Headjam (BBC3, 2004)
This is a game show that I don’t remember watching a huge amount of at the time, but I thought that it had an interesting enough idea to feature here. Headjam was originally shown on BBC3 and was hosted by Vernon Kay, who has gone on to become one of Britain’s most prolific game show hosts, having been in charge of more than 15 formats over the years, that’s even more than Bruce Forsyth!
One thing that attracted to me to Headjam was that it was based around the more useless information in our heads such as pop trivia, and being someone who is interested in collecting and remembering ultimately pointless facts about music, TV, and things like that made me think that this would appeal to me. It’s a surprise to realise that this is almost 15 years ago now, back in those distant days when game shows were half-an-hour long.
Two teams of two take part. They consist of a contestant accompanied by a celebrity (of the Edith Bowman/Lauren Laverne/Claudia Winkleman variety) and they have to work together in various rounds to prove what they know, with most of the questions focusing on 80s and 90s pop culture. In the first round which was on the buzzer, a clue was given to a famous person, but the answer had to be given in the form of a spoonerism.
In the next round the teams were given three things and they had to put them in the order that they happened. On one occasion they had to put three BBC1 clocks in the correct order, and they got it right. Then there was another buzzer round where contestants had to guess the TV theme tune. It was at this point that Vernon would often start to sing along with them. Well it made a change from him randomly bursting into “Ice Ice Baby”.
The next round featured four years, which each concealed a question, and the teams had to pick one, the answer would often lead to a clip from the archive being shown. Then back on the buzzer they had to guess a film from its tagline that was spoken by a booming voice. Then there was Take A Gamble. The celebrity was asked a multiple choice question, and the contestant could bet up to five points on whether they would get it right or not, which could quickly change the scores.
The final round (they really did pack the rounds in) is against the clock. For one minute questions are asked and the answers all begin with a particular letter. The letter changes every three questions, and the team take it in turns to answer, with one point for every correct answer. The highest-scoring team go in the main Headjam round to play for the star prize.
In the final, only the contestant plays. They are asked eight fairly simple questions, but the catch is that they have to answer them after they have all been asked, so it really is a challenging test of memory. The celebrity can only help them out on one answer. If they do succeed, they win one from a choice of three prizes on offer, including a TV. This didn’t happen that often, so Vernon got very excited when there was a big winner.
Headjam ran for about a month or two on BBC3, before some editions were repeated on BBC2 in an evening slot, but it didn’t make much of an impact with viewers and it didn’t return for a second series. It was rather fun though and I feel that it was one of the best examples of a game show where rather silly long-forgotten things would be discussed before Pointless launched.