From “More Curiosities of British Children’s TV” by Ben Ricketts (available here on Amazon)

The days of having to cope with just two, three or four television channels are long, long gone. As a result of advances in cable TV, satellite television and the internet, our televisual landscape has changed beyond all recognition. Hundreds of different channels from all around the world are now available to be beamed directly into our front rooms.
It doesn‟t guarantee higher levels of quality, but at least the option is there to watch ancient episodes of Bullseye. However, this choice and availability stops at the edges of our planet‟s atmosphere. And, in the grand scheme of the infinite universe, this means we‟re missing out on a lot of alien television channels. Thankfully, to give us a taster, a special introductory offer is on its way thanks to Wysiwyg.
Intergalactic TV (IGTV) is the proud broadcaster of what it claims is the very best television from around the galaxy. And Earth, or Flurt‟s Globe as it‟s known to non-Earthlings, is about to receive some trial broadcasts of IGTV. The most prominent programme on offer in these trial broadcasts centres around Wysiwyg (Nick Wilton).
With his trusty ear plug in place, which contains all Earth knowledge, Wysiwyg presents a number of documentaries about life on Earth. These programmes are recorded by the hovering, orb known as Rovercam. And, when it comes to all technical matters, the simple and content Globule (Clive Mantle) is on hand to take care of these.
Wysiwyg‟s broadcasts, along with the rest of IGTV‟s trial, are not the result of consensual decisions from the people of Earth. Rather than politely slotting into an allocated channel, IGTV forces its schedule into the existing schedules. Earth based shows such as quiz show Joke Busters, Australian soap Round These Parts and cowboy movie Apache Bottom are all rudely interrupted by the IGTV signal.
And what exactly does IGTV have to offer? First and foremost it‟s Wysiwyg and his documentaries. These cover such diverse human affairs as shopping, fashion and teachers. The results are disastrous and ham-fisted affairs, but Wysiwyg refuses to accept defeat and stumbles proudly on to the end. In between Wysiwyg‟s clumsy reporting, IGTV provides a number of other programmes to excite the senses. These shows, and Wysiwyg‟s segments, are linked to by the digital, red face of Mer-dokk (Julie Dawn Cole), an emotionless in-vision continuity announcer.
Tantalizing glimpses of IGTV‟s programming include hilarious home video show Galactic Gloopers, history is tackled by How They are Then and situation comedy is taken care of by Are You Being Varped? In between the programmes there‟s plenty of time for advertising with products such as Bot Extench and Niffnibblers being hawked to viewers. Wysiwyg completes its content with an assortment of ridiculously inane dialogues between Shaz (Linda Hartley-Clarke) and Maz (Julie Dawn Cole)
Wysiwyg was produced by Yorkshire Television with Patrick Titley in the dual role as producer and director. Only five episodes were produced with these 25-minute bursts of comedy
airing on Mondays at 4.15pm. Yet the laughs, as Nick Wilton reveals, were not so prevalent behind the scenes of Wysiwyg:
“I was approached to come up with an idea for a series by the producer who I‟d worked with on episodes of The Book Tower and Microlive. It was meant for older kids up to 9-11 years old, but CITV put it out too early so it was never seen by its proper target audience. I then had a big argument on the rights (after it went out) which I (sort of) won. I ended up getting 50% of the rights, even though nearly all of it was my idea with some input from the producer. Unfortunately, it was a pyrrhic victory as my owning 50% meant it was never repeated!”
Wysiwyg is, for all intents and purposes, a sketch show. But, although the standard sketch show format is serviceable enough, Wysiwyg is a little cleverer. Rather than banging out sketch after sketch the show installs a framework based around IGTV. The result is an immediate identity and a universe with a set of rules and a clear theme.
At the forefront of this world is Wysiwyg, a character in the time honoured tradition of the fool. Wysiwyg is determined to be successful and professional, but he constantly makes a rod for his own back. His pompous, misplaced confidence provides an eternal thorn in his side. And that‟s what comedy is all about. He‟s well-meaning, of course, and coupled with Globule‟s obliviousness, Wysiwyg‟s segments have a gentle charm which never leave your heckles reaching skywards.
The comedy present within Wysiwyg is strong and when you take a look at the writing credits you can see why. Peter Baynham and Ben Miller, both in the early stages of their careers and pals of Wilton, are on hand to provide evidence of their burgeoning quality. Laura Beaumont, a regular contributor to children‟s television, also pops up in the credits to cement the quality. Along with Nick Wilton, who was involved in almost every aspect of the production, this writing team serve up a wide range of comedic styles.
The most prominent area of comedy explored is the parody. Australian soap Round These Parts makes light of the high drama built up around everyday life and Kidd‟s Klubb is Timmy Mallett turned up to 11. There are also some superb standalone sketches. One sketch finds a customer going in to a shop that sells nothing in particular and is packed to the brim with nothing. Another sketch focuses on a man who has leapt onto a train head to Edinburgh at Doncaster (even though the train didn‟t stop there) and wants to go to Brighton.
Quite why Wysiwyg remains shrouded in obscurity is a puzzling circumstance. The performances throughout the show are of a high calibre, the scripts bubble along with a comedic effervescence and they contain a wonderful stream of surreal flourishes. Best of all, there‟s a glorious cameo from Bob Holness in full Blockbusters mode. There‟s more than enough on offer to warrant a second series (or, at the least, a sixth episode). Sadly this never materialised. In spite of that, Wysiwyg remains an obscurity that holds its own in the arena of children‟s television.