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  • Tiswas

    Hi! I've just joined this forum.
    I'd like to tell all of you about a British TV show that was similar to--if not crazier than--YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION. It's called TISWAS, and it also ran from the late 70's through the 80's. Imagine YCDTOTV with twice the slime, and you 'll have a pretty good idea of this show! Pies were their favorite, but they also used water and slime--gunge, and they like to call it. One of their contests was that kids brought their teachers on the show. They asked the teachers questions, and if they got them wrong they got covered in gunge! (The kids also got covered!) Another memerable incident was a quiz show parody. The female presenter--I believe her name was Sally James--sat in a chair blindfolded. Various liquids dropped on her, and she had to guess what these liquids were!
    This show was never broadcast in the US, unfortunately, but I have a few clips from it on tape.

  • #2
    I have heard of this show but have never seen a full episode of it (have seen clips on Youtube and I agree, it was one crazy show).

    One neat thing about Tiswas is that they had celebrities (like pop stars) on the show, and they often got messy - Sheena Easton, Chrissie Hynde (the Pretenders), Annie Lennox, and Adam Ant are among the musical lumarines who fell victim to Tiswas's Phantom Flan Flinger.

    To my eyes, it recalls Nickelodeon's messy game shows of the late 80s/early 90s, especially What Would You Do?, more so than YCDTOTV. But even WWYD? had nothing on Tiswas in terms of craziness - and I can say this with certainty even after having watched only a few clips of the latter.


    • #3
      Oh yes, I forgot about the guest stars. How come YCDTOTV didn't do that? It would have added a new dimension to the show.


      • #4
        the 1979 episodes and the spin-off "Whatever Turns you on" had once some musical guest stars coming on the set like Ian Thomas and Tropper but it would had been fun to imagine comedian guest stars starring on YCDTOTV like Mike Myers, Dan Arkhold, John Candy, Lily Tomlin.


        • #5
          I'm sure YCDTOTV would have loved big name guest stars, but, in reality, it was a locally-produced show out of an affiliate building in Ottawa. Obviously, the budget wasn't huge. In fact I'd like to know how much money Nickelodeon gave CJOH-TV to help produce the show (if any at all) after Nick picked up the program. Obviously, Nick was in its early stages as well, so it may not have had any substantial money to hand out either.
          Chris Gough


          • #6
            That brings up an interesting point... what would YCDTOTV have become if it had a guest star every week, similar to Laugh-In and Saturday Night Live? The whole YCDTOTV formula we remember had Les Lye playing all the male adult characters and Ruth Buzzi or Abby Hagyard playing all the female adult characters.

            It's really hard for me to imagine how a guest star would have been worked in given the show's formula as we know it.
            Bob Morris
            Head writer #3 - You Still Can't


            • #7
              None of the musical guests (all Canadian) featured on WTYO ever became major international stars, but I think most of them had at least one song make the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the USA so these were acts with at least some visibility from a Canadian perspective. I think it has also been pointed out that most of the recording artists who appeared on the show were rock stars, with only one disco singer (Alma Faye) - so I wonder if the "disco sucks" mentality had started to take over. There was some good disco music that did come out of Canada during the late '70s - anyone remember The Raes ("A Little Lovin' (Keeps the Doctor Away)"?

              Of course WTYO also had non-musical guest stars like Tony Gabriel, and I know there was one episode in the first season where cartoonist Jim Unger (of "Herman" fame, who lived in Ottawa at the time) appeared. I don't think any of the guest stars ever had anything happen to them in terms of slime or water except for the cut scenes from the pilot episode in which Ruth Buzzi was slimed and pied. Tiswas, on the other hand, went out of its way to slime and pie its celebrity guest stars.

              In regard to YCDTOTV being low-budget, to me that is one of the things about the show that gives it its charm even after all these years. The production values were simple and sometimes crude but I think in some way that actually works in the show's favor, and even if it had flashy production values, kids wouldn't watch it if the content weren't good.


              • #8
                I don't remember who told me during the early stages of the site (Geoff or Roger), but Nick did substantially finance episodes. In fact, slightly longer episodes went to Nick for edits (censorship) before they laid the laugh track down starting in 1984. Don't quote me on that year - my memory from then is getting foggy after nearly 14 years.

                Having a guest star on each ep would have killed the dynamics of the show. Every ep would probably have run similar to the Libby Livingston episode with Adam and Alasdair fighting over whomever the female guest would have been...or the Jeff Mousseau episode - with the guest playing an annoying, unlikeable character. Today, however, the guest format would probably work since the show would have to be pretty much overhauled to appeal to today's youth.

                Getting back to the subject, Tiswas looked like wacky fun. It was mentioned in a thread here when Viacom forced the removal of everyone's "You Can't..." clips from You Tube about two years ago with links to clips. There was even a spin-off for an older crowd called "Over the Top," I believe.
                Ric de Barros