Game Show Memories – Amoebas To Zebras.

Amoebas To Zebras (ITV, 1986-1987)

This is another game show from the 80s that I don’t really remember from the time, but as I always enjoy them from this era, I thought that I might as well review this one. Amoebas To Zebras (which doesn’t rhyme!) was a daytime game show that was subtitled “a natural history quiz”, just so we were in no doubt as to what this was, and this one had a good claim to being TSW’s second most-popular game show after That’s My Dog.

Amoebas To Zebras was hosted by Nigel Rees, who is notable for a few things. Firstly, he has compiled several books of humorous graffiti, so that’s good news for people who find things like “I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure” amusing. He has also hosted the BBC Radio 4 panel game Quote… Unquote for endless decades. And he used to be a regular in Dictionary Corner on Countdown, where I thought that he looked rather similar to host Richard Whiteley, maybe he was his secret brother all along.

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And it seems that this show was uploaded by a Rees fan account featuring lots of his TV appearances, you wouldn’t think that there ever would be such a thing really, but as they say, whatever pulls your chain. Amoebas To Zebras was indeed all about animals and the world of wildlife, and three contestants who were naturalists took part, both amateur and professional.

There was also a rather bizarre scoring system, where they went through the evolutionary scale, starting out as an amoeba in the primeval ooze. The co-host Nicky Ezer pointed to the board to keep us up to date with their progress. Presumably Carol Vorderman was unavailable. Could anybody win by climbing the tree and becoming an, er, zebra? This would be a true survival of the fittest.

There were six rounds, and I don’t know if they changed often, but they had to show off their knowledge about various animals from around the world, whether it was small creepy crawlies, or big hairy things. There were no prizes on offer as such, just the honour of knowing that you did well enough to become an amphibian. There were two series of Amoebas To Zebras, and Paul Ross once claimed that he hosted an unaired pilot, and didn’t know that there was a full series.

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