100% (Channel 5, 1997-2001)
Here’s a review of a cheap and cheerful game show that I remember watching on Channel 5.
100% was an afternoon general knowledge show that was hosted by Robin Houston of Thames News fame and shown five days a week, although you never saw him, he simply read the questions out of vision. Three contestants took part. Robin began the show by announcing that he would ask them 100 general knowledge questions, and then that was precisely what happened.
The contestants would be given a question with three options, and then they had three seconds to press a button corresponding to what they thought the answer was. There were also occasionally true or false questions. The contestants had no time to speak and didn’t even know how well they were doing, they just stood there pressing their buttons, with only an occasional reference to whether the lead has changed or not, until at the end when the winner was announced.
Whoever had got the most questions right and scored closest to 100% won £100 and was invited to take part in the next show. At this point the contestant would usually enthusiastically say “yes, I will”, although I do remember some woman saying “sorry, I can’t”. They simply stayed on until they were beaten.
100% is memorable for a remarkable incident that happened on the show. One day Ian Lygo from Hemel Hempstead appeared as a contestant and won his first game. He then won again, and again. He went on to win 75 consecutive shows (or the equivalent of 15 weeks’ worth of episodes) which is believed to be the longest winning streak in game show history. He also got the highest ever score on a regular show with 87%. I bet even Bill McKaig was impressed by him.
Such was his dominance that the production team had to change the rules of the show and Ian was asked to retire as an undefeated champion. This caused a minor stir because Ian would have preferred to win 100 shows in a row or indeed even have stayed there indefinitely. It really was a remarkable achievement, and why he didn’t become an Egghead, a Chaser or the quiz champion of the universe is something of a mystery, he’s definitely another unsung TV hero.
100% had almost infinite ability for expansion and there were several themed specials including contestants answering questions on subjects such as rock group Queen or the 1980s, plus the lunchtime spin-off for older viewers 100% Gold, but despite steady ratings the show finally ran out of steam at the end of 2001.
100% was always an enjoyable show to watch in the afternoon with its endless variety of questions and it was hosted very well, believe it or not it is a good example of Channel 5 putting together an entertaining show on a low budget.