There are two theories for the Autumn Specials:
1. They were initially meant to not feature Cuthbert Lilly. The specials were meant to only feature Smart Arty, The Handymen and Daisy Dare.
2. The slot chosen for the Autumn Specials was intially for Cuthbert’s Diary Series 1.
The Autumn Specials (also confusingly known by some as the ‘Summer Specials’), the 1997 Christmas Special and Series 6 were recorded as part of the same filming block. This technique of block recording several shows was previously used for Series 5 and the 1996 Christmas Specials.
This was also the first time Zzzap! would be filmed in Summer as opposed to Autumn.
The Autumn Specials were the same length as the Summer Specials – 8 minutes each as opposed to the regular series length of 15 minutes.
As the Autumn Specials and Series 6 were filmed in a consecutive block, two directors joined the programme to lighten the load: Ian Bolt and Bob Wild. Adrian Hedley left Zzzap! after the Summer Specials to be the producer and director of Meridian’s other long-standing children’s programme Wizadora. Under Hedley, the role of Wizadora would be recast and portrayed by Lizzie McPhee. Hedley’s predecessor Alistair Clark previously directed Series 1 of Zzzap!
The Autumn Specials also signalled the promotion of Driana Jones from associate producer to main producer, with Neil Buchanan and Tim Edmunds taking a back seat but still being credited as Series Producers. However Buchanan, Edmunds and Peter Urie continued to have active roles with the show in different capacities until Series 7 (1998).
Buchanan still regularly voiced characters on the show until Series 9 (2000), although some of his pre-recorded Daisy ranting voiceover was used occasionally in Series 10 (2001).
Driana Jones’s tenure as Producer later saw some of the most radical changes to Zzzap’s format – for more information about the notable changes, see Series 8 (1999).
Including Tim Edmunds, the total number of directors working on the show was three between 1997 – 1998.
The instrumental cover song used in the Cuthbert Hiking sketch ‘He’d Have To Get Under (Get Out and Under)’ was first published in 1913 and became a very popular musical number during the 1910s. The lyrics of the song described the lament of Johnny, a man who bought a motorcar (a very modern invention in 1913!) but unfortunately the car keeps needing repairing during a romantic journey with his sweetheart, much to comical misadventure. Sounds like something straight from Zzzap!
‘He’d Have To Get Under’ was later used in the Rugby sketch for Series 6 and the Detective sketch for Series 8.
Zzzap! would continue to use existing music-hall instrumentals during Series 8, 9 and 10: mainly for the Handymen sketches.