List of ZZZap! characters


List of ZZZap! characters

This is a list of characters from the children's television programme, "Zzzap!". Aimed for hearing impaired children, the show broadcast on ITV1 and ITV2 (although it was later re-ran on CITV) between 8 January 1993 to 21 September 2001.

Cuthbert Lilly

Played by Richard Waites and aided with the catchphrase 'He's Dead Silly', Cuthbert is one of two characters (the other being The Handymen) to have appeared in every episode from Series 1 to Series 10.

Cuthbert's scenes follow the general trend of a slapstick comedy, where Cuthbert generally fails to perform some activity. The sketches often featured the recurring characters of "Mr Snooty", Cuthbert's antagonist, and the "Old Lady" who commonly attacks Cuthbert with an umbrella. His trademark characteristic is to put his thumbs up and a running gag throughout the show involving him showes Cuthbert reaching out and taking the comic book frame from the edges of the screen before throwing it away.

In Series 1, Cuthbert was introduced with the camera travelling to visit his respective square, which showed a picture of Cuthbert with his thumbs up in the setting that the sketch would take place in. In Series 2 to 9, the square featured a ripped cartoon which he burst through which was reversed to give the effect of him mending the picture and coming into the sketch.

Cuthbert was the most popular character in ZZZap! and he acquired his own spin-off show entitled "Cuthbert's Diary" in 1997, which aired on CITV. This consisted of both old and new sketches, all of which were narrated by Richard Waites.

mart Arty

Smart Arty was a caricatured French painter which featured in Series 1 to Series 7 and was played by Neil Buchanan. Smart's trademark was to blow the unseen audience kisses at the beginning and at the end of every segment.

Every sketch began with Smart painting the same picture of himself. In Series 1, the sketches featured Smart creating large pictures out of rather unusual objects. Neil Buchanan, who played the character, had previously done this on TV in his other show "Art Attack". In recognition of ZZZap!, one of the Art Attack 'Big Art Attacks' featured on the show was a giant picture of Smart Arty.

From Series 2 onwards, the sketches involved drawings created with a magic pen which brought his many drawings to life. This was performed in the style of Maurice Minor sketches in Kenny Everett's shows and the cartoon Penny Crayon. The sketches were accompanied by the music of Boccherini's "Menuet and Trio", from his "String Quartet in E", which was also used in the 1955 film "The Ladykillers".

The Handymen

The Handymen are two gloved hands; one yellow and one blue and were played by Sarah Pickthall. The Handymen are one of two segments of the show (the other being Cuthbert Lily) to have appeared in every episode from Series 1 to Series 10.

The Handymen sketches are performed in a theatre with an audience composed entirely of gloved hands. The Handymen appear on stage, either making an object or performing a magic trick. Whenever the Handymen used an object to perform something, there would be a cardboard sign attached to it, stating what the object was.The Handymen generally had the same music in most of their sketches, although in Series 8 to 10, the featured music varied each episode, although every now and then the original theme was played.

Tricky Dicky's Mission Impossible

Tricky Dicky was played by Richard Waites and was featured in Series 1. He was always seen wearing a black hat, a mask, and a grey coat and his trademark was a very high and slighly creepy giggle.

His sketches involved him writing a challenge on his typewriter, that would then have to be performed by a selection of children. The challenges initially sounded simple (for example, having to pour custard on a pudding), but they featured a twist that made it more difficult (i.e. the custard might be in a wheelbarrow and the pudding at the end of an obstacle course). Depending on whether the children failed or succeeded in completing the task, at the end of the sketch Tricky would hold up a sign reading - "Mission Impossible" or "Mission Possible" respectively.

Daisy Dares You

Daisy Dares was featured in Series Series 2 to 10, and was played by Deborah McCallum for Series 2 to 8 and Claire Macaulay for Series 9 and 10. Daisy was always seen wearing yellow and black checks, and was supposedly a young, cheeky schoolgirl in dungarees. She had ponytails at either side of her head.

Much like the Tricky Dicky sketches featured in the first series, Daisy would set difficult challenges for a small group of children which were selected from local schools. If the children succeeded in performing the challenge, Daisy would start to cry. From Series 8 onwards Daisy had to do the challenge herself if the kids succeded. On some occasions, Daisy would set the kids a task that would usually get them into a lot of trouble, but they would ultimately backfire on Daisy.

Minnie The Mini Magician

Minnie The Mini Magician was played by Sophie Aldred in Series 8 to 10 and was the replacement for Smart Arty. Minnie was a magician in training who wore an L-plate around her neck to show this.Her magic performances usually go wrong or backfire on her, and whenever they did, she would sigh her catchphrase of "Oh well!" before tapping her learner sign.


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