More TV Memories – The Saturday Roadshow.

The Saturday Roadshow (BBC1, 1988-1990)

The Saturday Roadshow is the second part of the Noel Edmonds Saturday Night trilogy (the first part is The Late Late Breakfast Show which ran on BBC1 from 1982-1986 but I never watched that one so I don’t have any plans to review it). It is a little odd to realise that this show isn’t as remembered as its successor Noel’s House Party, especially as most of the features that would make that show a success were established in this one. Even the theme music is similar.

There were some differences though. Firstly, this show was pre-recorded, and it was claimed that every week it was coming from a different location, such as the Channel Tunnel, or maybe even a space station, with Noel insisting that they were travelling up and down the country and beyond to host the show from unusual places, when it was actually always the same redesigned studio set. vlcsnap-00174

Features included Wait Till I Get You Home!, where parents of children had to guess the answers that they would give to Noel’s questions to win prizes. The gunge tank was also featured in the game In Other Words. A contestant would be teamed with a celebrity and they would have to work together to solve word puzzles against the clock. If they don’t get enough right in time, I’m sure you can guess what happens next. vlcsnap-00176

Another feature was Clown Court, where a celebrity guest would be shown some of the amusing mistakes that they had made on TV over the years, and they would be made to defend them by Noel playing a judge in a court setting, and Noel would also take part in various silly comedy sketches along with celebrities including the likes of Les Dennis and Shane Richie. vlcsnap-00173

One of the most popular features was where a practical joke would be played on a celebrity and they would receive a Gotcha Oscar from Noel (later renamed simply a Gotcha). This turned out to be another long-running feature and inevitably the celebrities would line up to get their own back on Noel at the end of the series. Let’s see how he likes it! vlcsnap-00171

The Saturday Roadshow ran for three series and I do remember watching some editions and enjoying them, I do think it is a show that deserves more acknowledgement in Noel’s long TV career. It was successful enough to be relaunched in 1991 as Noel’s House Party, where Noel would now greet us from the same location every week, coming live from his big house in Crinkley Bottom. How terrific.


More TV Memories – They Think It’s All Over.

They Think It’s All Over (BBC1, 1995-2006)

Is this a game show or a comedy show? Well I suppose it’s one of those that’s both really. They Think It’s All Over was a show that took an amusing look at everything to do with sport. It was originally on BBC Radio 5 from 1992-1994 and hosted by Des Lynam, but when it transferred to TV Nick Hancock took over as host, and it was often seen by viewers as a much livelier alternative to A Question Of Sportvlcsnap-00039

Two teams of three took part. Originally the team captains were cricketer David Gower and footballer Gary Lineker, who were given a chance to show off their humour. They would be joined by the comedians Lee Hurst (who also runs a comedy club called the Backyard near where I live) and Rory McGrath, plus an additional panellist who was usually another sportsperson or comedian. vlcsnap-00036

There were a lot of rounds played over the years. These included having to decide why a football team celebrated a goal in the way that they did, having to identify what was happening in a memorable sporting moment, trying to work out how unusual injuries happened, and a picture of a face that had been made up from three different sportspeople and they had to guess who they all were. vlcsnap-00031

One of the most memorable rounds would have to be Feel The Sportsman. Two of the three panellists would be blindfolded, and then they would have to guess who the special guest was by touch alone which always led to some funny moments. The final round usually consisted of one of the panellists having to give a clue to a name of a famous sportsperson. This was always good because most of the names were ridiculous and because they were against the clock they would desperately do anything to try and win right at the end. vlcsnap-00037

They Think It’s All Over became a very popular show in the late-90s, and there were some special editions released on VHS featuring some highlights plus some previously unseen moments along with a book, although I don’t have any of those myself. The show ended up running for just over a decade on TV, but unfortunately by the end it had began to run out of steam. vlcsnap-00038

Lee Hurst left to be replaced by Jonathan Ross, and the team captains constantly changed for the last few series after the departures of Gower and Lineker. Even Nick Hancock didn’t stay around to the end, with the final series being hosted by Lee Mack (who I think is the only person to have hosted all of the “big three” BBC comedy panel games, the others being Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks), but I had stopped watching regularly by this point. However, at its peak it was always an enjoyable watch.

