wide awake

Wide Awake Club (TV-am)

Wide Awake Club (often abbreviated to WAC) was a highly successful children's television series broadcast in the United Kingdom on ITV's breakfast franchise TV-am between 1984 and 1989. It was presented by Timmy Mallett, Michaela Strachan, Tommy Boyd, James Baker and Arabella Warner - all newcomers to television, except Boyd who had previously presented Magpie.

Wide Awake Club was broadcast on Saturday mornings. It was devised by producer Nick Wilson to be TV-am's flagship children's programme, replacing Data Run. The live programme combined comedy, games, celebrity guests, competitions and viewer interaction. There were also more educational features, including visiting experts such as Carol Vorderman for the science slot, as well as attempts to explain historical and contemporary events like the Cold War. A spelling contest, 'Bonk and Boob' was praised by teachers for encouraging children to learn to spell properly. The show also launched the career of Mike Myers, now better known for his role as Austin Powers, who made monthly guest appearances on the show for a brief time, parodying the show's title in his segment, Sound Asleep Club, in which he sported pyjamas and a "bed-head" hairstyle. His roles included making earrings out of spoons, tape and string, as well as making a glass of water in a cookery section.

The programme was so successful that it launched two spin-offs: Wacaday, a programme for holiday mornings presented solely by Timmy Mallett that became even more successful than its parent, and WAC Extra, a Sunday morning version of the show.

Both Wide Awake Club and Wacaday introduced the Wacawave, done by making a 'w', by putting one's thumbs together, and waving.

Meanwhile, Wide Awake Club continued for many years with only minor changes to the format. However, in late 1989 it was relaunched as WAC '90, a longer programme broadcast from Granada's studios in Manchester (as opposed to TV-am's in London). The programme ran until mid 1990, when it was replaced by Hey, Hey, it's Saturday!. However, that was not the end of the Wide Awake Club franchise as Wacaday continued until 1992.

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