Home Television Comedy OTT


1 9 8 2 (UK)
12 x 60 minute episodes

Chris Tarrant quit Tiswas in 1981 – taking Bob Carolgees, Lenny Henry and John Gorman with him – to concentrate on a live, late-night, adult version of the show, called OTT. It was the first new series made by Central (the company which replaced ATV in the Midlands from 1 January 1982).

Broadcast at 11:00 pm on Saturday nights, OTT was definitely not for children. Unfortunately, the studio slapstick was grimly crude and, while custard-covered nubile young ladies may have provided a rise in testosterone levels, it was so blatantly sexist that the show was axed after only 12 episodes.

Chris Tarrant, Alexei Sayle, Lenny Henry and Helen Atkinson-Wood all emerged from the critical wreckage of OTT – which stood unsurprisingly for “Over The Top”– amazingly unscathed.

American actress Colette Hiller was not so fortunate. Although contracted to do seven of the OTT shows, she was axed after the first edition on 2 January 1982 by Tarrant (who was also the show’s producer) as he felt she did not fit in with the rest of the presenters.

Chris Tarrant
Alexei Sayle
Lenny Henry
Helen Atkinson-Wood