Today’s The Day (BBC2, 1993-1999)
A rather cosy daytime game show that looked back at history and nostalgia where all the questions were connected to events that happened on the day that the episode was broadcast. It was hosted by the news presenter Martyn Lewis and ran for several years. Here’s how the format worked.
Two teams of two took part. The first round featured an archive news report and the teams had to buzz in and “stop the clip” once they thought they knew what it was about. There was a decreasing points value though so the earlier they buzzed in the more they could score. Get it wrong though and the clip restarted with the other team having a chance but with the points value continuing to decrease.
Then there was the round featuring various TV clips that were originally shown on the day in years gone by. Anything could turn up but these clips were usually from chat shows or comedy sketches. A question would then be asked about who featured in the clip.
Then there would be some more questions on the buzzer. In the next round, there were eight archive clips to choose from of varying points value from 5 to 15. Watch the clip and then get asked a question about it to win the points on offer.
The final round featured one of the two contestants on the team nominated to face questions with one minute on the clock. Again the questions were about news events that happened on the day or about famous people who were born on that day. There were ten points for each correct answer. One thing that I liked about this round was a huge close-up of the contestant appearing on the screen to heighten the tension. Great music too.
The winning team could stay on to appear again the next day, with the highest scoring teams playing one another in a knockout tournament at the end of the series to win the overall prize of a trip around the world. There were also lots of consolation prizes including everyone receiving a copy of a newspaper that was originally published on the day that they were born.
Today’s The Day was one of those shows that carried on in its afternoon slot comfortably for six years. There was always an interesting use of archive footage and it was always especially good to watch when it was your birthday. There were also a few Christmas specials where celebrities took part and a board game was released too, along with the usual viewers’ phone-in competition. There was even a spin-off radio version of the show that was also hosted by Martyn Lewis.
There was a similar game show to Today’s The Day on Channel 4 around the same time called Backdate which also used the combination of general knowledge questions about things that had happened on specific days in history and I will review that one soon.