The Wide Awake Club began one Saturday morning in October 1984. It was TV-am's replacement for Data Run and was set to become the station's main children's programme, to aid them in their quest for more viewers. The original presenters were all new faces to television. There was Arabella Warner a former TV-am researcher, James Baker graduating from the TV-am postroom and Timmy Mallett from Picadilly Radio. The programme contained a mix of entertainment and factual features. There was the cookery item Wac Snax which usually ended in disaster!, sketches (who remembers Fables, Parables and Miracles?), behind the scenes reports, cartoons like The Go-Botts, animal expert Jimmy McKee and his unusual pets, medical man Dr Pete and The Way of the World a feature item about a topical news story. Other items included celeberity interviews during which they would have to answer the Questions on the Cards and pop videos.
After successfully launching the show, Timmy left to continue his hugely successful nightly radio show in Manchester. Arabella and James' new co-presenter was no stranger to Saturday mornings. Fresh from The Saturday Starship, and previously from Magpie, came Tommy Boyd.
The new team presented together until 1985 when they were joined by a new, or rather old presenter! Yes, Timmy Mallett returned, primarily presenting Wacaday, but popping up on WAC when he could!
To start with, there was no mallet! Mallett's Mallet was not invented until 1986 so one of the things that occupied Timmy's time was the exploring feature Timmy Town.
For around six months between 1986 and 1987, two unknowns by the names Mike Myers, a lively American - later to become a massive movie star in films like Wayne's World and Austin Powers, and Neil Mullarkey. Together Myers and Mullarkey performed The Sound Asleep Club a monthly feature on the programme.
Over the next few years, WAC's success soared, although it was not adverse to bad luck! During TV-am's industrial dispuit in 1987, WAC researcher George became a presenter!
In 1988 all was calm again and Arabella, Tommy, James and Timmy were joined by a new presenter - and this time, presenting was what she was really there for! Although a newcomer to television, soon settled in. She was the all singing, all dancing Michaela Strachan! Michaela became immediate successes on the show and later even got her own spin-off show!
Features during this time included Bopping in the Bathroom, Club Call, WAC Snax, Bonk and Boob, Timmy's Travels, Fables, Parables and Miracles, Ghosts, Monsters and Legends and Heroes and Heroins, Villains and Villainesses.
WAC proved such a success that it was given a Sunday morning slot too - called WAC Extra. The content was much the same, although the programme was only half an hour long. At first Arabella, Tommy and James presented, but soon Timmy took over alongside Michaela - WAC Extra being her first stop at WAC.
Features on WAC Extra in the early days included interviews, letters, comedy sketches, the game - WAC STAX and WAC Letter-Linkers (a pen pal slot) whilst later features included Silly Senses and Singing in the Shower.
By the end of 1988, Arabella and James had left the show leaving the main presenting team as Timmy, Tommy and Michaela. Timmy would not always be present, of course, as he would often be filming for Wacaday!
Another new face was added in late 1988 This time mathematics genius Carol Vordeman joined the team, however not to do maths, but to host a regular science spot Carol's Lab.
In 1989, the Wide Awake Club got a brand new look. A new logo, a simpler, more modern set and some new features. Each programme would start with the presenter's sliding down a tube shaped slide in the studio. Although to viewers it looked really long, it was only really about three feet in length!
WAC ran on in much the same format until the Autumn of 1989 when it was decided upon to give it a change of format. The length of the show changed, as did most of the features, some of the presenters and a bit of the name when it became WAC '90...
WAC 90 was presented by Tommy and Michaela from Granada Studios in Manchester. The programme was much bigger than The Wide Awake Club and, in that sense, lost the charm of the small studio and the reasonably low budget features. The show ran until, predictably, the end of 1990 when it was replaced by a programme presented solely by Michaela - Hey Hey It's Saturday which ran until the demise of TV-am in 1992.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this