In November 2006 I received an email from a gentleman called Mike Smith. At first I wasn’t sure who he was, but he explained that he was Sally James‘s husband and as a Tiswas fan I certainly knew who she was!
Mike is an almost legendary name in the music and media business, and he had made contact with me because I’m part of the TiswasOnline group (aka the Tiswas Fan Club) which has been running since 2004 (there’s more about the group and its activities in my interview here).
Mike explained that he was working on a new Tiswas project for ITV and wondered if the TiswasOnline group would be interested in helping with it. When I picked my jaw off the floor, I noticed that he’d left a phone number, so I called him.
Mike is a very affable, enthusiastic and straight-talking fella and it turned out that the project was to be a TV reunion programme to feature all of the original team and he’d noticed that TiswasOnline had a very large following which included some of the now-grown-up children who had participated in the original show back in the 70s and 80s. Mike wanted to get in touch with them and do a casting call for other so that they might be part of the reunion show.
To cut a long story short, we helped find plenty of people for the show and as a reward we got to go to the programme’s recording in April 2007, and then it was broadcast in June 2007 as “Tiswas Reunited”, a co-production between ITV and CTTV (Chris Tarrant Television). As a ‘Thank You’ for our help we were given the programme’s sofas and also the actual cage itself!
Between the recording of the show (at LWT’s London Studios) and the transmission date, I had the idea of doing a promotional radio show. This was during the period when I was presenting my original “UpAndHappy!” radio show for WCRfm in Wolverhampton.
I planned my programme as a vague trip through the history of the show punctuated by songs that the Tiswas team had actually released themselves under the various guises of “Sal, Chris, ‘N Trev”, “The Four Bucketeers”, “The Pie’n’Ears” and a few other solo singles. I set about gathering together interviews (old and new) with as many of the Tiswas team as I could.
The thing about all of the songs I planned to feature was that at this point in time (2007) they’d only ever been released on vinyl singles or albums and so I ended up digitally restoring and remastering then as much as I could and they all came out sounding beautiful!
A couple of years later, 2 of the Tiswas songs (“The Bucket of Water Song” and Matthew Butler’s “Bright Eyes”) were finally released on CD within “The Tiswas Album” which is still available HERE or HERE
I christened the 2-hour radio special “Totally Tiswas” and it went out on the morning of June 16th 2007, with the “Tiswas Reunited” show airing on ITV1 that same evening, and later released on DVD.
When broadcast I had to edit it down to fit into 2×58 minute radio-hours… however, the full unedited versions of each hour are available right here. Hope you like it!