Wacaday History

How did Wacaday begin?

Wacaday started in October 1985. It began by mistake – Roland Rat left to join the BBC and we had one week to put together a replacement show.

This is why the title music tells you nothing about the show – because we didn't know what would be in it, as you can see from the lyrics below:

“Its Wacaday, no school today, here's what you got to do, forget the post, put down the toast, we're waiting here for you….."

In the summer of 86, Mallett's Mallet began as did 'Timmy Learns to Ride', and 'Timmy Learns to Dive' etc.

Arguably the most popular feature, and one that run throughout nearly the entire run of Wacaday, was Timmy's game Mallett's Mallet. Two contestants would sit opposite each other on those pink and yellow stools linking each word they said to the last one, however these “rallies", started by Timmy, would often begin with some very unusual words to make the competition more interesting.

If a contestant failed to link their next word to the last one then they would get hit on the head with Timmy's trademark – the huge pink and yellow foam mallet. The person with the most “bruises" lost, receiving a Wacky Plaster which was stuck on to any part of their face for them wave at the viewers at home, while the winner won something that ranged over the years from a Wham LP to a Super Nintendo! And the props department at TVam were asked to make one. It weighed a ton! “Can we have it a lot lighter please?"

It was invented in the summer of 1986 during a lunchtime meeting about the show…

“Let's have a game.
What about a word association game?
You know Orange – banana – fruit – er…

Yeah, we bonk them on the head when they go wrong.
What about using a mallet?
Mallett's Mallet!"

And the wardrobe department made a special black TOP SECRET bag to carry it in. It still travels in this bag today.

Everyone wanted to be bashed on the head “I want to know what it feels like!" Timmy has no idea of the exact number of heads but it's around a million. And that's nearly a SQUILLION!

Have you been Malletted? What did it feel like? Tell us more via email.

The rules

Each day's round of Mallett's Mallet was started by Timmy reciting a long list of the rules very quickly! But what exactly were his words? We asked him to reveal all.

“Mallett's Mallet is a word association game, where you musn't pause, hesitate, repeat a word, or say a word I don't like… otherwise you get a bash on the head like this…or like this…the one with the most bruises loses…. look at each other and go Bleugh! Look at everyone at home and go Bleugh! Everyone at home look at them and go Bleugh!"

What does “Bleugh!" mean?

“We have no idea. But it sounds good doesn't it?! And who can forget that sound effect when the mallet hit the contestant's heads? Eek Eek Bonk, Ding!!!"

Where did the phrase “Look at each other and go Bleugh" come from?

“It started on the first show by mistake. Timmy introduced the contestants to each other and instead of “look at each other and say hello!" He said Bleugh!"

Timmy's Travels

How it all began

Wacaday ran during each school holiday – Summer, Easter, Christmas and Half-Term weeks. 65 programme were made each year shown over 13 weeks.

From 1987 each series of Wacaday became themed as reports were shown each day of Timmy visiting a particular country.

The first trip was Mallett in Majorca while later locations included Egypt – who remembers WAC like an Egyptian?

France, Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia – under the title WAC Asia), Jordan, Germany (or Blermany as Timmy called it) and Gibralta. Towards the end of Wacaday's run the set would also become themed to the country.

One of the best bits of Timmy's Travels were all the wonderful stories Timmy told. They are all true stories Wideawakers. How do we know? We made them up ourselves!

Summer 1987: Mallett in Majorca

This was Timmy's first Wacaday excursion abroad and featured in an issue of Look in.

Favourite bits in this series were Timmy pouring a bucket of ice into the sea to cool it down!, bargaining UP the price in the market and paying with a big bag of Spanish Potatas! (pesetas!!)

Timmy above wearing the same t-shirt, some time later!

Timmy's first on screen painting was done on this trip. The picture of a beautiful Majorcan valley was given as a present to the producer's 9 year old boy Robin.

Summer 1988: The Grand Tour

In the 18th century young men made grand tours of Europe to finish their education and see the sights. Timmy decided to do exactly the same – but different! In the summer of 1988 Timmy started out in Inverness, talking to Wackety Yaks, looking for and finding the Wacness Monster; and dancing very complicated Highland (fishing) reels!

Then he went to Holland and had some wacky Dutch clogs made, found the smallest house in Amsterdam; and put his finger in the dyke which of course saved Holland from flooding. In Blermany Timmy met Mad King Ludwig at the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle and knocked some sense into him with the Mallet!

Timmy made several Wacaday trips to Australia. Once he was found at Bondi beach surfing on an ironing board! The board had been borrowed from the hotel and there was a bit of explaining to be done because it came back utterly wrecked!

