Virtually Impossible (CITV, 1994-1995)
One of the most successful CITV shows of its era was the adventure game Knightmare, which was very popular with viewers, myself included. However, by 1994 it had reached its eighth series and it maybe was time for something different, so the production company Broadsword decided to create a new show that they hoped would do as well and run for many years.
Virtually Impossible (nice wordplay there) was a CITV game show that used the latest technology to play various interactive games. There was no host as such, but teams were put through their paces by a mildly scary-looking computer-generated blue fish called Codsby who had a strange robot-style effect on its voice and always looked on the brink of crashing (“I hope none of you suffer from motion sickness!” was one of his wittier remarks).
A team of four who fancied their chances were beamed down to a futuristic cyberspace world called Sim Station Alpha to take part, and one of them was nominated to play the games. There were a few Knightmare-style characters who appeared to set the challenges including The Ice Woman who was rather nasty, and a lot of computer/internet terminology was used, just as those phrases were beginning to enter everyday language.
Four games were played against the clock and a total of 40,000 points had to be scored, could it be done? The team had to make sure that they could complete the games, some of which featured some sub-PlayStation 1 quality graphics, including low frame-rates and bad pop-up (the phrases you learn from reading computer game magazines!). There were a few nice sound effects though and Codsby would always encourage the team all the way. If they met their target, they had saved the day. If they didn’t… bad luck. Well, at least they all returned to Earth safe.
Compared to Knightmare, Virtually Impossible made little impact and there was only one series, it definitely didn’t gain a loyal fanbase like its predecessor did. I do remember watching it though, and it does remind me of similar computer-based shows that were around at the same time including Games World and GamesMaster. I wonder where Codsby is now? Despite its flaws it was still probably a step up from The Adventures Of Captain Zeelig though.