Topranko! (Channel 5, 2002)
Topranko! is a game show that only ran on for a short while on Channel 5 on Monday evenings in the summer of 2002 and is little-remembered now, but I did watch it regularly and it was an interesting idea that deserves a review. The show was very futuristic in its approach, using some special effects, and the theme music was the same as the 70s drama The Tomorrow People.
The show was hosted by the late Anthony Wilson, who had an unusual double career of being a TV presenter and music mogul, and every week four contestants took part. The idea was that they would be given a top ten list such as “the top ten countries with the longest borders” and they then had to give an answer. If they chose the easiest answer that was number one on the list they scored one point. If they got the most difficult answer that was number ten on the list they scored ten points so they had to think of the less obvious choices to progress.
The contestants had to score a particular number of points to qualify for the next round. They wore colour-coded outfits and Anthony would refer to them by their colour instead of their name. If they picked an incorrect answer, Anthony would say rather sternly in his best Anne Robinson style “that is not on the list, and you are off the list”, which was a clear attempt at creating a catchphrase for the show, and they would then be frozen out for the rest of the round.
This carried on for many rounds. When a contestant was eliminated from the game Anthony would say “I’m afraid you’re going home”, at which point they disappeared, presumably never to be seen again. Anthony was assisted in all this by Charlotte Hudson, who I remember was also a presenter on Watchdog at the time, although I haven’t seen her much on TV recently. She would confirm all the answers at the end of every round and then reveal a fascinating fact about the subject that the question was on. She would also give us the latest scores. Anthony would usually reply with a simple “Thanks, Charlotte”, you wouldn’t find any of that “crazy banter” that every show seems to insist on having now here.
This carried on until there was only one contestant remaining. I must admit that I don’t remember too much about how the final worked, but I do recall that the star prize was a decent week-long holiday which was definitely something worth playing for, and along the way a lot of entertainingly useless trivia was revealed.
Topranko! was a good show but Channel 5 only gave it one series. The idea of being rewarded for choosing the less popular answers has been better realised in more recent years in the successful show Pointless. There is very little about the show online and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, which is a shame as 13 years after it appeared on the screen it still sounds out for me as a creative show.