Yes this is another piece about Blockbusters, but it is one of my favourite game shows, although this is the last piece I have planned about it for now (unless spin-off Champion Blockbusters ever turns up on YouTube). When Blockbusters ended on ITV in 1993, it remained so popular that there were four revivals. The first was on Sky One in 1994 (still with Bob Holness), then there was another on BBC2 in 1997 with Michael Aspel, and then again on Sky One in 2000.
This will be a piece concentrating on the revival on Challenge in 2012. I do feel that alongside repeating various game shows, Challenge should attempt making more original shows and revivals of classics, so when it was announced that they were making an attempt at bringing back Blockbusters lots of people were very pleased by this news. The host for this revival was Simon Mayo, who was as good a choice as anyone really, and someone who I remember enjoying when he hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in the early-90s.
So would Blockbusters work in this decade? It was hotly anticipated by viewers. The title sequence featured a rock-style version of the classic “Quiz Wizard” theme which viewers seemed to like. The gameplay was the same, because it should be really. A team of one played a team of two, although they featured older contestants rather than students. Also, they wore name badges, but they didn’t seem to have any mascots with them unfortunately. And there was still £5 on offer for every correct answer, there’s no change.
Because of advanced technology instead of question cards each question instantly appeared on a screen presumably picked at random from thousands available in a computer. The board was similar to the original version, but it was now 3D and it looked rather good. Eliminated contestants won the consolation prize of a Blockbusters-branded eBook which wasn’t bad, while the winner went on to play the Gold Run of course.
The Gold Run was once again changed back to being played a maximum of five times before a contestant had to retire, and there were some fairly decent prizes on offer including holidays, which you don’t see given away too often on game shows nowadays. Although this version is only really remembered for one contestant who didn’t really seem to know how to play the Gold Run properly and just went all over the place on the board.
There was a real buzz around this revival, but when the run of 40 editions came to an end, Challenge didn’t make any more, although they have repeated them often and they even made an extra hour-long celebrity special, but it didn’t linger long in the memory. Because of this I remember someone saying about a year ago jokingly “isn’t it about time there was another Blockbusters revival?”.
It really is difficult to tell why the revivals aren’t as fondly thought of as the original when the gameplay is the same. Maybe it’s the scheduling, the choice of host and their interaction with the contestants, or how much people want to play along at home. I will always be a fan though and I hope that one day though even if there are no more Blockbusters revivals Challenge do make some more original programming, I’m sure there is a demand for it.