Data Run (TV-am, 1983-1984)
If you are a regular visitor you should know that I have been fond of a lot of the children’s programming that was shown by TV-am in the 80s and 90s, I definitely found some of what they had to offer as enjoyable as CBBC and CITV’s shows. This is a show that I don’t remember from the time though, but having a look on YouTube at some clips made me feel that it is worth featuring here.
The original format of TV-am with its “mission to explain” for breakfast viewers disintegrated about six seconds after it came on air in February 1983. After that there had to be a huge rethink as ratings plummeted compared to what the BBC was offering. One of the earliest shows for younger viewers on TV-am was Data Run, which was shown on Saturdays from 8:40-9:25am. How would it compare to my favourites including Top Banana and TV Mayhem?
Data Run began with an eye-hurting opening sequence, accompanied by the theme music from pop group Yazoo (featuring Vince Clarke who also made the mid-90s Top Of The Pops theme). The host was Edwina Lawrie (the sister of chart-topping singer Lulu) who logged in at the start of the show and had a rather thick Scottish accent. Her co-host was Edwin The Computer, who had a suitable robot-style voice and the usual beeping noises.
Features on the show included Dance Data, Disc Data (with the Top Ten hit singles), File Of The Fantastic, competitions for prizes, and there would be the occasional cartoon shown too. Data Run also featured lots of interviews with pop stars who had to get out of bed too early to appear, and as it was shown during the early-80s era when British pop music was considered to be at its creative peak, Edwina had the honour of meeting lots of still fondly-remembered acts including Depeche Mode, Kajagoogoo, Spandau Ballet, The Thompson Twins, and so on. They would also be asked questions by viewers.
There was also a spin-off called Summer Run, which was just about the same format, and it was hosted by Timmy Mallett. Now this surprised me a little as I thought that he didn’t join TV-am until a couple of years later when Wacaday launched, but it seems that he was one of the few people that was a presenter for just about the whole of their few months short of a decade on air.
Data Run came to an end though in 1984 when it was cancelled and replaced by the much longer-running The Wide Awake Club with Tommy Boyd and co. Having looked at some of the show online I’m sure I would’ve watched it if I was old enough, and I also enjoyed the endless toy adverts shown during the breaks. It doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry though. Edwin The Computer’s whereabouts are currently unknown.