Get Fresh

1986 - 1988 (Summer)

Gaz Top
Charlotte Hindle
Gilbert the Alien
(Phil Cornwell/John Ecclestone)
Michael Bassett
Gary Wilmot
Sue Carpenter
Gian Siammarco (1986?)

The biggest novelty about Get Fresh was that it was Swap Shop's "Outside Broadcast" segment writ large. In other words, no studio, just a massive mock-up of a spaceship ("The Millennium Dustbin") which would touch down each week in a car park or on a beach somewhere in Britain, thus giving all the ITV regions their fair crack of the whip / share of the expense. In the event, it only ever landed in the car parks and beaches of Tyne Tees (the show's creators), Border, Anglia, HTV, TSW and Ulster - ie. the companies which never made anything else, poor dears.

Gareth 'Gaz Top' Jones and Charlotte Hindle (daughter of Coronation Street's Madge 'Rene Roberts' Hindle) were likeable presenters, but the show's true star, and complete original, was Gilbert the Alien. Wittier than Basil Brush, more unpredictable than Emu, and snottier than a very snotty thing indeed, he was a puppet to put arse like Otis the Aardvark to shame. His relentless "stream-of-consciousness" babble was provided by impressionist Phil Cornwell, previously a regular on Steve Wright in the Afternoon, more recently star of Stella Street.

Michael Bassett was a dull but worthy young fellow who was drafted in to share the presenting duties when the extra Sunday edition was launched. The Sunday edition, made in the studios of Border TV (the hallowed site of Mr and Mrs), unfortunately lacked most of the things that made Get Fresh worth watching. Ex-TV Adrian Mole Gian Siammarco also co-presented in one series, while Wilmot and Carpenter helmed segments tailored to their own particular talents.

After Get Fresh Gilbert span off into his own programme, Tyne Tees' Gilbert's Fridge, also featuring Charlotte Hindle. To call it a sketch show is selling it a bit short, as it was more like Spike Milligan's Q than, say, Lift off with Coppers and Co. The theme tune was by the Pogues, and it is probably a contender for most genuinely strange children's programme ever.

Recommended Websites: Gilbert the Alien
The Wonderful World of Phil Cornwell