Mind The Gap (ITV, 1999)
Who remembers when there used to be regional variations on ITV? In the late-90s Carlton in London tried out various programmes in the teatime slot, including the entertainment guide Good Stuff, the soap London Bridge, the music show Videotech, they also tried out a couple of game shows, one of which was Mind The Gap, hosted by Paul Ross.
Mind The Gap was a general knowledge game that was based around the London Underground, and three contestants on the platform took part. In the first round the contestants had to answer questions on various categories on the buzzer, and rather nicely Harry Beck’s famous Tube map design had been altered so that all the lines represented various categories. If a contestant gets the question right they win the station and they then have to “change” to a connecting line to answer a question on a different category.
In the second round each contestant is shown a short clip about the history of London featuring various statements, and they have to identify which of the statements made is incorrect and also answer an observation question to earn themselves more stations.
In the third round use is made of the Circle line. Contestants are placed on the line based on how many stations they have already won, and they then answer true or false statements to try to progress round the line, moving one station forward for a correct answer, and one back for an incorrect one, with the contestant who is the least advanced round the line at the end of the round being eliminated. But the contestant who has to depart the journey at this point needn’t worry as they win a remarkable consolation prize.
In the fourth round the two remaining contestants go back to the board from round one and they now just have to answer as many questions as they can as they can now stay on a line so they can remain on categories which they know more about to help them win the stations, with the contestant in second place again leaving at this point.
The one remaining contestant wins the ticket to go through to the final and play for the money in a rather straightforward way. They just have to answer eight questions in one minute, the more they get right, the more money they win, with the top prize being £1,000. However, this part of the show takes part in the middle of the set which could become rather awkward if there’s a train coming.
There isn’t much about Mind The Gap online beyond its entry on the UK Game Shows website (and well done to them for remembering it in the first place), and it doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, although there is an edition on YouTube, but I wanted to write about this show because even though it wasn’t a big success I always like to watch game shows.
One of the the reasons that I remember Mind The Gap is because it was shown around the time that I was about to leave secondary school and begin to do my GCSEs, so I do remember watching the show and then having to go off to revise. Carlton did go on to make some more London-only game shows including King Of The Castle in 2001 which was somewhat similar by The Weakest Link but I didn’t like that one as much. Somewhat surprisingly though a Spanish version was made of Mind The Gap which went on to be a success in that country so that’s good.