1 9 9 0 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Billy Webb (Scott Riley) is a young boy who likes to swap things and is able to negotiate amazing swaps on all types of crazy items with the residents of Splott Street and his schoolmates at Splott Junior and Infant School.
Billy’s swapping skills make him popular with his peers but drive his Mum (Susan Porrett) and Dad (Brian Hall) nuts.
He meets Alfonso Bonzo (Alex Jennings), a flamboyant Italian ‘exchange student’ who also has a talent for swapping things (thus his self-description: he is an Italian student who “exchanges” things).
Billy may be the best swapper in the Splott district, but Alfonso is the market leader of swapping . . .
Alfonso offers Billy a variety of temporary swaps to demonstrate his abilities – Billy’s boring old dog for a greyhound that does ballet; the wonky Webb family television for a new model with a button that lets the viewer become part of the action; Billy’s battered schoolbag full of unfinished homework for a brand new school bag containing a file folder that magically produces finished homework – but each swap has disadvantages as well as advantages, and Alfonso cuts an increasingly sinister figure as he leads up to one last swap, this one for keeps.
The whole story is told in flashback by Billy who is now laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. He’s in a bed next to journalist Trevor Trotman (Mike Walling), who also has a broken leg and is enthusiastically convinced that Alfonso Bonzo is proof of extra-terrestrial life.
The BBC1 series later produced a spinoff called Billy Webb’s Amazing Story, featuring Billy’s further (non-Alfonso-related) adventures.