Remote Control (Channel 4, 1991-1992)
This is a game show that was shown on Channel 4 in the evening in the early-90s, it was based on an American format shown on MTV which might explain its rather rowdy mix of comedy and questions which made it rather cult viewing with younger viewers. The host was Anthony Wilson who was usually assisted by Phil “Gilbert” Cornwell or none other than Frank Sidebottom who provided the laughs.
Three oh-so-crazy contestants took part who wanted to show off what they knew about pop culture, and the first round consisted of them pressing the buttons on their remote control to select one of the nine channels that was concealing a rather quirky question on categories including “How Stupid Can You Get?”, which were worth either one or two points for a correct answer. If they got it right they could choose the next channel. Also above the contestants was a big finger that lit up when they buzzed in.
There was also some woman playing the keyboard along with all this, and when a contestant chose a channel that contained a question about something on Channel 4, she rather appropriately would play the “Fourscore” theme music which was a rather good touch. Also, one channel contained a question that would be asked by Frank Sidebottom.
Round two had quickfire questions on the buzzer for one point each. Round three went back to choosing channels. At the end of this round, the lowest-scorer was eliminated by vanishing off the style in a similar style to BBC1’s Brainstorm that I reviewed recently, and a similar effect was also used in Channel 5’s Topranko! that was also hosted by Wilson about a decade after this.
Then there was a rather hard question, and during the contestants’ thinking time there were some more comedy sketches, Caroline Aherne, Brenda Gilhooly, Sean Lock and John Thomson were among those who joined in. They had to bid some of their precious points on whether they got the right answer, usually they didn’t. The final round was multiple-choice questions on the buzzer for two points each. Again the lowest scorer was eliminated and Phil started doing his Mick Jagger impression for a nice change.
The remaining contestant goes into the final where they are strapped to a wheel. They then spin round for 40 seconds and they have to look at nine screens. If they can correctly identify the images on all the screens, they win the fancy star prize of something like a shed. Remote Control ran for a couple of years and was an Action Time/Granada co-production. There’s no doubt that it contained plenty of anarchic fun that definitely livened up a Tuesday evening.