Game Show Memories – Telly Addicts Christmas Special.

Telly Addicts Christmas Special (BBC1, 1989)

Telly Addicts is one of my favourite game shows from the 80s and 90s, and there were a lot of Christmas specials made, so here’s a review of the one that was shown in 1989. They even made a special version of the opening theme and everything. Noel Edmonds and one of his horrid jumpers hosted as usual, and for this special two teams of celebrities took part. They might regularly appear on the TV, but do they know anything about the programmes? vlcsnap-00180

The first team was the Crackers, who were Frank Carson, Liza Goddard, George Layton and Graeme Garden. They were up against the Clowns, who were Chris Tarrant (almost a decade before he hosted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire), Barry Cryer, Jessica Martin, and Jim Bowen, marvellous! The usual rounds that were played during this era of the show featured and it was time to let battle commence. vlcsnap-00176

The first round featured questions on classic British comedy shows, and even at this early stage Noel saw that it was going to be a vicious fight to the very climax. In the second round, various people describe famous TV personalities and the teams have to guess who they are. They’re also not entirely convinced that the contributors are genuine despite Noel’s insistence. Where do they find them from? vlcsnap-00179

We then went into the Channel Hopping round, where each contestant had to pick a number from a choice of 12 on offer and answer the question it concealed by pressing the appropriate number on their hoofer-doofer, meaning they had to do all kinds of unlikely things such as guess the celebrity from a picture of their legs, and the famous “sing the sig” round, where they had to sing a famous TV theme and Noel would be very fussy about whether they performed it well enough to earn the point. vlcsnap-00177

There was then a round with questions on classic US comedy shows, followed by Titles And Tunes, where one opening sequence of a TV show was accompanied by the theme to another, and they had to guess both. It’s now time to go into the final round which is in the spotlight, and by this point Noel is claiming that people are passing out with excitement. 12 questions in 60 seconds, so three each, and they will begin, if Frank will ever stop talking. vlcsnap-00178

It was very close between the two teams throughout the whole of the show, and would you believe it, it ends as an 18-18 draw, meaning everyone ends up pleased with how it turned out, including Noel who spent a little too long laughing at most of their answers. This was a fun variation on this classic game show. I still can’t believe that I never got the board game for Christmas…

The Comedy Vault – The Brittas Empire Christmas Special.

The Brittas Empire Christmas Special (BBC1, 1994)

The Brittas Empire is one of my favourite sitcoms from the 90s and there were a couple of Christmas specials made, so here’s a review of the one shown in 1994 called “In The Beginning”. This episode is set at the end of 2019 which would have been 25 years away when it was originally shown, but now is barely a couple of years in the future which is rather remarkable.

Every year on New Year’s Eve the staff reunite at a castle in Scotland to remember when the Leisure Centre opened which was the time that they first met one another, with this occasion being the 30th anniversary, although most of them have gone to have success in much different areas in the years that have passed. For example, Gavin is now a politician, Carole is a concert pianist, and Tim is a novelist. vlcsnap-00171

There are some continuity errors in this episode. Firstly, it states that the Leisure Centre opened in late-1989 when it was early-1991, and the flashback also features the series five cast, at least one of which didn’t appear in the first series. We discover what happened at the start, Christmas 1989 has just passed, but there has been a heavy snowstorm, and no-one is able to leave. How will they fill the time? vlcsnap-00174

As the days pass, they begin to despair. They are beginning to run out of food, it is still very cold, Colin is having trouble with his boiler, and Mr Brittas is struggling to keep the morale up. They then realise that a lorry that crashed outside was containing costumes for a play, and they will come in very useful. And they see in the New Year together by having a party, before the snow finally clears and they can go home. vlcsnap-00164

