Tellystack (UK Gold, 1996-1997)
Tellystack was a game show all about classic TV that was shown in the early days of satellite channel UK Gold. It was hosted by Paul Ross who seemed to be very regularly on TV at the time. He has got five children though and they need to be fed, and he once said that his answering machine message was “hello, yes, I’ll do it”, so here he was again. I don’t remember watching this show that often but I did find a full edition on YouTube recently and I do think that it is worth a review.
In Tellystack three contestants took part in what according to Paul was a terrific television trivia test. One nice touch was that all the contestants were sat in big armchairs which was presumably how they watched the TV at home. Paul would also introduce a special guest TV personality of the Liza Goddard/Melvyn Hayes variety, and they would have a mystery question.
In the first round there was a stack of 18 televisions and there was a various TV genre on every screen. The categories were things including an archive TV clip of a show currently being repeated on UK Gold, a theme tune that had to be identified, or a Radio Times listing where you had to guess what the programme was. After seeing the clue, the question was asked and the contestants had to buzz in. If they got it right, the screen turned their colour and they scored ten points.
If they happened to pick the screen the concealed the mystery question, an alarm would go off, and whoever got that one right scored a bonus 20 points. When time was up, the two highest-scoring contestants progressed to the next round taking their points with them, with the eliminated contestant taking away a consolation prize of a Tellystack T-shirt and book.
Before the next round, Paul had a quick talk to the contestants about what they like to watch on TV. The 18 screens then split in half with the two contestants looking at nine screens each. A question was asked and if they got it right they could pick one screen which would reveal part of a picture of a TV personality. If they correctly guessed who it was, they scored a bonus, and when time was up, the highest-scorer went into the final, with the loser taking away a Tellystack glow-in-the-dark watch and book.
Just before the final, Paul spoke to the celebrity guest about their career. Then it was the big moment. The final tellystack appeared. There was 90 seconds on the clock and every level of the stack contained a question about a TV genre. The more questions the finalist got right, the higher they progressed up the stack, and if they got the final answer right at the top correct they won the star prize of a highly coveted gold-plated TV!
As far as game shows about classic TV go Tellystack was never going to really give Telly Addicts a challenge, and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, but it was good seeing UK Gold making an attempt at creating an original programme which made a good use of what they had in their archive even if it was going to be seen by a very small amount of viewers, but you’ve got to fill the hours with something haven’t you.