In Switzerland Timmy wanted to make a Magic Cuckoo clock and find out what happened to all the holes in the Swiss cheese. And in Italy he did one of his daftest stunts. He dived into the Grand Canal in Venice!!!!!

After eating the pizza, Timmy famously climbed the leaning Tower of Pisa and unfortunately knocked it down while trying to straighten it with the Mallet! It remained closed for many many years.

Who was Wacadile Timmy?

“He was Crocodile Dundee's wacky mate who famously coined the phrase: “Call that a Mallet? That's not a mallet. THIS is a Mallet!""

Who was Spaghetti Malletti?

“One of Timmy's favourite tricks was to meet his cousins in whatever country he happened to be in. Spaghetti Malletti like all Timmy's cousins looked exactly the same as Timmy and he taught Timmy how to make the leaning tower of PIZZA."

Wasn't Timmy a Roman Soldier once?

“Oh yes! When in Rome do as the Romans do. Like – have a guided tour by a Roman Soldier who looks like Timmy! Everyone knows that all roads lead to Rome and it's good luck to chuck rice for some reason.

Hence we had Timmy in a centurion's uniform trying to find a Roman road he could cross and then when he did, he ran around the Coliseum chucking rice and shouting Latin phrases like Amo Amas Amat, Waca this and Waca that! It made sense at the time…"

Summer 1989: Wac Asia and the Ninja Whinger

One of Timmy's favourite summer tours was in 1989 when he filmed the tour of WacAsia: Cancer to Capricorn. Taking in countries like Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.

It was in Hong Kong that Timmy met a fearsome foe (who looked very much like Timmy) called the Ninger Whinger. He spent a lot of time Ninging and Whinging. We don't really know why but it looked dead funny!

Tell us about Timmy and Bubbles the chimp.

“Bubbles the chimp was Michael Jackson's best friend and he lived next door to Timmy's brother in law, Steve, in California. (that's Bubbles not Jacko). So we had a great Wacaday adventure teaching Bubbles to wacawave!

Afterwards we met some of the stars of Indiana Jones – the spiders and snakes in the Temple of Doom. Bob the trainer of Bubbles bred weird beasties for the movie industry. Unfortunately it's not easy to get the autograph of a tarantula!"

In Thailand, Timmy upset the Royal Family by wearing shorts and huge numbers of ties around his neck! Timmy suddenly became the King of Siam (Yes I am, Yes I am) Etcetera, Etcetera. Watch Yul Brynor in the King and I and you'll know what he was on about.

Did Timmy ever go into Space?

“Of course! But there wasn't much atmosphere!!! When Wacaday went to Disneyworld Florida, there was a great story at Cape Canaveral where we saw the Space Shuttle, Skylab and the Apollo Lunar landing module.

Timmy tried to moonwalk! Incidentally, one of Timmy's greatest moments was shaking the hand of Commander David Scott the last of only 12 men to walk on the Moon."

Is it true Timmy fought a Zulu army in South Africa?

“Yes, it was at the battle of Rorke's Drift near Isandlwana where in 1879 the British Army won 11 Victoria crosses in a single day.

To recreate the battle as if really happened Timmy had a Wacaday flag, a mallet to bash his way out of the hospital (this was after he used a real sledgehammer to make some holes in the wall because the custodian on the day said he could!) Single handedly he faced a mighty regiment of Zulu warriors from the resort we stayed at. At the crucial moment Timmy and the Zulus started going Bleugh at each other and we all lived happily ever after!"

Our favourite Timmy adventure in Malaysia involved Mr T making a cuppa in a tea plantation; and on another occasion finding Michael Jackson in a rubber plantation!

What was WAC like an Egyptian?

“A top dance from 1991. This was the summer of the WacAfrica tour in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. At the pyramids Timmy was seen admiring the Sphinx (with a face and glasses rather like Timmy!) and bashing a camel to make it gallop round the pyramids at Gisa.

There was a royal ruler called Queen Hatchet soup who boiled hatchets into soup, and of course the boy King Toot and come in. Having Waced like an Egyptian all the way down the Nile, the team went to Kenya. Here our little hero went on the trail of Rory the Lion. He was a permanent fixture in the studio was Rory."

What happened to the water in the plug hole on the Equator?

“One of the strangest natural effects in the world only happens on the Equator and Timmy has had so many people come up and tell him how this was one of their favourite episodes.

Walk ten paces south of the equator and the water goes down the plughole anti clockwise; ten paces north and the water goes down clockwise. On the actual equator itself it goes straight down. So Timmy proved it for the cameras. He was absolutely gob smacked to see it happen. And even more so when it was proved that vines curl in the same manner either side of the Earth's central line."

