Having done a large amount of game show reviews, I thought that I would also do some pieces about some of my favourite game show hosts. I planned to make this a Top 20, but this turned out to be a Top 21. Although I have enjoyed many hosts over the years, the criteria to feature included hosting several shows, and always enhancing them with their presence. I wanted to highlight the ones who I thought had longevity, authority, and personality. They were…
Jeremy Beadle, Gordon Burns, Paul Daniels, Noel Edmonds, Bruce Forsyth, Eamonn Holmes, Bob Holness, Matthew Kelly, Bob Monkhouse, Andrew O’Connor, Nicholas Parsons, Shane Richie, Paul Ross, Phillip Schofield, William G Stewart, Chris Tarrant, Tim Vine, Bradley Walsh, Richard Whiteley, Claudia Winkleman, Terry Wogan.
So I was rather interested when I noticed that the Daily Mirror‘s TV critic Ian Hyland recently did an article that revealed his Top 20 (actually 22) game show hosts. Either this is a coincidence, or I am more influential than I realised. I will list his choices, have a think about his views and reveal how many matches there are. These are the first ten.
Chris Tarrant. Match. Well I definitely agree with this one, he was a perfect fit for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. It’s just a shame that almost everything else he has hosted has flopped by comparison, despite his endless enthusiasm.
Magnus Magnusson. This is someone who I didn’t include because he is famous for mostly hosting only one show, although he took charge of Mastermind for 25 years, and always dealt well with the serious business.
Anne Robinson. When I was considering a female host to feature, this is someone who I wouldn’t really have chosen. There’s little doubt that her style on The Weakest Link caused a stir though and hadn’t really been seen before.
Bamber Gascoigne/Jeremy Paxman. These two have both hosted University Challenge for over 25 years. Although I never saw him at the time, I have been greatly impressed of what I have now seen of Bamber, an authoritative figure.
Bob Holness. Match. Best remembered now for Blockbusters, but he also did well on many other shows including Raise The Roof. And most correct answers would be greeted with a cheery “that’s the one, good heavens!”.
Jim Bowen. Again, Jim only missed out as he did little beyond Bullseye. But this is a show that is still frequently repeated, and seeing the mildly shambolic early series for the first time was a treat. His style made it look like he had never seen a game show in his life, and he greeted everything that happened with “marvellous!”. He also used to make gaffs like “and the question’s gone so I can’t ask the category”, but it was left in, because no-one would mind, and they didn’t.
Bob Monkhouse. Match. Well I would be very surprised if anyone didn’t include Bob on their list of favourites. The masterful mirth-maker entertained us for decades.
Henry Kelly. The host for Going For Gold for almost a decade (I didn’t see Game For A Laugh at the time though). If anyone could deal with asking people from Austria if they wanted to answer a general knowledge question in the afternoon, it was him.
William G Stewart. Match. Just made it for me as along with Fifteen-To-One he also hosted Famous People… Famous Places… He asked contestants thousands of tough questions, usually about the shadow cabinet and chemical elements. Had standards and was usually only impressed if someone scored over 300 points, which was rather difficult.
David Coleman. Although he hosted A Question Of Sport for many years, I consider him to be more of a sport host/commentator. Always good to watch though.
The rest will be revealed in part two…