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Zzzap (rendered ZZZap!) is a British children's television comedy programme. The concept of the show is a giant comic that has been brought to life. The show was broadcast on ITV from 8 January 1993 until 21 September 2001 and was produced for ten series by The Media Merchants and Meridian Broadcasting.

Format

The programme follows the same format throughout its run. A title intro is shown consisting of a couple of short clips for each character from the series. It is then followed by a series of short two- or three-minute-long segments, followed by the credits. Each segment is introduced by the camera zooming in on a corresponding panel on a giant comic, shot in reverse (e.g.: The Camera starting at the Panel, and pulling back) and then played in reverse. This giant comic has a set of nine frames on it, some of which contain a character representing their segments. The show was designed with deaf children in mind, and so the style of the show is predominantly visual, with the sound only providing music and effects. The audience in "The Handymen" segments would also often sign clapping instead of actually clapping.

The introduction to Series 1 was filmed in Chequers Shopping Centre in Maidstone showing a boy buying a copy of a comic called "ZZZap!" from a newsagent. The comic contains a 'Free TV Zapper!' which he uses only to find that the comic has increased to an enormous 18 ft size. This introduction was abandoned from series 2 onwards, which instead showed the giant comic and then introduced each of the characters with a short video. Some computer generated additions were made in series 8, and for series 10 the whole sequence including the giant comic was computer-animated. The closing titles also changed between series.

Episodes

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Season Eps. Year Originally aired
1 10 1993 8 January – 12 March
2 10 1994 7 January – 11 March
3 10 1995 6 January – 10 March
4 10 1996 5 January – 8 March
5 13 1997 10 January – 26 April
6 13 1998 9 January – 3 April
7 16 1998 1 September – 14 December
8 13 1999 7 September – 30 November
9 13 2000 7 September – 7 December
10 15 2001 3 September – 21 September

Syndication

The series was more recently broadcast on the CITV channel in 2006, 2007 and 2009. There were plans to broadcast the programme as part of CITV's 30th anniversary in January 2013, but this did not go ahead due to licensing issues.

The Smart Arty elements and The Handymen were repeated in the USA as part of It's Itsy Bitsy Time on Fox Family and Treehouse TV, with Smarty Arty being renamed to 'Art to Art with Art Arty'. The segments ran from 1999 until 2001.

Cast

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Main

CharacterActor(s)Series
Cuthbert Lilly
Richard Waites
All
Smart Arty
Neil Buchanan
1–7
The Handymen
Sarah Pickthall
All
Tricky Dicky
Richard Waites
1
Daisy Dares
Deborah McCallum
2–8
Claire Macaulay
9–10
Minnie The Mini Magician
Sophie Aldred
8–10

Recurring

Actor(s)CharacterSeries
Barry Lee-Thomas
Mr. Snooty
All Series
Anita Reynolds
Old Lady
All Series

Media releases

  • ZZZap! The Bumper Video Comic (VHS)
  • ZZZap! Vol. 2 – Holiday Special (VHS)
  • ZZZap! Vol. 3 – Goes Bonkers (VHS)
  • ZZZap! Vol. 4 – Goes Completely Crazy (VHS)
  • The Wildest Ever ZZZap! Video (VHS)

Music

The series mainly used Library music for most of the background music. The theme tune is Keystone Chaos, composed by Ron Aspery, from the KPM library. The background music used in the majority of The Handymen sketches is Memories of the Music Hall, composed by Roger Webb, from the de Wolfe Music Library. Another piece used later during The Handymen's run was The Mirabelle Waltz by Sam Fonteyn. Tracks used for Daisy dares you.

  • Bruton library CD "Loony Tunes" (BR28-BRF10): Pocket Full Of Peanuts and Keyboard Wizzard

Tracks used from the Music House Library CD's for Cuthbert Lilly's tracks

  • Comedy Situations (MHE-31): "Toytown", "Clowns" and "Comedy Rag".
  • Comedy Classics 1 (KPM131): "Banana Skin" and "Round the Bend"
  • Children's Hour (KPM 147): "Animal Capers"
  • Comedy & Animation Volume I (KPM 367): Busy Days
  • Tiny Tots (MHS-19): "Pony Trotting".
  • Candid Camera (MHE-3): "Vintage Hollywood"

Tracks used from the Carlin Library CD's for Cuthbert Lilly's tracks

  • Children - Comedy - Shorts 2 (CAR 176): Toy Car
  • Comedy - Cartoon - Children (CAR 136): Coach Trip
  • Light Hearted-Fun (CAR 144): Ben Hill Billy and String Holiday
  • Children - Comedy - Shorts (CAR 156): Happy Oompah

Tracks used from the Sonoton Library CD's for Cuthbert Lilly's tracks

  • Comic Collection 4: Period Slapstick (SCD 165): "Scotch On The Rocks"

The track commonly used for the Dot-to-Dot/Eye Segments etc

  • Comedy Situations (MHE-31): "Pink Python" by Mo Foster
  • Off The Wall (KPM 146): Cluedo
  • Comedy Situations 2 (KPM 132) Drag

Tracks used for Tricky Dicky come from:

  • Carlin Library: Cartoons- Comedy- Children (CAR 150): "Friendly Panther"
  • Chappell Library: Archive: Famous Themes Revisited 1 (CHAP 185): "Devil's Gallop"

Tracks used for Minnie The Mini Magician:

  • De Wolfe Library: Loony Tunes (DWCD 0254): "Pizzicato Bliss"

Two other tracks were used but are unknown.

Smart Arty's sketches were accompanied by Luigi Boccherini's String Quintet in E major, Op. 11, No. 5, G. 275.

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