More TV Memories – If I Ruled The World.

If I Ruled The World (BBC2, 1998-1999)

This is yet another comedy panel game, from the time when there were rather a lot of them around. If I Ruled The World was not a spin-off from Have I Got News For You as such, but this centred around the world of politics, which is amusing (sometimes). The host was Clive Anderson, who had recently been poached by the BBC, and he brought his chat show from Channel 4 along with him.

He also hosted this in a style rather similar to what he had perfected on Whose Line Is It Anyway? The devisor and producer was Richard Osman, who worked behind the scenes in TV for many years before Pointless started, I bet he didn’t realise at this time that he would become rather well-known for congratulating people on scoring only two points. And coincidentally this month is the 25th anniversary of the launch.

Two teams of two took part. The regular team captains were Graeme Garden (he used to be in The Goodies) and Jeremy Hardy (who I presume wasn’t related to Stuart N Hardy, the king of the mess-ups). Each week they would be joined by a comedian on their team, the Reds and the Blues (not to be confused with the red car and the blue car from the Milky Way advert).

There would be various rounds played in every edition. These included trying to defend policies that were indefensible, answering questions without saying “yes” or “no”, and stating that you disagree with various statements, however absurd they are. It really was a real opportunity to get on your soapbox, take your loudhailer out and waffle endlessly about everything.

There wasn’t a scoring system in place as such though. The studio audience all had keypads, and they could vote for which team they thought was doing the best. The final round usually consisted of shouting somewhat crowd-pleasing or maybe just mildly desperate policies that they hoped would swing the audience voters right at the end.

Maybe there was a chance that some of the voters could indeed defect (now there’s an idea of a game show). After the final vote was taken, the winning team was declared, and there were some rather close finishes. There were no prizes as such, just the pleasure of knowing you were the winner (if there are any winners in politics). If I Ruled The World ran for a couple of well-received series, and the format has done well in other countries too.


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