The Best Show In The World… Probably (BBC1, 1998)
I do like comedy panel games, and I also like old adverts (as I’m sure you’ve noticed), so when the two were combined, how could I possibly resist? The Best Show In The World… Probably was hosted by Tony Hawks, who has had a varied career. As well as being a comedian, he has done lots of rather quirky things including having a Top Ten hit single in the 80s, and playing tennis against fridges or something like that (he isn’t a skateboarder though).
Two teams of two took part. The team captains were Alan Davies (and this was long before he was a regular on QI) and Fred MacAulay (who now hosts every show on BBC Radio Scotland). Every week they would be joined by panellists from a variety of areas. Those who took part included Terry Wogan, along with rent-a-comics like Dominic Holland and Alistair McGowan (who as also done a lot of advert voiceover work), and that guy who was in that Blackcurrant Tango advert.
There were various rounds played, although they weren’t hugely original, and some critics thought that it was something of a surprise that Angus Deayton wasn’t credited as one of the writers, put it that way. These included what is this an advert for, what does this mystery object do, having to fill in the blanks in famous advertising slogans, having to guess the year, and so on. There were points on offer (if anybody got any of the answers right).
But really, this was an excuse to go through the archive and show some unusual adverts from years gone by, some famous, some not so famous (which makes it all rather strange that this was shown on BBC1, not exactly a channel that was known for featuring adverts). I’m sure it was hoped that The Best Show In The World… Probably would take off with viewers and be a long-running success.
But as it turned out, this was a one-series wonder that didn’t end up running for years on end. This is probably because the TV market was rather overcrowded with various comedy panel games at the time, and there have actually been a few other games based around this subject, including Commercial Break on Sky One (although I never watched that at the time). I am pleased that they had a go though.