Let’s Get Quizzical (Channel 4, 1998)
I have written a lot about game shows on this blog, so here’s a variation with a look at a documentary about game shows instead. In May 1998 Channel 4 had a special evening dedicated to game shows, featuring a straightforward documentary looking back at their TV history with Bob Monkhouse, along with a more amusing look at memorable moments with Peter Kay called Let’s Get Quizzical. I recently tracked both shows down on YouTube, and I thought they were interesting enough to be reviewed here.
Firstly, I was amused by the show’s title Let’s Get Quizzical because it reminded me of the time that the UK Game Shows website listed the similarly named Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Quizzy as an interactive TV game show during the time when that particular genre was very popular, and nobody seemed to notice for a long time that it was actually a non-existent parody. They really should make a game show called that though, shouldn’t they?
Now Peter is a big fan of game shows. Honestly, he’s loved them ever since he was a boy. He still has warm memories of watching lots of them a long time ago with his parents, and he’d always join in with the catchphrases. In fact, Peter is so committed to game shows that he even once watched Cross Wits on Challenge TV, and he then admitted it on this show, right in front of everyone.
But he really still doesn’t understand why they are so popular. Why are the hosts so smarmy? Where do they find the contestants from? And why do they risk putting themselves at the risk of being humiliated for such small prizes in return? Is it because simply people want to appear on TV at whatever cost? Or is it just because they’ve got a funny story that they want to tell the host?
We were then treated to some of the more unusual game show moments from over the years, including some that had been shown rather frequently even by that point, such as Family Fortunes contestants being unable to name a famous Irishman, Ted Rogers on 3-2-1 struggling to explain the complicated rules, Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman laughing at rude words on Countdown, contestants turning down mink coats on Sale Of The Century, Fred Dinenage losing his patience on Gambit, contestants forgetting their glasses on Strike It Lucky, the disorganised chaos of The Golden Shot, and so on.
And of course, one of Peter’s favourite game shows is Bullseye. Even then, Peter had perfected his famous “do you remember watching Bullseye, what were that about?” routine. He would watch every Sunday without fail and loved it. He thought Jim Bowen was marvellous, even when he was rather unconvincing at trying to tell contestants that they should be really pleased to have won the star prize of a speedboat.
This was a fun look back at game shows, and I’ll review the Bob Monkhouse documentary soon as well.