Incredible Games (CBBC, 1994-1995)
The classic game show The Crystal Maze is still fondly remembered 25 years after it began and there have been a few shows that have tried to recreate its adventurous style, and Incredible Games is I would say CBBC’s closest equivalent to that show.
Every week three contestants took part. They entered the lift of a skyscraper. The idea was that they would stop on various floors and play a wonderfully odd variety of challenges to win prizes. Not that I realised it at the time but the host of the first series was none other than the comedian David Walliams, many years before he hit the big time with sketch show Little Britain. Incredible Games must have been one of his earliest TV appearances and unfortunately he didn’t return to host the second and final series a year later, but he was very good.
He never really appeared properly on the show, only his weird floating head appeared on the screen in the lift. Each round started with his character asking one of the contestants to push the big red button to get the lift moving to the next floor and play a game. While this happened he would talk to the contestants about their hobbies and various other things and this would often be funny.
Most of the games were very impressive. One of the best was the Alphabet Soup round where against the clock the contestants had to find letters and stick them on a wall. The longer the word they made was, the better their score. After each round the teams were award points based on how well they did that were indicated on a multicoloured scoreboard thing.
I did think that the show was very well put together, and if the teams accumulated enough points they would go through the roof to get the star prize! Nerd confession: I always liked these LCD scoreboard things that they used to have on game shows like the one in this show indicating what floor they were on, I always wished I had one myself.
Incredible Games must have had an affect on me to some extent because I do remember that I actually had a dream that I appeared on this show and I did really badly. What also seems a surprise now looking back at this show is that it was shown on Sunday mornings, and it must have been one of the most ambitious shows in that timeslot. There was also a celebrity special and a couple of celebrities appeared in every episode to join in the excitement, and Andrew O’Connor was one of the show’s co-creators, is there nothing he can’t do? It really was an incredible show.