Blam!!! (Sky One, 2000-2001)
I thought that I would review another show about computer games. There have been various shows going back to the 80s, and although I didn’t watch all of them at the time, the early-2000s were something of a boom period for this genre. Shows included Channel 4’s Bits, even ITV got in on the action with Cybernet (although it was shown very late at night), and various other channels including Bravo also had dedicated shows.
I remember in an issue of PlayStation World magazine (around the time I started to buy it because I had a shiny new PS2 in those days) there was a look back at this genre, reminiscing about such attempts over the years to let viewers know more about the world of games including Bad Influence! and GamesMaster. The feature also looked at a new show that was coming that aimed to bring the genre in a new era and be more exciting than most.
This was Blam!!! (three exclamation marks?), which was shown on Sky One on weekend mornings (this channel having already brought us the memorable Games World, which I definitely enjoyed). The host was Julia Reed, whose profile at this time was on the up after she replaced Philippa Forrester as the co-host of Robot Wars which was doing well, and it looked like she was on the brink of becoming a big TV name. She was slightly more glamorous than the likes of Andy Crane and Dominik Diamond too.
What did Blam!!! have to offer viewers then? Well there was plenty. There were the usual reviews (including the new PS2), but along with this, we were also told how much the games were worth and what website you could buy them from, meaning that technically the show was classed as advertising, which was a little odd as I always thought that there was supposed to be a clear difference between what the shows and adverts are. Was this an audition for a shopping channel maybe?
And there were also charts, interviews, along with various challenges where gamers who thought that they knew a thing or two showed off their skills in a competition, while Julia walked around in a big black coat. Despite all of this, Blam!!! didn’t really change the genre that much at all, it ended after only a short while, and I don’t remember seeing Julia on TV much after this.
Although it was a worthwhile idea, Blam!!! joined the fairly long list of those frustrating attempts at trying to bring gaming more into the mainstream that didn’t really succeed, and unsurprisingly there isn’t a huge amount out there about the show online. But looking back now, it’s another reminder of just how quickly the games industry changes, as well as TV.