Full Swing (BBC1, 1996)
Over the years we’d already seen darts combined with a game show format to create the classic Bullseye, and snooker was used to create Big Break which was also a success, so why not combine another sport with questions to create a game show? Someone had the idea of taking golf into this format which led to the launch of Full Swing in 1996. Jimmy Tarbuck put on his best sweater and plus-fours to host this Saturday night show.
Three teams of two took part, consisting of a contestant who would answer the questions who was teamed up with a golfer who would play the golf section of the game. They weren’t a professional though, but a celebrity who enjoys the odd round or two such as Ronnie Corbett or Tim Brooke-Taylor. Now you can’t really replicate a golf course in a TV studio, so here’s how they got round it to play the game. In the first round, a computer-generated version of a hole on a famous golf course was played with the golfer hitting the ball, and then we see how far it has gone virtually. A question from a choice of various categories would then be asked, and if the contestant got it right it would advance the ball a little further to the hole. The golfer then took one more shot. Whichever team was the furthest from the hole at the end of the round was eliminated.
The eliminated contestant had a chance to play for a Crazy Consolation though. Rather similar to the Virgo’s Trick Shot round on Big Break, if they could putt the ball into a crazy golf-style hole, they would win some money for their celebrity’s charity, and the contestant would take away a golf ball trophy. What must they be worth now? The remaining two teams then played the next round.
In this round the golfer hit the ball on to the green, but this time there were a variety of hazards spread out on the course such as bunkers and ponds. The golfer has 90 seconds to get the ball in the hole, and if they hit a hazard the contestant will be asked a multiple-choice question, and the golfer won’t be able to take the next shot until they give a right answer. Also, the ball doesn’t stay in the hole unless the flag is lit. The team that holes the ball in the shortest time makes the final, while the eliminated team again plays the Crazy Consolation for charity money.
In the final, the contestant is asked four questions for ten seconds each, plus a bonus of up to 60 seconds, meaning there was a maximum time of 100 seconds available. The golfer then used this time to putt various balls. For each one they putted, they would win more charity money. However, the higher the value, the further from the hole the ball was. If they did succeed and putt the gold-coloured tenth and final ball though, the golfer won £1,000 for their charity, and the contestant won the star prize of the holiday. Although I do remember watching Full Swing, the first few editions were fun but the novelty soon wore off, although I suppose they did the best that they could, but it just didn’t catch on with viewers to the point that a planned Christmas special was dropped and the show wasn’t seen again after the first series ended, so as far as TV successes go, unfortunately this one was a real double-bogey.