Splash (CITV, 1985-1988)
A while ago I reviewed Magpie, even though this was a show that had ended three years before I was born. I felt that this was worth featuring in this series though because this is considered to be a rather important show in CITV’s history, essentially being the equivalent of CBBC’s Blue Peter, and it seemed that you had to come down on one side or the other, you couldn’t like both.
And Tommy Boyd was one of the hosts, so it can’t have been all bad. After this ended, his co-host Mick Robertson went off to laugh his way through the early days of The Children’s Channel. Some of the surviving editions of Magpie were even released on DVD by Network, which was good. So it was rather a surprise when in the mid-80s the format was later revived by CITV in just about all but name.
Splash was shown live, but only once a week (Magpie was twice a week, as was Blue Peter at this point). This was a magazine show, with various hosts. These included Michael Groth (who was also a host on That’s Life!), and Lisa Maxwell, who was well as hosting this, was also a comic actress, going on to her own comedy show on BBC1 in 1991, before later joining the cast of The Bill.
Every edition would feature the hosts on the sofa, and there were interviews with pop groups, a look behind the scenes at various TV shows, features on hobbies like skateboarding, and lots more in that area. There would also be competitions, and a chance to have your questions answered, which would usually result in a rather heaving postbag.
There were also some spin-offs, including Splash Special, which was more of a documentary, where various children and their interests were featured, and Splash Summer Special, where the hosts would all go off on a nice holiday. And don’t forget the Splash Lookin Star Awards, where people off CITV shows would be nominated for things like funniest cartoon, and shiniest mullet (probably).
I think that Splash was shown just about all year round, usually on Tuesdays, and this would eventually run for three or four years (still far short of Magpie‘s 12 though). It does look like it was a lot of fun to work on though. But when this ended, there wouldn’t be a third attempt at a show in this style on CITV, whereas Blue Peter continues to this day.