The Satellite Game (BSB Galaxy, 1990)
This is another show that appeared on the short-lived BSB Galaxy channel. The Satellite Game (not to be confused with The Satellite Show that was on CBBC around the same time) was made by the same production team as Knightmare, which had been a big success for CITV, and is considered to be one of the classics by many people to this day.
Unlike that show though, this one featured more of an attempt to include computer-generated imagery, which was still developing rapidly at the time. The Satellite Game was set on the Enigma satellite, floating somewhere far away in space, and there was no in-vision host as such, but the “computer with a breathy female voice” tradition was definitely fulfilled here.
Three young contestants, or indeed, “commanders” took part. Hopefully they would be ready to tackle all of these aliens, and still be home in time for dinner. They looked like they had been covered in tinfoil, and then strapped to a chair (and I’m trying to forget that the majority of them would be about 45 now). Will they be able to make the characters reveal the secrets to let them crack the codes?
They have to guide a small droid called Lari around various places, making sure that the obstacles were navigated, and damage was avoided. They better concentrate, press the right buttons, and there was a lot of familiar-sounding “left… left… right” commands. Hopefully all of the available data will lead the computer to indicate that they have succeeded.
At least there wasn’t a scary skull thing falling apart that showed their progress! Some missions lasted longer than the 25-minute slot, but they could return for the next edition, if they remembered to recharge the batteries, and some teams appeared for three or four shows. The some production team were also behind the similar Cyberzone and Virtually Impossible.
This was a show that was ambitious but didn’t attract too much attention. The question that I am coming to really is, if I did have access to this channel at the time, would I have enjoyed this? Well yes, I think I would, although I think that just about everyone involved had to concede that this was always going to be second-best compared to Knightmare.