Last Chance Lottery (Channel 4, 1997)
This is a game show that was shown on Channel 4 live on Saturday nights. Last Chance Lottery was hosted by Patrick Kielty who was an up-and-coming face on TV at the time. I remember about a year before this he hosted a show on BBC1 about silly adverts from around the world, so I thought that I would give this one a try. Surprisingly there don’t seem to be any full editions online, but I do remember watching at the time and enjoying what I saw.
Around this time, The National Lottery was a big event, they even used to show the draw on TV and everything. But you can’t win them all, and Last Chance Lottery was a show based around giving some people who had been unlucky in life another chance. Various games and stunts would be played for money, which would then be added to the jackpot that would be played for at the end of the show.
For example, there would be a game where people who had appeared on a game show a long time ago but failed to win the star prize would be given another go, but not only that, the host of that show also appeared. So when a team who had been on Bullseye but didn’t win the gamble took part, Jim Bowen turned up to encourage them which was marvellous, but if I remember correctly, they failed again.
Another regular feature was where a singer had to perform a song that was chosen after spinning a wheel. Wherever it stopped led to some unlikely combinations, such as the frontman of heavy metal group Iron Maiden performing a Tom Jones song, and I think that they admitted that the wheel was fixed as well. There would also be musical interludes such as a choir performing “Happiness” if there was a game with a winner.
The main game of the show was where any studio audience member who had got some numbers on that night’s National Lottery could play the final. This was where there were six celebrities, and they had to guess if they had been determined to be a winner or loser in life for a small prize. They could then gamble on the bonus ball for the jackpot. If they missed out, then the money rolled over to the next show, and on a few occasions there were some big wins of around £15,000. I also remember that Patrick would close the show by performing his version of “Creep” by Radiohead.
Last Chance Lottery looked like it could be the next big thing for Channel 4, it was often compared to the terrific Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush that had ended a couple of years earlier, and there were definitely similarities with unusual games being played. Despite the initial excitement around it, there wasn’t a second series which was a little disappointing.