version of the old Radio 1 Roadshow
vehicle) and latterly in the show's run alternating into the studio based
'Warehouse'. Ex footballer and then BBC Sport presenter David Icke
was taken on board and could be found in the Sports Department. John
Craven too came over from Swap Shop, and again interspersed a
mix of news and rotten jokes. And to complete the set, Maggie Philbin also
appeared on the show on and off during the first series.
Later in the run, Sarah Greene (ex of Blue Peter) joined
the staff as the 'Saturday Girl', and the following year Vicky Licorish
also came on board and was generally found loitering around in the 'Coffee
The show had a reputation for the guests that it seemed to be able to
draw. In the run up to the General Election, the show managed to get the
then leaders of the main three parties to appear on the show in successive
weeks - and it was then they found it was the children who could ask the
most awkward questions.
The show also had it's own talent searches. The Saturday SuperStore
Search for a Superstar was run for a couple of years. Prince Edward
even made an appearance on the show to announce the winner of the first
competition - and then stayed around for the rest of the morning, even
taking phone calls from viewers. A different type of competition was to
find the country's most talented School Caretaker!
As it seemed to be fashionable at the time for almost all children's
programmes to have a 'puppet' element, the show had two creations of it's
own towards the backend of it's run. Sieve Head was a small robot
who sat on Mike Read's desk, and Crow was an annoying puppet
with a scouse accent.
Mike Read's musical background gave the show a few running jokes
relating to his guitar playing. It probably was also responsible for a Brown
Sauce type attempt at making a record, the difference being that the SuperStore
record called Two Left Feet was basically pretty awful!
During the final year of the show, a fresh faced Phillip Schofield
hosted his own feature on television - little did we know...
Saturday SuperStore ran for five years.