Game Show Memories – Scavengers.

Scavengers (ITV, 1994-1995)

This might be the last game show that I’ll review for a while, but this one was something of a flop. I don’t mean to deliberately review shows that didn’t do well, and it might seem that I am scraping the barrel a little now, but there are some reasons why I do remember watching this one (although it seems that there weren’t too many others who did).

Scavengers made its debut on Saturday Night ITV the day after I left junior school, and I just couldn’t believe that it was finally all over. Before I started to think about what my next move would be, I thought that I would watch this new show to try and keep that all out of my mind. And also, this was a rather ambitious idea, sort of like Gladiators meets The Crystal Maze… but in the future!

There had been a lot of money spent on this, and there was a lot of hope that this would end up doing well. The host (I mean “commander”) was John Leslie, who had recently left Blue Peter, and was clearly wanting to try something a little different. Two teams of two took part. Inbetween lots of pointless running around, they had to play various challenges to score points.

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There was also some android-type woman (who was described by one critic as “Random Emotionless Robot #235”) who would explain the challenges, and give the scores, that were known as “salvage points”. Looking back at some of these now, they are a little similar to the “Super Round” that did for The Krypton Factor (although that’s still a year off at this point).

Once they had completed these challenges, they had to run back to their spaceship in time, otherwise they would lose all of their points, and probably be evaporated too. How intense! The highest-scorers went into the next round, and the winners of that would then go into the grand final, where they would win a nice big prize, probably.

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I did think that the whole thing was rather exciting, but only for about the first five minutes. Scavengers ended up doing so badly with viewers though that this was quickly taken off Saturday Nights, and the final ended up being shown on a summer Monday morning over a year after the first edition, of what unsurprisingly turned out to be the only series.

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This idea just didn’t catch on, and as for John Leslie trying to adopt a macho personality… probably best to stick to hosting Wheel Of Fortune. ITV wouldn’t really try another big Gladiators-style game until Ice Warriors a few years later, which made just about the same mistakes all over again, and even I didn’t watch that one. Oh dear.

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