SMTV: Live – A Saturday Morning Marvel Remembered

SMTV: Live – A Saturday Morning Marvel Remembered


After a remarkable four-decade journey on the airwaves, CITV, the beloved British children’s television brand, is set to close its doors on September 1, 2023.

Originally launched as an afternoon segment on ITV in 1983, CITV eventually gained its own channel in 2006. Throughout its history, CITV introduced numerous iconic shows that became household favorites, propelling the careers of renowned stars like Holly Willoughby, Ant and Dec, and Stephen Mulhern.

The decision to close CITV comes as ITV consolidates its children’s programming onto its streaming platform, ITVX, under the name ITVX Kids, which debuted in July.

SMTV: Live – A Saturday Morning Classic

In 1998, ITV made a significant mark on Saturday morning programming with the launch of “SMTV: Live.”

Hosted by the dynamic trio of Ant and Dec along with Cat Deeley, the show featured a range of sketches and segments, including memorable creations like “Eat My Goal” and “Wonky Donkey.”


An iconic moment came during the Friends-themed skit “Chums,” where Dec’s mock wedding with Cat was witnessed by an audience of celebrities.

The show continued its success even after the original hosts departed in 2001, eventually ending in 2003.

Notably, the hosts’ reunion in 2021 for a special “Chums” sketch celebrated SMTV’s anniversary.

Art Attack – Unleashing Creativity on Screen

“Art Attack,” hosted by the talented Neil Buchanan, captivated audiences from 1990 to 2007.

This long-running show demonstrated various art techniques step by step, often culminating in a grand “Big Art Attack” created on a life-size scale.


Neil’s artistry even led to a conspiracy theory suggesting he might be the elusive artist Banksy.

After its initial run, “Art Attack” experienced a revival by Disney Junior from 2011 to 2015, showcasing the enduring appeal of creative expression.

My Parents Are Aliens – Unveiling Extraterrestrial Secrets

Premiering in 1999, “My Parents Are Aliens” centered on the lives of orphans Mel, Josh, and Lucy Barker, taken in by foster parents Brian and Sophie Johnson.

The twist? Brian and Sophie are actually aliens who crashed on Earth.

The show’s eight-series run, ending in 2006, featured a mix of humor and science fiction, with notable cast members like Tony Gardner and Carla Mendonça.


The recent reunion of the cast after 17 years highlighted the lasting impact of the series.

Ministry of Mayhem – Chaotic Saturday Morning Fun

Following the success of SMTV, “Ministry of Mayhem” stepped up to fill the Saturday morning entertainment void.

Known for its wild games and guest gunging, the show introduced viewers to budding TV stars Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern.

The show’s evolution, including a rebrand as “Holly & Stephen’s Saturday Showdown,” spanned from 2003 to 2006, leaving a legacy of entertaining chaos.

Jungle Run – Adventurous Quests for Treasure

“Jungle Run,” hosted by Dominic Wood, Chris Jarvis, and later Michael Underwood, embarked on jungle adventures for seven thrilling years.


The show’s format, resembling “The Crystal Maze,” involved children tackling challenges to earn time in the Temple of the Jungle King.

The host’s recent reflection on the show’s closure reminded fans of the enduring impact of “Jungle Run.”

Sooty – A Timeless Puppet’s Adventures

“Sooty,” the legendary puppet, made its way to ITV after initial appearances on the BBC in 1985.

Over the years, the yellow puppet starred in various series, including “Sooty Heights” and “Sooty & Co.”

Richard Cadell’s stewardship of the brand since 2007 has ensured its continued success, including new stage shows and television programs, with a potential move to American television on the horizon.


Tots TV – Puppets’ Adventures in a Hidden House

“Tots TV,” a beloved puppet show, showcased the adventures of Tilly, Tom, and Tiny in a secret house’s stable.

The French-speaking Tilly and her English-speaking companions enchanted audiences from 1993 to 1998.

The show’s legacy extended to the US with a switch to Spanish for Tilly, further showcasing its international appeal.

HOW – Educational Entertainment for Young Minds

Born as an explanation for adult arguments, the “HOW” series transitioned to cater to younger audiences, exploring science, history, mathematics, and puzzles.

The show’s rich history encompassed different iterations, starting in 1966 and spanning to its 2020 revival, providing generations of children with engaging and informative content.


Bernard’s Watch – Time-Stopping Adventures

“Bernard’s Watch” added a touch of magic to children’s programming.

The show followed a schoolboy who could stop time using a magic timepiece.

Airing from 1997 to 2005, “Bernard’s Watch” navigated through everyday challenges and dilemmas with a creative twist, captivating young audiences with its imaginative premise.

As CITV bids farewell, these iconic shows will forever hold a special place in the hearts of viewers, a testament to the enduring power of children’s television.

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