The difficult situation helped them to bond though, and despite some of them now being successful millionaires, everyone still takes the time to fly round the world to attend this special occasion every year to meet old friends including Mr Brittas who now has a knighthood, seemingly for his services to solving all the world’s problems. Well, it was his dream. vlcsnap-00162

I’m fairly sure that this was supposed to be the final episode of The Brittas Empire, as everything had been concluded, but due to popular demand Mr Brittas actually returned to cause chaos for another two series, and this was also the final episode that was written by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss who were also the creators of the show. Earlier this year the cast of The Brittas Empire reunited 20 years after the show came to an end, it was great seeing them back together again, who knows if there will ever be any more episodes?

Game Show Memories – Bob’s Full House Christmas Special.

Bob’s Full House Christmas Special (BBC1, 1989)

One of my most popular blog pieces over the past year has been the one looking back at Bob’s Full House, and good thing too, because it’s one of my favourites and it really is one of the all-time classic game shows. I wondered how I could write anything else about it, so I’ve decided that because we’ve reached that time of year again I’ll review a Christmas special.

There were several Christmas specials made during the show’s run, and I’ll be reviewing the one shown in 1989 which was 40 minutes long. Bob’s Full House had been running for over five years by this point, and it would come to an end on BBC1 about a month later in January 1990. The game was the same but four celebrities took part to show off their quiz knowledge and to try and win some prizes and money for their chosen charities. vlcsnap-00003

They are Ken Bruce, who was a morning presenter on BBC Radio 2 at the time (and he still is), Debbie “no relation” Greenwood, Pamela Armstrong, and Adrian Love, another Radio 2 presenter. Bob comes on and he really has settled into the rhythm of hosting this show now, and he gives us another masterclass, beginning by saying “Merry Christmas to all our readers!” curiously, before informing us that they got the decorations at Woolworths. bob3

In the first round, they have to light their four corners. As well as playing for prizes for charity if they won the round, they would also win £10 for every number they lit, so try not to get wallied. Adrian wins this round, and selects some early learning toys from the prizes on offer, something that is definitely going to bring some seasonal splendour to the youngsters. vlcsnap-00031

In the second round, they have to light their middle line, and it’s time to bring out the Monkhouse Master Card with various categories. If they pick their Lucky Number and get the question right, they win a bonus £50. Adrian wins this round too, and selects what is vaguely described as “a karaoke” as his next prize from the selection. Well it is the latest craze. Adrian has now built up a big lead, will that give him an advantage going into the final round? vlcsnap-00036

This is the round on the buzzer where they have to light the rest of the numbers on their card. Adrian gets a full house and is the overall winner, beating Pamela by a margin of two, and this time he chooses as his prize what is simply called “a computer screen”, how terrific. Can Adrian now sweep the board by winning the star prize in the Golden Card Game? vlcsnap-00043

Adrian will be playing for a holiday like what usually happens in this round, but it won’t be for him, it’ll be for some people who will be helped out by the charity that he is representing. It’s a close finish, but Adrian is a winner, and he’s won someone a holiday to Florida, hooray! And he also added another £165 to the money he had already won! Bob then decides to light all the other contestant’s cards anyway to give them a bonus £150. This was another very enjoyable edition of what was always an entertaining show. vlcsnap-00046

Game Show Memories – Call My Bluff.

Call My Bluff (BBC2, 1965-1988, 1994, BBC1, 1996-2005)

It’s time to review another celebrity panel game. Call My Bluff launched on BBC2 in the mid-60s and it became very popular, but the era I will be looking back at is when the show was revived on BBC1 in the mid-90s and was hosted by Bob Holness until 2003. Bob of course also hosted Blockbusters which is one of my all-time favourite game shows, and it was a pleasure seeing him on TV again.

