Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 18.

This is someone else who could be another one considered by some to be on the B-list of the history of great game show hosts, but for the sheer number of shows that he’s hosted, I wanted to include him, because well someone’s got to host of all those games on regional ITV in the afternoon or on little-watched satellite channels.

And I do think that he is rather quick-witted and is knowledgeable about pop culture (a friendship with Danny Baker might not be a coincidence here). He is also into his music, being a big fan of Elvis Presley, and he also owns all of Frank Sinatra’s records. He wants them back. I think he was also following me on Twitter, although he doesn’t seem to have said anything for a while, but that hasn’t influenced my decision to include him here at all, honest.

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Paul Ross had worked behind the scenes in TV for many years, but by the mid-90s, he seemed to be here, there and everywhere on game shows, as both a host and panellist. Well he has got five children who need feeding, and he didn’t deny that his answerphone message was “yes, I’ll do it”. Oh, and he’s the older brother of Jonathan as well, but you probably knew that.

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Highlights included Jeopardy! on Sky One, the third channel to attempt a version of this format that has been much more successful in America. And there was also Tellystack, UK Gold’s game about classic TV. All Over The Shop was BBC1’s daytime game featuring celebrity panellists. A Slice Of The Action was Carlton Food Network’s game all about cookery.

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And don’t forget Mind The Gap, a game based around the London Underground tube map. Throw in The Big Breakfast too, and much more besides, and would you believe that he packed all of that into barely three or four years. Going into the 2000s, he hosted It’s Anybody’s Guess, an enjoyable ITV game where the answers had to be estimated.

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Also interesting was No Win No Fee, the daytime BBC1 game where the prize money on offer was his fee for hosting the show, meaning that he could be the one leaving empty-handed. After overdoing it for a while, he finally seemed to ease up a little in the mid-2000s, and he then had some success in other areas away from TV game shows.

This has included going on to the shopping TV circuit, he did some time on Bid TV and Ideal World, and he just about lived to tell the tale. In more recent years, he has done some radio work, including BBC London and LBC, and at the moment he seemingly thinks nothing of doing the 1am shift five days a week on TalkSport, it’s good to know that he’s still out there.

Game Show Memories – A Slice Of The Action.

A Slice Of The Action (Carlton Food Network, 1999)

Two decades ago I got OnDigital, and for the first time the multi-channel world opened up to me at home. I have written a lot about the shows that I enjoyed on various channels including BBC Choice and UK Play, but I also watched a lot of the other channels, where they put a lot of effort into making original programming even though it was clear that there weren’t a huge amount of people watching.

Another channel that was part of the lineup was Carlton Food Network (later renamed Taste CFN in a campaign to revive the flagging channel which naturally killed it off all together in 2001). I didn’t watch this channel reguarly as I don’t have that much interest in cookery shows, but I noticed that there were a few food-themed game shows among the schedule. vlcsnap-01271

These included one hosted by Paul Coia (of Catchword fame) that I’ve forgotten the title of (that’s how much of an impact it made on me), and there was also this one. A Slice Of The Action was the self-styled crazy culinary show, hosted by Paul Ross (who is also following me on Twitter, hello Paul!). and two teams of three took part, consisting of two B-list celebrities (look, it’s that bloke who used to be in EastEnders!), alongside the team captains Amanda Grant and Andrew Nutter, who were also chefs. vlcsnap-01267

Although there were various rounds, there were a couple of unusual things that made the show stand out. Firstly, the two teams were always shown at slanted camera angles, and there was a rather nonsensical scoring system that seemed to be made up on the spot by Paul featuring the contents of a fruit bowl. So whenever a right answer was given, Paul would throw over a banana or an orange and so on, but I don’t know if two bananas had a greater value than two oranges. Don’t worry, I haven’t had sleepless nights about it. vlcsnap-01266

First up was the food file. Before the show, the contestants were asked about their favourite food. The other team then had to determine which of the statements given were correct. Next was guess the gadget, where teams had to identify a mystery kitchen utensil whilst wearing blindfolds and oven gloves. It’s worth guessing, there could be a melon at stake on this one. vlcsnap-01272

Then a meal had to be created against the clock, they had just three minutes. This is followed by the taste test, the one that Paul finds the most edible wins a bonus. This is then followed by a few more rounds. At the end, the losing team with the least fruit had to do a food forfeit such as tasting a hot pepper. A Slice Of The Action seemed to be repeated endlessly for a while, but even though it was never going to be the highest-rated show on TV it was always a fun way to pass the time.