The Biggest Game In Town (ITV1, 2001)
The Biggest Game In Town was the fourth UK game show to use the bingo format, the others being Bob’s Full House, One To Win and Lucky Numbers. While Bob’s Full House was the best of these (and indeed for me it’s one of the best game shows of them all), this one did at least add an interesting interactive twist, although it only ran for one series before leaving the screen.
The Biggest Game In Town was shown live on weekday afternoons on ITV1 for a few months in 2001 and it was hosted by Steve Le Fevre (although when he was away for a few shows Bobby Davro deputised for him and I must admit that I enjoyed his presentation of the show more). Three contestants took part in the now familiar rounds that consisted of having to fill the four corners of their card, then the middle line, and then get a full house to win the game, and once again they would be “wallied” for giving an incorrect answer. They would also win a bonus for winning an individual round.
What was good about the show was that viewers could play along at home. They could get a gamecard which had various numbers on it. Also on the card was a phone number and when they called it they could activate their card for the day and play for the potential of a cash prize, and every day about 50,000 viewers took part. Questions were on the buzzer and every time a contestant got an answer right, a ball would tumble down a computer-generated tunnel and its randomly-generated number would appear on the screen, and if viewers had it they could cross it off on their card.
Another good element of the show was that there was a leaderboard on screen which showed how many viewers needed how many more numbers to win which would update after every ball, and it did become exciting as it got to the point where some people only needed one or two numbers to win, and once anyone completed their card, that part of the game was over and the prize money was shared between however many winners there were, meaning that the host could announce this right away, and in a few shows they could even speak to some winners live on the phone.
Back in the studio, the main game continued until someone had completed their card or time was up. Whoever had progressed the furthest went into the final. Because the show was live most of the questions asked were topical or about programmes currently on TV. There were 45 seconds on the clock and they won money for every correct answer, up to a maximum of £5,550 for getting all nine right, which was fairly tough to achieve. There was also at least one celebrity special of the show and there was an extra edition on Fridays with even more money on offer for everyone.