Challenge Of The South (ITV, 1987)
Following on from Amoebas To Zebras (that I reviewed recently), here’s another 80s daytime game show that was hosted by Nigel Rees, and I’m fairly sure that this one was only shown in the TVS region. Challenge Of The South featured a knockout format. 27 contestants took part in nine heats. The winners went into the semi-finals, and then the three winners of those went into the grand final.
The overall series champion would receive a specially-made glass trophy by an artist, which also featured the TVS symbol and everything, how nice. In the first round, general knowledge questions were asked on the buzzer. There were two points for a correct answer, but an incorrect answer gave one point each to both of their opponents.
Round two was played individually with specialist subjects, and the contestants had to take a different subject at every stage of the competition. But this idea wasn’t exactly the same as Mastermind, honest, because there were 90 seconds on the clock, and two points for a correct answer. Going into the break, there would be an anagram for viewers to solve, probably not made by Richard Stilgoe.
Round three featured a choice of subjects, on six playing cards, (which had the show’s triangle symbol on them instead of the usual suits), nine, ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. They would pick a card, but if they didn’t like the subject, they could pick again, but this was their last choice, so if they didn’t like this one either, they were stuck with it. Maybe they would get lucky. Again, there were 90 seconds of questions for two points each.
The fourth and final round was just about the same as the first, back on the buzzer, only this time all of the questions were linked to various things in the south of England. Of course, when time was up, the contestant with the highest score won, and in the final the chairman of TVS no less would then be invited to hand over the trophy to the series champion.
Rees seemed to be rather hopeful that there would be further series of Challenge Of The South, with more champions to be added to the roll of honour in the years to come, partly because he was the devisor of the show himself, but as far as I know there was only the one series. He’d have to go back to compiling all those graffiti books.