Cheggers Plays Pop (CBBC, 1978-1986)
I am cheating here as this is actually a CBBC show that I don’t remember watching at the time, but I have been interested in seeing some editions and featuring it here for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it seems that it was two shows in one. It featured a game show element, along with a pop music one. And, if you’re a regular, you might know that over the past year or two I have been trying to discover more about 80s pop music.
As this was another show in the 80s that gave the big groups of the time the opportunity to appear on TV (usually two or three per show), and I did find it interesting to discover who exactly took part, as anywhere they could get exposure in those days was welcome. Ooh look it’s Classix Nouveaux! Cheggers Plays Pop was of course hosted by the rather overexcited Keith Chegwin, and I always thought that it was one of those shows that ran in the 70s and early-80s, but it was actually going as late as 1986 which surprised me.
Two teams took part, representing schools from across the country. They would be accompanied by various celebrities who would act as team captains and cheerleaders to encourage them along the way. If you were a pop group in the 80s, It seems that appearing on the show was good fun, and as well as this, I’m sure that appearing on the cover of Lookin really was the pinnacle of mainstream pop culture in those days, could there be any better endorsement that you’d made it?
There were also various games on the show, including questions being asked in The Hotbox Quick Quiz, so knowing what was currently in the Top Ten would really help, but the real way to score lots of points was to take part in the endgame that featured inflatables which was rather amusing. Some of these games were a little similar to Double Dare which launched not long after Cheggers Plays Pop ended, I wonder if it was an influence (even though I know that it was based on an American format).
It was around that point that Cheggers got even more overexcited (if that was possible), and the highest-scoring teams went into the final, with the overall series winner receiving a trophy. There were nine series of Cheggers Plays Pop, including some Easter and Christmas specials, and it did seem an enjoyable show to take part in. After the end, Cheggers would go on to be familiar face on TV for many more years, including hosting The Big Breakfast, and a revival of Sale Of The Century.