1 9 8 2 – 1 9 8 7 (UK)
142 x episodes
Saturday Superstore, presented by ‘General Manager’ Mike Read, had many of the same ingredients as Swap Shop which it succeeded on 2 October 1982, although there was initially an attempt to give it a vague story-line: the presenters had roles connected with the store and appeared in certain departments.
There was a period when David Icke ran the Sports Department, and former Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene appeared as a fashion-conscious blonde Saturday Girl in Customer Services.
Swap Shop retainer Keith Chegwin went on location with his ‘Delivery Van’ roadshow or answered viewers’ letters in ‘the warehouse’. Fellow Swap Shop stalwart John Craven was also retained though his role would lessen in later years.
Competition prizes were described as ‘bargains’, with winning postcards plucked from shopping baskets or trolleys.
This contrived framing device faded over time and the department store idea was more or less dropped after the first series.
But SuperStore lacked Swap Shop‘s swapping and much of its interactivity. This left a curious vacuum, increasingly filled with celebrity guests and pop videos.
The pop promo was all-powerful by the mid-1980s and SuperStore guests reviewed the videos, as well as the songs they promoted, in their Pop Panel. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave her opinions on Pepsi and Shirlie in one edition.
SuperStore‘s final season also welcomed political leaders Neil Kinnock and David Steel as well as Prince Edward.
Another semi-regular in the final run was fresh-faced Phillip Schofield with his ‘TV Talkback’ section for viewers’ television opinions. The final year saw Vicky Licorice joining the team. Her main job seemed to be sitting in the Coffee Shop, fluffing her lines.
Soon after SuperStore‘s ‘closing down sale’ in April 1987, Schofield and Sarah Greene returned with Going Live!