PSI (ITV, 1989)/Crazy Comparisons (ITV, 1991)
I have now reviewed a lot of game shows on this blog. And while in recent years I have thought about the enjoyable memories the shows have brought me that I feel are worth sharing, it made me realise something rather awkward. I have enjoyed the presenting of Chris Tarrant a lot over the years, but I haven’t really liked a lot of his game shows. Beyond the big success of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, there have been a lot of failures.
The only other Tarrant-hosted shows that I have really liked are Everybody’s Equal (later revived as Whittle) and Lose A Million (that was rather silly and something of a flop). As for the others? The Colour Of Money? Do me a favour. Cluedo? Even the man himself said that he didn’t like that one. The Great Pretender? You are kidding me. Man O Man? I mean, let’s be honest. The Main Event? I have no memory of that one at all from the time, but it seems that I didn’t miss much.
But I did want to review one more Tarrant-hosted show because he has made such a significant contribution to the game show genre in the UK, and provided me with many hours of entertainment. There must be at least one more show that is worth featuring here I thought, there’s got to be one more vaguely interesting format in amongst all of the rotten ones. So, after much thought, I’ve decided to go for this one.
This is a show that launched in a daytime slot in the late-80s. PSI (as the first series was called) was a celebrity panel game. It was based on a board game that had a rather unusual idea. If a famous person was an object, what would they be? Two teams of three took part. All of the panellists had one turn each for the others to guess who they were thinking of by asking a few questions, and when they think they’ve cracked it, they had to write down their answer on a piece of paper in a Blankety Blank-style.
And in a twist, one of the people that had to be guessed would be backstage, ready to come on and surprise everyone and discuss whether the image created of them was a fair one. There were also lots of points on offer for right answers. There were some slight format changes to the second and final series. The title was changed to the more straightforward Crazy Comparisons (as viewers seemingly had no idea what PSI meant or represented, it was actually Psychology Slander Intuition).
And there were now some regular panellists, who were Simon (bid again, Simon!) Williams and Paula Wilcox. There were 44 editions in two series. As ever, Chris did do a good hosting job (which was probably the reason most critics of the time described the show as “zany”), and it wasn’t that bad, although it’s little remembered now. The show was produced by Celador, the same company behind Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.