Bygones (BBC1, 1994)
This isn’t a game show as such, it’s more of a comedy panel game in the Have I Got News For You mould, but it’s such a curious show I wanted to share my memories of it. Danny Baker was all over the screen in the mid-90s, hosting such quirky shows as TV Heroes, his own chat show, the first series of Pets Win Prizes (which still hasn’t turned up on Youtube!), those Daze adverts, and many other things, including this show.
Bygones was essentially a show about nostalgia. Each week Danny would be joined by two teams of three who were captained by keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and the Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson who in more recent years has gone on to be a big success in America. The celebrity panellists alongside them were usually comedians or famous faces from days gone by. I also remember the show had a horrid pink and yellow set, and the theme music was the same as a later BBC1 show Before They Were Famous which Danny also worked on.
The memory is a little vague on what the rounds consisted of, but I do remember there being jokes of the “so why don’t you see the washing powder Omo on the shelf any more?”-type variety, and Danny clearly enjoyed reminiscing about the various fads of the past, and he used to enjoy giving random bonus points to people who could remember the presenting line-up of Crackerjack.
There were also a few other regular features such as “can you guess what this hit single being played on the Stylophone is?”, trying to remember the theme tune to various old shows, trying to identify a waxwork of someone no longer famous, a silent clip of Pans People dancing on Top Of The Pops where they had to guess what the song was by the way that they interpreted it, and a look back at some daft adverts from years gone by. After the winner was announced, the show ended with a performance by an old pop group performing their biggest hit. This all seemed like a winning formula, some celebrities sharing their memories of the stranger side of nostalgia in an entertaining way, so it should’ve been a success with viewers, right?
It was actually far from it. Bygones began in a primetime slot on Friday evenings, but by the end of its run it had been bumped back to a late-night slot, so barely anyone saw the final couple of episodes, which was rather disappointing, and the show didn’t return for a second series. Although I did enjoy what I saw of it, it is amusing to realise that Bygones is now a long-forgotten craze just like the things that it tried to mock.