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TV: W is for...

Wide Awake Club, The

ANTISOCIALLY-TIMED SATURDAY morning child rambunctions and the first proper “hit” kids show to come out of Eggcup Towers. TOMMY BOYD, JAMES BAKER and ARABELLA WARNER were your initial hosts, latterly joined by the delightful MICHAELA STRACHAN and the hateful TIMMY MALLETT. Features included the News In 90 Seconds, recipes from viewers in WAC Snax, historical tales re-enacted with knowing amateurishness in Ghosts, Monsters and Legends, and Talent on the Telly giving airtime to attention-seeking adolescents. MIKE MYERS showed up towards the end to do the Sound Asleep Club. Weekday school holiday spin-off WACADAY was Mallett’s fiefdom, graced by such compulsively awful addictive shlock as Mallett’s Mallet and also Bonk’n’Boob, surely the only kids game show in history to boast not one but two suggestive words in the title. Whole franchise somehow got sunk during TV-am’s industrial strife of 1988, with a couple of subsequent “relaunches” under suspiciously contract-dodging names (WIDE AWAKE, WAC ’90) a poor epilogue.



  1. Paul Gatenby

    May 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Also featuring the Transformers cartoon, which guaranteed it the rapt attention of 9 year old boys throughout the country, even if it was often still dark when it was on.

  2. Applemask

    May 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I said it in my TV-am documentary and I will say it again: Timmy Mallett is great.

    • Joanne Gray

      March 1, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      He did a spot on TVAM on the week’s pop charts and seemed to have an aversion to Spanish pronunciation because he would always call Madonna’s hit song La Isla (pronounced “Issla” – and repeated several times in the song, ffs!) Bonita as “La Eyela (sic) Bonita – every sodding time! For weeks on end – really ” peyed” me off! Self-important tit of a man!

  3. David Pascoe

    May 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Timmy Mallet may not be to everyone’s taste, but he played the “We’re a bit mad round here!” card as if his life depended on it and did so without a trace of cynicism or fear that he would look stupid. A much under-appreciated kids TV host who gets flack because he dressed himself up in a textbook “awful 80s” way.

  4. Matthew Rudd

    May 14, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Some kid mistakenly wrote to Points Of View about the Wide Awake Club and the letter was used just so Barry Took could take the piss about the correspondent not knowing the difference between ITV and the BBC.

  5. televisualcabbage

    May 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Harsh, but fair on Mr Took’s part…

    But then again though, in the kid’s world TV-AM was presented by Frank Bough, up was down and left was purple…

    Though Barry was always a favourite, popping into Noel’s Swaparama from time to time. A kindly Uncle-type worthy of praise every time.

  6. Paul Bovey

    July 21, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Bizarrely, my most prominent memory of this is a Christmas edition with Tommy Boyd introducing the cartoon M.A.S.K. to the tune of ‘Deck The Halls’.

  7. Matty

    September 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Timmy Mallett was a lot of fun when you’re about eight but exactly the sort of childrens’ entertainer nobody wants to own-up to having liked when they’re about twelve (in contrast to, say, Dick & Dom or Trevor & Simon). I think that was probably because there was absolutely bugger all for students and other adults to enjoy “ironically” or which was working on different levels: he was just a silly kids’ programme presenter and he clearly loved doing it, although his clothes were f**king dreadful even by the standards of the time.

    W.A.C. itself I have fairly fond memories of, probably more so than other Saturday morning kids’ shows of the era. Didn’t it start at about seven in the morning or something, or is that just me misremembering?

  8. Richardpd

    June 18, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    It was worth watching for the cartoons & other inserted programming, which during the TV-AM strike were promoted to cover for the lack of live programming. They managed to get the cartoons of the competing franchises of Transformers & Gobots, among the older fare like Batman & Flipper.

    They music slot was my introduction to The Housemartins & Suzanne Vega, along with Bros singing I Owe You Nothing ages before it was a hit, because it flopped the first time it was released.

    WAC seemed to have a good relationship with the Hit Factory, with Sinitta appearing a few times & her So Macho being used as backing music on The Bed Making Competition anytime it was slightly fitting.

    Another highlight was calling up the Number 73 presenters towards the end of each show.

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