Swap Shop

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Multi-Coloured Swap Shop or just Swap Shop as it was known was a popular Saturday morning live TV show from the BBC. The programme ran from 2nd October 1976 to 27th March 1982. Broadcast from the studios in London the main host was Noel Edmonds, with co-host John Craven who would cover news items relevant to children. Keith Chegwin was the shows outside broadcast host with Maggie Philbin as the co-host, she would sometimes be in the studio or outside on location with Keith. The concept of the programme was to swap items such as games, puzzles or toys you did not want anymore, this was mixed with news items, interviews, music, cartoons and competitions. The outside broadcast unit would turn up to a different town each week where crowds would attend, join in the fun and swap unwanted items.
Below is Southend’s Evening Echo report on the event, Monday 29th September 1980: Darren Duck was a good sport when singled out for interview on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop on Saturday. The TV show, starring Disk Jockey Noel Edmonds, was at Priory Park, Southend. But Noel wasn’t in Southend. He was at the TV studios in London. Darren found himself on the screen talking to Keith Chegwin, link-man between Priory Park and the studio. Several hundred children turned up to the Swaperama at Southend. Meanwhile in the studio, Noel interviewed stars Cliff Richard and Esther Rantzen. Then youngsters at Southend had their chance to exchange all kinds of toys and games via the TV link. Afterwards Darren of Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea, Said: “It was good fun. We had quite a laugh and I didn’t mind him taking the micky out of my name. I think I was chosen to appear because I wrote to the TV head office asking them to hold the Swap Shop in Southend. It was a bit nerve wracking. He asked me about Southend Pier and whether I thought it should be kept. I said it should.” Darren was able to exchange a game for another one which he wanted. He said: “He kept calling me Donald and pretended it was a mistake, but I didn’t mind. I thought it was funny and so did everybody else.”
Sadly Darren died in 2018. Tracy Coke (Darren’s sister) and husband Paul supplied the newspaper cutting. Paul started looking for video footage recently, which was thought to be lost as Tracy had been searching for footage of this event in Southend for some time, she had in the past contacted the BBC, to be told the original recordings were wiped. It was reported the Quadraplex videotapes that were used to record the show as it went out live were erased and sold to Australia for re-recording. Thanks to Paul, his search was not a waste of time, amazingly he has managed to track down video footage of the show in Southend, which he has edited and allowed us to share. Thank you Tracy and Paul. Watch and enjoy!
Thank you Janet Burrows from Southend for these images, at the time Janet watched the TV programme and liked it so much she wrote to the BBC asking for the hosts autographs, these picture cards were returned in the post.
Darren Duck talking to Keith Chegwin. Picture from the Southend Evening Echo
In 1980 Darren Duck, from Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea wrote to the BBC asking them to come to Southend. On Saturday 27th September 1980 the programmes live outside segments were broadcast from Priory Park.
The crowd at Priory Park. Picture from the Southend Evening Echo
Noel Edmonds
John Craven
Keith Chegwin
Maggie Philbin
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