I like to take risks in life – sometimes I won’t look at the instructions on my Transformers toys, other times I’ll drink a coffee even though it says ‘caution: contents hot’ on the cup – it makes life a bit more fun. So today I’m taking a risk by writing this feature, because there’s a big chance that nobody has even heard of Zzzap!.
If you’re unaware, it was a children’s TV show that started in 1993 and ran until 2001. It was like a live-action comic book full of loads of different characters appearing in different segments – it was like The Beano, but real. It was the best.
Anyway, I’ve heard that “retro” things do well on the “internet” so I’m gonna punt this one into the digital ether and hopefully it’ll land somewhere where people will “notice” it.
Intro over, here are all the characters from Zzzap! rated from best to worst.
1. Smart Arty
Popquiz, fuckshot: Who is the best person to ever have appeared on children’s television?
The answer is Neil Buchanan (from Art Attack), and there is no disputing this – just ask anyone who has ever been a child, which is most people I know.
Anyway, taking that fact as gospel, it obviously means that Neil’s character in Zzzap! would be the best one. He plays an obtusely caricatured Frenchman (not racist when they’re French, is it?) who draws stuff with a marker, most of which then becomes real. So, like a cool, culturally insensitive ‘90s version of Penny Crayon.
Of course, this being a comic, he often ends up IN A BIT OF A SQUIZZ, and usually crashes into/falls over/slips on something. Look:
That’s what you get for drawing your own skis and then actually using them to try to get to the bottom of the mountain. They’re made out of cardboard you silly old dickhead!
2. The Handymen
The second best character(s) is (are) the Handymen, who was (were) played by Sarah Pickthall, who was (is?) female. Presumably, “Handywomen” was too forward-thinking back in 1993 and ITV bosses were worried about calling it that, because it might have turned all the children in the country gay or something. Either way, she is (are) the second best character(s).
The Handymen were Sarah’s hands in gloves, and that was all you could see, and she would make art, do magic tricks or knock up sick bowls of jelly with gummy crocodiles in. Obviously, being a child when watching this, I loved magic tricks, so this was why I favoured this segment so much. Little did I know how many of those magic tricks I would learn, and once in adulthood, subsequently use to impress a total number of zero women in bars.
Also, NEWSFLASH FART FACE, The Handymen was one of only two sections that appeared in every single episode of Zzzap! – bang that out at the next dinner party you’re at. You’ll go down like a sack of shit.
3. Cuthbert Lilly
I bet you ten nicker that you don’t know a sillier billy than Cuthbert Lilly. He’s such a poopy plonker – you wouldn’t believe it. He’s always banging into things, he’s always getting the wrong end of the stick – he’s such a nutty numbskull, let me tell you! A bloopy blomper!
Cuthbert Lilly, who we’re told is “dead silly”, was an idiotic grown man who would often get himself in worrisome situations that usually ended with him getting chased by a policeman or an old lady. If you ask me, that’s as good enough a set-up as any. He was also, along with The Handymen, the only other segment that stuck around for every single episode.
Also, I just watched a load of it back and it turns out it’s still funny, actually. I always knew I hadn’t progressed much in maturity as my life trundled on, but watching this back brought me to the following revelation: I have progressed precisely 0%. It’s either that or I’m having a breakdown.
Really though, watch the clip above. If you don’t laugh at least once, or even crack a smile, you’re not a person I ever want to hang around with at one of my nappy parties, and you certainly aren’t having a go on my sippy cup, that’s for sure. Grow up!
4. Daisy Dares You
I did not like Daisy Dares You – it was the part of the show where I would often walk out and run errands, like getting more Cheestrings, or getting more Peperamis. I found Daisy intensely annoying – her laugh and OOOOH sounds having much the same effect as placing the base of my brain on a lemon juicer and twisting it around really aggressively. In actuality, I presume this was an early warning sign of the still-undiagnosed misophonia that was to plague me in later life.
Like, gunge is always funny yes, and Daisy often involved it, so I could forgive her for that (usually by pressing the mute button). That’s why she’s not the worst on the list, I guess. Also, she didn’t look like someone on the sex offender’s register:
5. Tricky Dicky's Mission Impossible
This is basically Daisy Dares you, but a bloke, and a really, really sinister one, at that. He pretty much did the same kind of thing as Daisy, which essentially involved saying “Tee hee hee” a lot, and gunging kids. But unfortunately, he looked like this:
That’s a character on a kids’ TV show right there. That’s not going to ruin any childhoods, is it? Good night’s sleep all around, I rate.
Yeah, there’s a reason he only lasted one season.
Also, here’s another FRUCKING FRUN FRACT for you: This breathtakingly alarming nightmare man and clear threat to children was played by Richard Waites, otherwise known as Cuthbert Lilly, that charming dolt who was often chased by a policeman (presumably for a different reason to Tricky Dicky).
6. Minnie The Mini Magician
I have absolutely zero fucking clue what is happening here.