This version of Call My Bluff was shown in a weekday daytime slot. Two celebrity teams of three took part, and when the revival began they were captained by regulars Sandi Toksvig and Alan Coren. This was a show that was all about some of the more unusual words in the English dictionary. A bell would be rung by Bob and then the word would appear on the screen. vlcsnap-00006

All three of the panellists on the team would then give a definition of what the word actually meant, and some of these could be rather far-fetched, but only one of them would be telling the truth. A member of the opposing team would then be challenged to determine which one of the definitions is correct. The chosen panellist then reveals on a piece of paper whether they gave the true definition, or if it was a bluff. If they get it right, they score one point. If they don’t, the opposing team gets the point on offer. vlcsnap-00012

After this, Bob would ring his bell to reveal the next word and the cycle begins again. There would be about six words in every show so every panellist would get at least one chance at trying to find the right definition. And although points were on offer, this was one of those shows where it didn’t really matter that much who won as long as everyone joined in. vlcsnap-00013

The revival ran for almost a decade on BBC1 to go along with the almost 25 years it ran on BBC2, and Call My Bluff is among the small amount of UK game shows of which there have been over 1,000 editions produced, and as it ran for a combined 35 years on TV it was definitely an idea that endured. I only really got to watch the show in the 90s during the school holidays sometimes but I do remember enjoying it. vlcsnap-00011

One interesting thing about the show was seeing who the panellists where. For example you knew that there were laughs guaranteed when comedians like Tim Vine who always had funny stories to tell were taking part. Another impressive thing was the remarkable amount of strange words that were featured where it really would be a challenge to determine the correct answer. It was a show where you could learn some quirky things and it had the “really, is that right, I never knew that” factor. vlcsnap-00005

Game Show Memories – Takeover Bid.

Takeover Bid (BBC1, 1990-1991)

When I put together my tribute to Bruce Forsyth a while ago, I realised that I still hadn’t reviewed his game show Takeover Bid, which was the first show that Bruce hosted after he returned to the BBC in 1990, so here it is. One of the highlights was the opening of the show which was as fun to watch as the actual game. Bruce would come on and try to throw a hat and umbrella on to a hatstand. Sometimes he would succeed, and sometimes he wouldn’t, and wondering what would happen was rather enjoyable. vlcsnap-00003

Bruce’s store was now open and three contestants took part, hoping to bag themselves some bargains, because there were plenty of prizes on offer. The first round was called Fact Or Fib. The contestant was given a choice of one of four prizes worth different values to bid, with the the four star prize being rather decent, and the one star prize being rather daft and useless. If they got the true or false statement right, they keep the prize which would help them in the next round, and they get a bonus prize too! If they got it wrong, they lost the prize that they bid, which could be to their disadvantage. vlcsnap-00148

The second round was Crazy Cryptics. The contestants now answer quirky questions against one another with six categories available, to earn the chance to steal prizes from their opponents. Bruce always encouraged them to be ruthless with their choices at this point, as owning the better value prizes really was worth it. This was because the contestant whose prizes had the highest value of stars at the end of the round went into the final. To help them out, at the start of the final, they are given a bonus ten stars, with their stars total then being rounded up to the nearest five. vlcsnap-00149

The final was Star Spin. There was a wheel with ten categories on it. The five-pointed star was then spun, and the five categories that the points were at when it stopped would be the ones that questions would be asked on. The contestant picked a category and could bid an amount of stars on getting the question right, winning them for a right answer, and losing them for a wrong one. If they had got at least 100 stars by the time they reached the final question, they could gamble for the star prize, which was usually a holiday, plus keeping all the prizes that they had already won. vlcsnap-00154

A couple of months after Takeover Bid launched, Bruce hosted his first edition of The Generation Game for 13 years, which turned out to be much more successful, because it was definitely the better of the two shows. However, although Takeover Bid wasn’t a huge success it still ran for a couple of series in the early-90s and it was always a pleasure seeing Bruce do his thing.