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Zzzap Series 1 Promotion.jpg
Genre Children's
Starring Richard Waites
Neil Buchanan
Sarah Pickthall
Deborah McCallum
Sophie Aldred
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
Editor(s) Jim Lownie
Chris Jackson
Simon Cruse
Running time 15 minutes
Original channel ITV (CITV)
Original run 8 January 1993 – 21 September 2001

Zzzap (rendered ZZZap!) was a British children's television comedy programme. The concept of the show was a giant 18ft comic that has been brought to life. The show ran from 8 January 1993 until 21 September 2001,[1] and was produced by The Media Merchants and Meridian Broadcasting. A spin-off titled 'Cuthbert's Diary' was also produced as part of "Gogglewatch", a CITV show produced by LWT.


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 season. 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 newsagent pictured in the introduction was a branch of NSS, which became Forbuoys, Martin and More before closing in 2007. The comic contains a 'Free TV Zapper!' which he uses only to find that the comic has increased to an enormous 18ft 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 from series 10 onwards 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 15 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 due to licensing issues, ZZZap! could not be broadcast then.[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.


Media Releases[edit]

The first VHS release of Zzzap
  • 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)


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".

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


  1. ^ http://www.tv.com/show/31198/summary.html. Retrieved on 28 November 2007.
  2. ^ http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/leisure/freetimefeatures/9398764.Art_Attack_star_in_St_Albans/
  3. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sganRcWAts
  4. ^ https://twitter.com/bowenmatt/

External links[edit]