Reactive (CBBC, 1995)
A great fast-moving game show that was shown live on CBBC every weekday for a few weeks that featured interactive fun that was rather technologically advanced for the time and was terrifically hosted by Rick Adams.
Every day Rick turns up in the studio in one of his horrible shirts and for 15 minutes hosts the show in his lively style. There were various games that were played every day. Viewers were invited to phone in and play some of the games to win various prizes, so don’t forget to dial now. Viewers could also contact the show by post or email, and it must have been one of the earliest TV shows where it was possible to do this.
Most of the games featured viewers pressing the buttons on their touch-tone phone, rather similar to The Nelly Nut Show that was shown on CBBC about a decade later. There was also a game with Rick’s co-host Emma Lee called Stoke Up The Boiler where she would run around a maze in the basement as directed by the caller and try to grab the prizes for them before time ran out or the camera following her broke down, whichever came first.
There were also challenges with computer games including people competing with one another to win a prize by performing the best on a game in an amusement arcade, and some other various daft competitions where Rick encouraged the callers to do something silly for a prize and get their 15 seconds of fame.
While the attempt to interact with the viewers was impressive and they made the best use of the technology that was available at the time, the thing that really made the show for me was Rick Adams. I really liked his presenting style and his sense of humour practically from the moment I saw him, and he had that very useful skill of being able to be quick-witted and keeping things moving on a live TV show.
About a year after hosting Reactive Rick joined CITV to host the first series of Crazy Cottage, and once again I enjoyed his performance. It seemed that someone else liked him too because then it was announced that Rick would be joining The Big Breakfast. I was really pleased about this and thought that he would be a perfect fit for the main presenting role on the show as they had another one of their endless relaunches. Unfortunately although I enjoyed watching him it didn’t really work out for Rick as too many people saw him as a poor Chris Evans clone and he left soon after, hosting a few more low-key shows before disappearing off TV altogether. I did wonder what had happened to him and asked around and I was told that in more recent years he went on to have some success as a radio presenter in America. If that’s right then our loss is their gain. But 20 years on he’s still a star in my eyes.