Game Show Memories – Don’t Give Up Your Day Job.

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job (BBC2, 1995)

This is another example of coming across a game show that had an interesting description, and unexpectedly finding an edition online. Don’t Give Up Your Day Job was the talent show with a difference. This was shown late on Friday nights, in the slot that was usually occupied by Fantasy Football League at this time, and this was an attempt at doing something for a similar type of audience.

The host was Paul Brophy. A couple of years before this show, he was known for working on CBBC. He provided the voice for the short-lived computer-generated floating cat head thing Ratz, who appeared in the first series of Live & Kicking, and also the last days of the Broom Cupboard, but viewers didn’t take to him as fondly as Edd The Duck that’s for sure.

He was also one of the hosts of the early series of Fully Booked, playing characters like Alistair McAlistair or whatever his name was, and he hosted The End Of The Show Show, so this could be considered to be something of a surprise career change. His catchphrase was “I’m Paul Brophy”, and that really got the studio audience suitably excited.

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job aimed to give new talent a go, whether they were comedians, singers, dancers, and so on. They would send in their tapes of their performances, and they would range from awesome to awful. There would also be a panel of three celebrities who judged them. I presume that these changed every week, but you could end up with unlikely combinations like Jim Bowen and Craig Charles on the panel.

As well as all this, there was also a band, and all of the acts eagerly watching on and waiting for their verdict, I don’t know how they managed to fit everyone in. Tapes would be put into the video recorder, their day job would be revealed, along with what their act was, and the panel had to press the button on their remote control when they’d had enough (accompanied by a comedy “honk” noise).

When all three had pressed their button, the tape stopped immediately (there was a similar idea to this on ITV’s Night Network when they reviewed music videos). There were usually six acts in every edition, and viewers had the chance to vote for their favourite. The weekly winner received the terrible trophy of a golden tape on a stand thing (Paul Brophy, terrible trophy, you’ve gotta have a system).

The worst act of the week though was hit with a hammer (their tape that is, not the actual person). I don’t think that there was a final with an overall series winner though. And Paul also liked to take the opportunity to randomly burst into song. There was only one series of Don’t Give Up Your Day Job, and none of the acts, or indeed Paul, were ever seen on TV again.

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