Genre Children's
Directed by Paul Slater (1994)
Ian Bolt (1997-1998)
Alistair Clark (1993)
Adrian Hedley(1995-1997)
Simon Pearce (1999-2001)
Bob Wild (1997-1998)
Starring Neil Buchanan
Sophie Aldred
Richard Waites
Sarah Pickthall
Deborah McCallum
Claire Macaulay
Voices of Neil Buchanan
Sophie Aldred
Richard Waites
Theme music composer Ron Aspery
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English text only, aimed at the hearing impaired
No. of series 10
No. of episodes 131 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Dan Maddicott
Richard Morse
Janie Grace
Producer(s) Neil Buchanan
Tim Edmunds
Driana Jones
Laura Hayes (asst)
Editor(s) Jim Lownie
Chris Jackson
Simon Cruse
Running time 15 minutes
Original network ITV (CITV)
Original release 8 January 1993 – 21 September 2001

Zzzap (rendered ZZZap!) was a British children's television comedy programme. The concept of the show is a giant 18 ft comic that has been brought to life. The show was broadcast on ITV from 8 January 1993 until 21 September 2001[1] and was produced for ten series by The Media Merchants and Meridian Broadcasting.


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,[2] 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.[3]

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.


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


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.[4]

The Smart Arty elements and The Handymen were repeated in the USA as part of It's Itsy Bitsy Time on Fox Family, as Art Arty and The Handymen respectively, from 1999 until 2001.



Cuthbert Lilly
Richard Waites
Smart Arty
Neil Buchanan
The Handymen
Sarah Pickthall
Tricky Dicky
Richard Waites
Daisy Dares
Deborah McCallum
Claire Macaulay
Minnie The Mini Magician
Sophie Aldred


Barry Lee-Thomas
Mr. Snooty
All Series
Anita Reynolds
Old Lady
All Series

Media releases


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. Quite a few additional pieces came from the Bruton library CD "Loony Tunes" (BR28-BRF10). Additional tracks also came from the Music House Library CD "Comedy Situations" (MHE-31), such as Cuthbert Lilly's tracks "Toytown" and "Clowns", "Pony Trotting" from MHS-19 "Tiny Tots", "Vintage Hollywood" from MHE-3 "Candid Camera" and the track commonly used for the Dot-to-Dot/Eye Segments ("Pink Python" by Mo Foster).

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


External links

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