Win Beadle’s Money (Channel 5, 1999)
An entertaining game show shown on Channel 5 in the 1990s? Yes, such a thing exists. Contestants compete against none other than Jeremy Beadle to win money, but not just any old money, the money personally out of Jeremy’s very own pocket! Yes, it really happened. Jeremy was actually a big trivia buff and very interested in quizzes, both in devising them and playing them, so beating him would be harder than it first seemed. Will anyone have what it takes to beat Jeremy at his own game?
The show begins with three contestants taking part. There are some categories on the board which are revealed by co-host Richard Morton, who somehow still had a job after hosting the rotten Move On Up. After the category is picked, the amount of money on offer is revealed. Jeremy then asks the question, and whoever gets it right can then answer a bonus question.
At the end of this round, the lowest scorer is eliminated and the money that they won is put bank into the bank. In round two, Jeremy replaces the eliminated contestant, so Richard now takes over asking the questions. Jeremy insists at this point that he has no idea what the questions are in advance. There are more questions on the buzzer for various cash values. If Jeremy buzzes in and gets a question right, he doesn’t win anything, he just stops his opponents from making any more money. Again at the end of the round the lowest scorer is eliminated and the money goes back into the bank.
The remaining contestant then goes into the head-to-head final. They and Jeremy are individually asked the same ten fairly tough general knowledge questions in isolation booths with one minute on the clock, with the contestant going first. They then have to watch on to discover how Jeremy does and there were some very interesting finishes.
If the contestant is beaten by Jeremy, they only take away the money that they had already won. If it ends in a tie, they take their money plus another £200. But if they manage to defeat Jeremy they win the star prize of £1,000 from right out of Jeremy’s very own pocket. Beating him didn’t happen very often though and he only lost eight times in the 52 shows that were made. Can nobody beat this brainbox?
Win Beadle’s Money was based on an American format and was definitely one of the better Channel 5 game shows. Jeremy was always entertaining and the game although competitive was always played in a good spirit, with the final always being intriguingly unpredictable, although unfortunately Jeremy wasn’t seen much on TV any more after the show ended. I’m fairly sure it hasn’t been repeated in more recent years, Channel 5 scattered the show around the schedule somewhat, and the Wikipedia entry is far from comprehensive, but it was a good attempt at a twist on the regular game show format.