Fifteen-To-One Celebrity Special (Channel 4, 1990)
Another intriguing variation on the classic Fifteen-To-One format, in 1990 it seems that a couple of years after the show began, someone thought that it would be a good idea to do a celebrity special. What is interesting about this special is that all of the 15 contestants seem to be host William G Stewart‘s close showbiz pals. It seems that we went through his address book to pick some famous faces who he thought could take the general knowledge challenge.
The contestants included such people as fellow game show hosts Richard Whiteley, Bob Holness and Nicholas Parsons (who William always referred to on the show as “my good friend Nick Parsons”), and it was enjoyable seeming them all have a go. There was one rule change for the first round, only one life would be lost for every incorrect answer, so everyone would go through to round two regardless of how they did.
Because of the personalities of celebrities, when William asked the questions, rather than just giving the answer, there was a lot of stalling and joking from the contestants, and William had to try hard to keep order, coming across as a lot more animated than in the regular show where he was a lot more restrained and authoritative, although these were all his best mates. You’ve only got three seconds to answer so get on with it. At the end of the first round William simply remarked “I hope never to go through such an experience again”.
One thing that was interesting about the second round is that every time a contestant lost all their lives and was eliminated, all the other contestants started to laugh mockingly as another celebrity had been vaguely humiliated because they didn’t know the answer, seemingly as if they would never live it down. No-one ever carried on like that in the regular version thankfully.
Eventually although it took a while as it always has to be it was 12 down, three to go. The format of the final had the regular “question or nominate” rules. The overall winner of the show was Nigel Rees who is a right old clever clogs and he won a special prize for charity. A couple of years later there was another celebrity special but that one doesn’t seem to have appeared online.
A decade another the original run of Fifteen-To-One ended, the revival was started with another primetime celebrity special. Although it looked for a while like it would be another show that only continue in celebrity specials, there have since been a couple of regular series, and there are more to come in the future. I personally prefer the usual format but this was a fun variation.
I’ve still got a couple of Fifteen-To-One spin-offs to review, the Champion Of Champions special and the Millennium special, so look out for those soon.