Spatz (CITV, 1990-1992)
Spatz was an early-90s CITV sitcom that was set in the crazy fast-moving world of a fast-food restaurant. The show got its name from the old-fashioned footwear that the top-hatted gentleman in the logo wore. There was a lot of publicity when the show launched. There was a picture in TV Times and everything.
The main character in the show is TJ, an easy-going Canadian businessman who has the really cool idea of setting up a chain of fast-food restaurants in England. He was joined by Karen and the show starts with them hiring a crazy bunch of characters to work in their new branch of Spatz in Cricklewood. Naturally, chaos ensues, for a bit.
Most of the comedy in the show came from the staff having run-ins with the customers, TJ and Karen’s attempts to keep everything running smoothly, and an ongoing rivalry with another fast-food restaurant across the road called Blimpy’s. Occasionally some burgers got eaten too. It also had the most absurd canned laughter track.
As the episodes went by Spatz became sillier and even had a few guest stars appear as themselves and join in the fun including Gary Lineker and Nicholas Parsons (there’s a reference for the teenagers). Spatz is also notable for making the best use of a pink and blue neon sign after Catchphrase and Top Of The Pops.
Spatz ran for three series was a co-produced by Thames and a Canadian company, seemingly in the hope that it would lead the show to be a success overseas. Although it ended in 1992 Spatz did endure on CITV and was repeated as late as 1996, and an episode even turned up in the famous Old Skool Weekend a couple of years ago. It’s yet another show that would be great to see released on DVD but it does seem unlikely.
Spatz is a show that I remember enjoying at the time and is definitely one of my favourites from that era of CITV.