Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 1.

As I have now reviewed just about all of the game shows that I have wanted to, I thought that I would take a look at the careers of some of my favourite game show hosts too. Qualification is to have hosted at least a couple of shows that I have liked, and I’m not sure how many will feature in this series yet, maybe a dozen or so. Let’s begin with one of the big ones.

Bob Monkhouse had one of the longest careers in British TV. As long ago as the 50s he appeared in comedy shows and films (he was in the first Carry On), and he hosted various game shows that don’t seem to have been that great from what I’ve read. By the 70s, Bob was on ITV and hosting The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares (or “Bob’s Big Box Game” as he preferred to call it).

Into the 80s, Bob hosted ITV’s Family Fortunes, and some could argue that he was at his smarmiest, but he definitely knew how to run a show by this point. After the setback of his unexpected departure, he moved to the BBC, and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as this brought us some of his best work, including his comedy chat show which featured a lot of talent, and Bob’s Full House.

Now this is one of my favourite game shows of any era. The music, the set design, the game… Bob made it look easy, and was hugely entertaining whilst doing so. He also went on to host a revival of Opportunity Knocks which was fun too. By the early-90s, Bob went over to ITV again, to host The $64,000 Question, the big money game that couldn’t give away big money, and Bob’s Your Uncle, a rather silly game for newlyweds.

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By the time that the final series of The $64,000 Question went out on Sunday afternoons, Bob did seem bogged down. HIs next series was a revival of Celebrity Squares. It was said that he didn’t know much about the celebrities taking part, when you would’ve thought that as someone who had such a keen interest in comedy (and tried to record every comedy show on TV) he would’ve chosen them himself to help nurture new talent.

But then his career received a big boost after his An Audience With… reminded people of his skills as a comedian. And along with a much-acclaimed autobiography, and some more great comedy shows, Bob was suddenly back on top. He finished off by hosting the daytime version of Wipeout, which ran for hundreds of editions. And it was by this point that to some extent he finally felt he had been accepted as the grand veteran of both game shows and TV comedy.

By the time that Bob went in 2003, he was praised for his abilities as a game show host, and as a comedian who had a remarkable recall for witty jokes and a marvellous mirth-maker, he remains much-missed. Bob had always intended to be in showbusiness for the long haul and be the one that endured with viewers. He wanted to be as famous at 75 as he was at 25, and I definitely think that he achieved that.

Game Show Memories – Bob’s Your Uncle.

Bob’s Your Uncle (ITV, 1991-1992)

As I am currently taking a look back at some game shows hosted by none other than Bob Monkhouse during his long career I’ve decided that it’s now time to review Bob’s Your Uncle. This was a Saturday night show where three newlywed couples battled it out by playing various fun games to be able to compete for the star prize. vlcsnap-01132

The show would begin with Bob and yet more of his great jokes. Then the couples would come on stage one by one to talk to Bob and play the first round. Some people are asked a question and then we see some of their responses. If the couple guess what the most popular answer was out of the choices then they win something that will come in very handy for the next round. vlcsnap-01133

The show becomes rather silly now when in the next round the teams enter the Sea of Matrimony. All three couples are now in a boat with holes in it in a pool. If they got the question in the first round right they have a water pump which will help bail them out. If they got the question wrong though they have a heavy cuddly toy which will weigh them down. They are then asked more questions. If they get one wrong, another person joins them in the boat which could cause even more problems. The first team’s boat to capsize and leave them with that sinking feeling is eliminated from the game. vlcsnap-01134

After the break, the two remaining teams return to the studio to take part in the next game. There are pictures of ten celebrities and then a statement is given, which is true for some celebrities and false for others. The teams then have to run around for 90 seconds to try and slot the pictures in the correct places, scoring points for every one they get correct. The highest scoring team goes into the next round. vlcsnap-01135

The one remaining team win £1,000 and then take part in another physical game. This one features comedy oversize props and they have to complete a challenge in two minutes such as hammering some nails. If they are successful, their money is increased to £3,000 and they can now play for the star prize in the final. vlcsnap-01136

The final was very similar to another Bob-hosted game show The Golden Shot. The couple had 30 seconds to hit the target, having to “put the dart in the heart” as Bob described it, with one instructing the other who was blindfolded. If they did it they would win the star prize of a car. But if not, they just took the money that they had won. vlcsnap-01137

Bob’s Your Uncle was produced by Central and ran for two series on ITV. I must admit this isn’t one of the more fondly remembered game shows that Bob hosted but I do remember watching it myself and enjoying some of the creative and unusual games, and Bob was as good value as ever. There is no Wikipedia entry for the show though surprisingly. After the show ended Bob went on to host a revival of Celebrity Squares and that will be the next game show that I’ll review.