ZZZap! (rendered ZZZap!) is a British children's television comedy programme. The concept of the show was a giant comic that has been brought to life. The show was designed with deaf children in mind, so the series was mainly on visual mime and comedy.
The show ran from 8 January 1993 until 21 September 2001, and was produced by The Media Merchants and Meridian Broadcasting. A spin-off titled 'Cuthbert's Diary' was also produced.
The programme follows the same format throughout its run. An introduction is shown, followed by a series of short two or three minute long segments, followed by the credits. Each mini-programme is introduced by the camera zooming in on a corresponding panel on a giant comic. This giant comic has a set of nine frames on it, some of which contain a character representing their segments. The segments included:
- Cuthbert Lilly. The most popular of the ZZZap! characters, his segments had Cuthbert try and perform simple tasks, usually failing with disastrous results.
- Smarty Arty. A caricatured artist, he would create art out of everyday objects. He was also a friend of Cuthbert Lilly and would often appear in his skits.
- The Handymen. This segment starred two disembodied arms on a stage, the right arm wore a blue glove and the left wore a yellow glove. The blue arm and hand seemed more mature than the yellow. These hands would create objects or perform magic tricks, using signs to show every stage of the process. The Handymen performed in front of an audience of clapping hands.
- Tricky Dicky's Mission Impossible. A segment which only lasted for the first season. Tricky Dicky would set challenges for children, but always with a twist. He was a slightly menacing figure, with trenchcoat, black hat, a mask that obscured his face and a high pitched, slightly creepy giggle. He didn't last long as many test audiences believed he was too sinister for a lighthearted children's show.
- Daisy Dares You. A lighter and far more successful replacement for Tricky Dicky. Daisy became one of the most popular ZZZap! characters and certainly one of the most memorable. She always wore yellow and black clothes. Like Tricky Dicky she'd set ridiculous challenges for children and would throw temper tantrums if they won or laughed at them when they lost.
- Minnie the Mini Magician. A magician in training who attempted to perform a magic trick which usually, but not always, backfired on her. Minnie was the last ZZZap! character introduced in series 8 and replaced Smarty Arty. Many ZZZap! fans are critical of her for replacing the beloved and more memorable Smarty Arty.
The series today Edit
ZZZap! was cancelled in 2001, due to changing times in television and the move to CGI. However ZZZap! has attained a cult status and is fondly remembered for its characters.