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 – All Over The Shop.

All Over The Shop (BBC1, 1997-1999)

When it comes to game shows I do have a “try anything once” attitude, whenever I see a new game show announced because I am a big fan of them I always try to watch at least one or two editions to determine if I like it. When daytime weekday show All Over The Shop launched I was still at school so I set the video to record a few episodes. I found the old tape that they were on recently so I might as well review this show although I imagine it is little remembered now so here’s what happened.

All Over The Shop was hosted by Paul Ross (who had about five other shows on the go at the time) and it was a lighthearted consumer game show where various rounds were played to determine if you really do get value for money. Two teams of two celebrities took part every day, and lots of people took part, and if the names of people who were around at the time such as Ben Onwukwe, Howard Stableford, Annabel Giles, Mickey Hutton and Simon Biagi mean anything to you then that will give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. vlcsnap-01182

In the first round a classic comedy clip from a show such as One Foot In The Grave was shown and the teams were asked what the character’s rights were if the situation had happened for real. In the next round the teams are given a bizarre object each and they have to work out what it is used for. vlcsnap-01184

Then there was a round where there were three items, and the price that they cost when they were first released. The teams had to match the correct price with the correct item for the points. The most memorable round was the taste test, three different items of the same thing such as orange juice or soup, usually a supermarket own-brand version, a branded version and a high-end branded version. In this round all the items can be tasted and the teams have to put the prices next to them, again with points on offer for correct matches, and the results were often surprising. vlcsnap-01185

The final round was on the buzzer, with questions usually about advertising. Get the question right and the team can answer a bonus question. Get the first question wrong though and the bonus goes over to the other team. At the end of this the winning team with the most points is revealed. There are no prizes on offer, just the hope that everyone had a good time. vlcsnap-01183

All Over The Shop wasn’t too bad as far as these shows go and it definitely gave the show on ITV at 9:25 a run for its money as it was shown in the same timeslot on BBC1. Although there were a couple of other game shows with a similar format, the show hasn’t been seen since it ended in 1999 and I’m fairly sure it hasn’t been repeated on any cable or digital channels since, and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry which is rather disappointing because it was good fun.