Photos from various filming trips

Take a look at some of the photos collected over the years from the various filming trips. Click on each one to make the picture bigger…

[foogallery id="2768"]

Wac-a-Facts

Each edition of Wacaday would always end with a phone in game, but what were they?

In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean Bleugh!

A great quiz where we splatted your teacher or best friend into the bowl of jelly.

Wacsaw puzzle

Answer a question to get a piece of puzzle and work who the pop star is!

How much does a Grecian Urn?

Build the pillars of the Greek temple (one for every question correctly answered , then our little Grecian Urn can fall off the top into the Greek Yoghurt!

The Horrible Haggis

A complicated lever controlled haggis in a kilt that ran across the top of a Scottish castle and kicked the little man into porridge!

Shark Infested Custard

Answer the question correctly and make the 5 part mallet up. Then pull the lever and the mallet clonks the lever which flicks the boot which kicks the ball which runs around the rails and drops onto the seesaw and flips Michael Wacson into the bowl of shark infested custard. This prop is still in Timmy's collection.

Mallett's Malletine

Every question right moved the mallet up another notch then you could let it go into the bowl of jelly and splat!
It's a massive heavy prop and for many years was stored in Carol Vorderman's shed!

How much does a Grecian Urn?

Build the pillars of the Greek temple (one for every question correctly answered, then our little Grecian Urn can fall off the top into the Greek Yoghurt!)

Blackie the donkey (eeyore, eeyore ee always calls me that!)

What colour would you like your Blackie to be?! This was a fun donkey racing game. Get the question right and your Blackie would run forward another space towards the winning line!

Manic Minute

Just like hangman, but completely different. Guess the popstar before the minute is up! There was also the Movie Minute…you can probably guess what happened in that!

Norway ski slope

A wonderful ski slope where your little man climbed up the stairs with each right answer and finally skied at top speed down the hill and into the bowl of shark infested ice cream! This lovely little prop has been a favourite sandpit toy for little Billy Mallett!

Fascinating Wac-a-Facts

Does anyone remember when Kylie popped into the Wacaday studio to be a guest?

It was when she first came over to England in 1988. And will Kylie ever appear with Timmy again on the telly? She should be so lucky!

In 1990 a new character was introduced.

This minature version of Timmy's pink and yellow mallet that wore clothes, had a face and talked, was originally un-named. Viewers were invited in to suggest names and Pinky Punky was eventually chosen. We asked Timmy to take up the story.

“A little girl wrote in with suggestions from all her family. I liked the name Pinky Punky so much I chose it. Unfortunately, we lost her letter so I have no idea what her name was. Shame because I'd like to thank her. It was half way through the summer of 1990 that he got his famous catchphrase: “Mr Mallett, Mr Mallett, can I go to the toilet?" Are you that girl? If so, GET IN TOUCH!!! Replica Pinky Punky's were made for viewers to buy – and are still available. Get them from the Timmy Shop now!

Who made the first Mallet?

The very first one was made by TVam props department, but as it was too heavy to use on air it was replaced by a much lighter and more user friendly mallet. Tony Stringfellow in the West Midlands is a specialist props make and he services and repairs Mallett's Mallet for Timmy. In essence it's the same Mallet that appeared on Wacaday.

On the penultimate edition of Wacaday, ever, a contestant on Mallett's Mallet brought Timmy a present!

The present was Hanky Panky – Pinky Punky's sister which she had made herself! Timmy was so impressed that he had Hanky Panky made into a toy and was available to buy. She most recently appeared on on Timmy Towers – Timmy's CITV show. As with Pinky Punky's constant want for the toilet, Hanky Panky always needs to sneeze!

How many Mallets have there been?

Not many! They have to be refurbished after a while. It's a bit like servicing your mallet after so many thousand heads. New covers, new linings and new insides. It's a very specialised thing making a mallet. It has to have the cover taken off for washing and checked regularly.

Sadly, with the demise of TV-am in 1992 came the end of Wacaday.

Timmy is still very much in the business, though. He runs his own production company Brilliant TV which makes his own show Timmy Towers which was shown recently on CITV. Since Wacaday finished Timmy has also presented many other programmes including Utterly Brilliant, Questions, Way to Go and Around the World in 80 Seconds.

One of the most loved features of Wacaday that lasted the whole history of the show was Magic.

Magic was Timmy's pet cocketial, and every series he would feature, but not just in the background, actually taking part – sometimes even seen through the technological wonders of the Magicam (a camera placed inside his cage) and even in a specially drawn cartoon – for example WAC to the future which was drawn for Christmas 1989. I'm hungry! Send me something to eat – birdseed, your brother, or one of these tasty cockatieemails!

Who chose the Mallet's colours?

Mallett's Mallet has a yellow stem and top bit with a pink head. The colours are Wacaday's colours.