Game Show Memories – Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! (Channel 4, 1983-1984, ITV, 1990-1993, Sky One, 1995-1996)

Jeopardy! was the weekday game show where the contestants were provided with the answers, and to win they had to give the questions! Every day three contestants took part. They are given six categories which all feature five clues of increasing points value and difficulty. They pick a clue from the board and they see the answer. They then buzz in and give their response in the form of a question. vlcsnap-01837

If they get it right they win the points on offer, but get it wrong and they lose them, and one of the other contestants can buzz in. There are also Daily Doubles randomly hidden behind spaces on the board. The contestant can then bet as much of their score as they want on the clue. Variations on Daily Doubles included audio and video clues. This continues until all the clues are used or time is up. The contestants don’t know one another’s scores at any point in the game. vlcsnap-01839

After the break is the Double Jeopardy round, with six new categories, and all of the values of the clues are doubled. The contestants then take their scores into Final Jeopardy, the round which will determine that day’s winner. There is one more category, and the contestants then bet some of their score based on their knowledge. The final clue is then revealed. Contestants are given 30 seconds to write down their response accompanied by probably the best-known thinking against the clock piece of music after Countdown. vlcsnap-01840

When time is up, the contestants reveal their responses, and this is where things could change rather drastically, which huge amounts of points being won or lost. There has always been a lot of debate by viewers about the strategies of how you should exactly bid in this round. The winner though wins £500, is invited to come back for the next show, and they can continue to play for five shows until they have to retire undefeated and win the star prize of £3,000. vlcsnap-01841

Jeopardy! is a show that is based on an American format and there were three attempt to try to make it a success in the UK, but none of them lasted very long. The first version was on Channel 4 in the 1980s and was hosted by Derek Hobson but I have never seen this version myself. I first remember seeing Jeopardy! when there was a version on ITV in the early-90s in the 9:25am slot. The first series was hosted by Chris Donat and I did enjoy him, but from the second series onwards Steve Jones took over. Maybe TVS wanted to give him another job after The Pyramid Game ended. (The final ITV series in 1993 was produced by Meridian). vlcsnap-01842

Then in the mid-90s there was a third and final attempt at a British version of Jeopardy! this time on Sky One which was hosted by Paul Ross. Again, even though there was more money on offer it didn’t last long, although about five years later the original American version was shown on Sky One for a while which has now been an institution in America for over 30 years.


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