Children’s TV is no stranger to weird psychedelic visions but none have ever matched the trippy shizzle that legendary magician Paul Daniels (and wife Debbie McGee) came up with for his short lived but long remembered by all who watched it tv show Wizbit!
Shown back in 1985, Wizbit was a BBC children’s television show that ran for 27 episodes. Wizbit – an alien magician who lived in Puzzleopolis, a town inhabited by walking, talking sponge-balls, dice, magic wands, playing cards and rabbits, where the protagonists must solve puzzles. Wizbit’s year-and-a-day mission is to find out all about planet Earth.
The show was partly educational, with a range of puzzles including lateral thinking puzzles being set for Wizbit to solve. He often will need the audience to help and the solutions were revealed at the end of each episode.
Wizbit’s magic word was “Ostagazuzulum”, and he came from the planet WOW, an acronym for “World Of Wizards”.
Wizbit was played by Tony Friel (Return of the Jedi), his best friend was Wooly Rabbit, an 8-foot-tall white rabbit played by Norman Bowler (Frank Tate in Emmerdale). There was a purple swamp monster called Squidgy Bog (voiced by Paul’s son Martin Daniels).
Daniels even appeared as himself in the show as the Theatre owner of Puzzleopolis alongside his wife Debbie McGee. The Gatekeeper of Puzzleopolis – who refused to let anyone in until they had solved a riddle was played by Vicky Licorish (Saturday SuperStore).
The bad guy of the show was the evil Professor Doom played by Rob Inglis (The Stringybark Massacre) who had a cat named Jinx. At one point Doom created Wozbit, an evil version of Wizbit.
The show was created by Barry Murray, who had formerly been Mungo Jerry’s record producer, with assistance from Daniels. Its theme tune is based on a song by Lead Belly, named “Ha-Ha This A Way“, sung by Daniels. All rights to characters and designs were owned by Daniels, while all music rights are the property of Murray.