Chris Tarrant shell-shocked as Status Quo star ‘smoked spliff’ in front of kids on Tiswas

Chris Evans jokes about Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Tarrant

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Chris Tarrant, 75, a legendary broadcaster who presented the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? shot to fame after becoming a co-host of kids TV show, Tiswas.

Speaking to GB News’ Dan Wootton on his show, Tonight, Chris said he doesn’t think he would get away with some aspects of the show these days, while revealing how he solved a drugs incident involving the late Status Quo legend Rick Parfitt as quickly as he could.

Chris said: “I would not be forgiven for Tiswas, but Tiswas was such a hoot.

“We wrote scripts and things, but we had a ball.

“Everybody and every band in Britain at that time (Paul) McCartney, Roger Daltrey, Queen they all came on because they had a great laugh. It was great fun.

“I remember once somebody said ‘I saw a child crying on their show’, well yeah go to a kids party, kids cry you know, they fall over and stuff.

He added: “We had this famous incident where, I decided we would have a celebrity cage, instead of normal members of the public we pelted with rubbish, let’s get celebrities in there.

“We had Status Quo, a rock band from America called Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Lemmy from Motorhead and the late splendid John Peel, the cage was rammed.

“We pelted them with whatever and then I’m doing a sketch with Lenny and I suddenly thought that’s marijuana, I, a producer of a children’s show and somebody is smoking a spliff.”

When asked “Did you find out who it was?”, Chris said: ”Yes, basically Lenny and I were doing the sketch, he was dressed up as a waiter and Lenny was like ‘where are you going’ and I said forget it and just pelted the cage with water and the offending item was put out.

“I can’t tell you who it was… Rick Parfitt.”

Tiswas, which stood for Today Is Saturday: Watch And Smile, ran between 1974 and 1982 with Chris at the helm for seven of those years.

Featuring a stitch-together of competitions, film clips, pop promos and comedy sketches, the show left kids howling with laughter across eight series.

Chris was joined by co-host Sally James as well as a young Sir Lenny Henry and occasional appearances from comedians such as Jim Davidson.

Chris believes censors would pour cold water all over Tiswas today because of how some of the guests were treated.

A popular segment on the show was “The Cage”, where, usually, a child in the audience who had applied, would be locked up and periodically doused in water.

It became so popular that the 100th show featured several hundred fans lining the racetrack whilst a fire engine from the local brigade drove around the track and hosed them down with water.

Chris told The Mirror: “We pelted people in a cage with water, there were smoke bombs going off, kids slipping everywhere. There’s no way we’d be able to do that now.

“But back then we had a blank sheet. I used to say, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing but I hate Blue Peter’. It was so twee.”

Banking on the success of Tiswas, which peaked with 4.7 million viewers, OTT was an adult late-night show produced and presented by Chris and the very antithesis of woke TV.

“OTT was live, very much experimental TV. Some of it was brilliant. Some was truly dreadful,” said Chris.

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