Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (Channel 4, 1994-1995)
A very entertaining game show that brightened up Saturday nights in the mid-90s. Chris Evans had come a long way in a short time, after making a big impact on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast, he went on to host this primetime show where someone would be picked at random to win a star prize of a luxury holiday.
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush had a difficult progress to the screen, and several failed pilots were made. But after a while they did get the balance right. Everybody in the studio audience had the potential to be a contestant. Because the prize they would play for was a holiday, they all had to have their suitcases with them ready, as they would leave right when the show ended, hopefully remembering to bring their passports and toothbrushes. Chris also hoped that they had asked for the week off, or maybe they hadn’t and they didn’t care if they got the sack.
Because the show was an hour long there were other features too. There was also musical accompaniment by Jools Holland and his big boogie woogie band, who would often be joined by a guest superstar singer. There was also a game where contestants had to play against a popstar to determine who knew the most about them. Chris would also be joined by a glamorous assistant who was usually whoever his girlfriend was at the time. There were lots of other great games and pranks too, all leading up to the main game in the final part of the show.
At the end, a studio audience member would be picked at random by Chris pulling a plunger and a chair beginning to have smoke coming out of it. They would then be asked a qualifying question to make the endgame. If they got it wrong, Chris would say “I don’t care, let’s explode another chair!”.
Eventually someone was picked to play the final which was Light Your Lemon. There were two destinations with five lights each. One had a fancy holiday like Barcelona, and the other was usually a seaside resort like Bognor. The contestant would be asked questions, for each one they got right, a part of the cocktail was lit. For every answer they got wrong, a part of the ice cream would be lit. If they got five right, they won the luxury holiday, but if they got five wrong, they had to go to the cold UK place.
There were a couple of occasions that stood out where the contestants were playing for something different. In one if they won the whole studio audience would be off to DisneyLand Paris. It was a tense finish but they got there. There was also a show where a contestant played for a Ferrari which I believe was the biggest prize that had been given away on a British game show at the time. Once again, the contestant did win and they were very pleased to put it mildly.
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush only ran for two series after Chris Evans decided to begin work on other shows such as TFI Friday. I always watched the show and found it very enjoyable. Show was the show’s success that it won several awards and the format was sold to various countries and for a few years there would be various presenters across Europe and beyond in horrid-coloured suits running around the studio playing similar games to the UK version. Needless to say, Chris ended up making a few bob out of it.