Watch Robert Plant receive a foam pie to the face in 13 minutes of anarchic kids' TV with Cozy Powell

Robert Plant covered in "pie"
(Image credit: ATV)

It's October 17, 1981, and children all over the UK are settling down to watch Tiswas, the much-loved, ever-anarchic TV show that graced screens between 1974 and 1982. 

Joining host Sally James on the show are former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and serial drummer-for-hire Cozy Powell, who, unbeknownst to the wider world, have just started working at Rockfield Studios in Wales on what would be Plant's debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven (Powell would play on two songs, Slow Dancer and Like I've Never Been Gone).

Musicians are regular guests on Tiswas – other artists appearing in 1981 included Genesis, Status Quo, Iron Maiden, Toyah Willcox, Saxon, Japan, Gillan, Lemmy, Iron Maiden and Rick Wakeman – all of them willingly embracing the show's chaotic spirit and gleefully allowing themselves to be humiliated in ways that seem extraordinary today.

Plant and Powell are no exception. The former appears first, happily munching on a bowl of breakfast cereal before confirming the answer to a competition question, "What were Led Zeppelin called before they changed their name?". The pair then participate in a game of 'Pass The Pie', with Plant introduced as "a former farmer who used to punch cows", before we learn that Powell "recently crossed a Chinese chip shop with an artistic dog, and got oodles of noodles and a poodle that doodles." 

Hard Talk this is not, but both men are interviewed. Neither gives anything away, of course, with enquiries greeted with playful obfuscation and interrupted by the ever-mysterious Phantom Flan Finger, played by local taxi driver Benjamin 'Benny' Mills. 

"I think I used to get about £100 a week when I was flinging flans," Mills revealed in 2014. "Which was good money in those days for what I was doing. Any money I got for my Tiswas role used to go into my taxi account."

TV really isn't what it used to be. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.