Bitsa (CBBC, 1991-1996)
Whatever you do, don’t throw those old toilet rolls away because you can be creative with them! Bitsa was an art show where viewers were encouraged to make items out of everyday junk and it was hosted by Simon Pascoe and Caitlin Easterby. The show’s title seemingly came from the theme song that insisted that you could create things from “bitsa this, bitsa that“. Er, yes.
The early episodes usually had a theme running through them and there were a lot of creative ideas on the show. So why not send off for a factsheet for more information. There would also usually be an interlude where some children at a school would show off some of the artwork that they had created.
One of the best features on the show was where the hosts were challenged to create an item on the spot. There were about ten boxes and three of them were nominated. They then had to make the item in three minutes only using the materials that were in those boxes. This was always amusing as they struggled against time to think of an idea and then put it all together, usually dropping boxes everywhere and trying to use a glue gun, but they did always succeed with creating something impressive in such little time. The music that accompanied this was brilliant too.
This carried on for a few years, but then there was a format change, and Bitsa was now… on the road! The show would now go around the country in the tourbus but there were still lots of good ideas. There was also a new scary-looking character added that consisted of a robotic pair of hands that made items while making a strange humming noise. There was also a re-recording of the opening theme to make it sound much more rock, replacing the original version that was sung by Dave Benson-Phillips.
Bitsa was essentially the CBBC equivalent of Art Attack, another show that I am a fan of. It ran for five years and there some format changes, but once the similar art show Smart came along that meant the end for Bitsa. Curiously though, around 2000, a lot of episodes of Bitsa were repeated on BBC Choice as part of their daily CBBC strand. It was great seeing a lot of episodes again that were almost a decade old by that point and it brought back a lot of good memories.