Finders Keepers (CITV, 1991-1996)
Finders Keepers was the ultimate chance to people to raid the rooms of a big house to win prizes and no-one minded if you made a mess. Two teams of two took part. In the first game they had to answer silly questions. Get them right to win 25 points and the chance to raid a room.
In this part of the game Neil would give the contestants a clue to the hidden item. They then had 30 seconds to find it. Neil would try to be helpful and drop hints for the contestants by constantly shouting things like “you’re freezing over there!”. There was also the blue arrow that would give a hint to where the item was for the viewers at home. If they do find the item in time and avoid the silly string flying everywhere Neil would shout “stop the clock” and they win another 25 points, but if they don’t the points go over to the opposing team. And don’t forget “Jeremy’s Joker”, as if we could.
In the next stage of the game, wow, the points were doubled! There were four more rooms on offer including the “fantasy room” which changed every week and a bonus prize was on offer for what team successfully raided that one. Whoever had the most points at the end of all of this went on to the Super Search!
This was the final of the game where the contestants had three minutes to raid every room. When they found the item they needed it had a note attached telling them what room they had to go to next. The more items they found, the better the prize, and if they succeeded in all eight rooms they would win the star prize! It was rather difficult to achieve this in three minutes though so in later series this was extended to four minutes which meant there was a much better chance of winning.
This all carried on very well for a few series with a some changes over the years including adding a camera to the contestant’s helmet just like they did in Fun House to give us a better idea of what it must be like to play the game. However, with the constant attempts to make the show bigger and better the final series in 1996 unfortunately for me if I dare use the phrase “jumped the shark” with a lot of rules changes, terrible new rounds introduced, and Neil’s role in hosting the show reduced. “Plunder that pit” indeed, what nonsense. Finders Keepers didn’t return for another series and I was almost relieved which was a shame as at its best in the early days the show was up there with the CITV classics.
The popularity of Finders Keepers has endured though with the show being repeated as part of the Old Skool Weekend and it is still fondly remembered. One thing I remember about the show was when the teams did well there were a lot of high fives. CITV’s Tommy Boyd noticed this and said that they should rename the show Fingers Keepers!
Neil also hosted a few celebrity specials as part of Motormouth, so if you had ever wanted to see Andrew O’Connor play the game, it was your lucky day. There was also a revival a decade after Finders Keepers originally ended but you don’t need to know about that.