Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 11.

This is some whose career has lasted for more than five decades, and it has had more ups and downs than most other TV hosts. Noel Edmonds joined BBC Radio 1 in the late-60s, and he was their youngest host, and I think he was the youngest host just about anywhere on BBC Radio at the time. By the 70s he had got into TV, including hosting Top Of The Pops, Swap Shop, and a revival of Juke Box Jury.

In the early-80s, he hosted The Late Late Breakfast Show, a live show where he seemed to have an interest in trying TV firsts and various pranks whilst wearing horrible sweaters. An attempt to break into American TV in the mid-80s was unsuccessful though. Going into the late-80s, he hosted Telly Addicts, Whatever Next…, and The Saturday Roadshow.

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In the early-90s he had one of the biggest successes of his career with Noel’s House Party, which at first was a very enjoyable live Saturday Night show, and went on to do very well in the ratings, and there was even a spin-off chart-topping single and everything. Into the mid-90s, he hosted Noel’s Telly Years, and the first edition of The National Lottery Live.

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The late-90s were not a good time for Noel though. After running for over a decade, the format of Telly Addicts was changed completely, and this only hastened the show’s end, rather than give it a new lease of life. And, Noel’s House Party, which had also gone through several format changes and long since stopped being the talk of viewers, came to an end as well.

Some people thought that he could’ve taken the opportunity to go on a rant, but his closing speech on that show did come across as suitably sincere. Not long after this, he left the BBC after 30 years, on a rather sour note it seems, and left the screen. It was about six years later that he finally returned when he was invited to host Channel 4’s new game show.

At first, Deal Or No Deal was an exciting and tense show, whether there was a rather large (or rather small) amount of money at stake. He then hosted Everyone’s A Winner, a live BBC1 Saturday Night show that made people feel that he had worked his way back up to the top and was back where he belonged, although this was only ever going to be an intentional one-off.

He also hosted a few shows for Sky, including the game show Are You Smarter Than A Ten-Year-Old? After a year or two, Deal Or No Deal was doing well, but this meant that this was rather milked for everything it was worth and viewers felt that this was overkill, along with endless specials, and the show was on Channel 4 every day of the week at one point.

As the years went by, Noel’s hosting style became increasingly eccentric too, taking the whole thing way too seriously, as if this was an underground cult that worshiped “blue” numbers, and along with the way he treated contestants, this began to be mildly unsettling. When Deal Or No Deal did finally come to an end, there had been over 3,000 editions, only Countdown has had more editions of a UK game show.

Channel 4 did promise him more shows though, there was also Cheap Cheap Cheap, which was rather risky and something a little different, this was an interesting idea that was half-game show half-sitcom, but it was so obvious that this was going to be a flop, and there was the one-off Sell Or Swap that was live and featured plenty of pointless running around.

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He then surprised viewers with his next move, although you’d think that his 50 years in TV and radio would equal a little more than coming last on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! After this, he just about retired from showbusiness, and although he has always been someone who divides opinion, I’m definitely on the side of thinking that he has been a great talent.

Game Show Memories – Deal Or No Deal 80s Love Mix.

Deal Or No Deal 80s Love Mix (Channel 4, 2012)

Deal Or No Deal was a long-running show, and it is rather clear that Channel 4 got the most out of it. There were over 3,000 editions, only Countdown exceeds this number for UK game shows. This means that sometimes there were opportunities to do something different, such as having themed weeks. These were rather creative, with the contestants wearing costumes and make-up, a change to the set design, and maybe even some bonus prizes on offer too.

In February 2012, there was the 80s Love Mix, which took the chance to embrace some of the most memorable pop culture from that decade, so naturally this caught my attention. And it’s weird to think that this is almost a decade ago in itself. By this point, Deal Or No Deal had been extended to an hour from the original 45 minutes, and the proceedings could sometimes become a little insufferable. As always, the host was Noel Edmonds, with a horrible shirt (but then isn’t it always). vlcsnap-00012

We begin with the 1982 Channel 4 symbol, and Noel is surrounded by the studio audience in brightly-coloured headbands in a Top Of The Pops style (even though he’d stopped hosting that show in 1978). We then go into a reworked version of the opening sequence, with a synth version of the theme, and a pink and yellow background with added visual effects, and then we enter The Dream Factory. vlcsnap-00013

There is a rather tasty £250,000 on offer, and they’ve even changed the colour of the usually red boxes. What contestant will be chosen today as they try to take on that pesky Banker? Well it’s Jim, who seems to be a cast member from Miami Vice. He is clearly up for this. Before the game, there’s a segment with a cassette tape on a necklace, and the recipient could win a holiday. vlcsnap-00009

The glitterball comes down as Jim makes his choice, and then they do a dance to Spandau Ballet’s “True”. Noel can’t believe it and is overcome. Now it’s time to play. A screen that says “Loading…” appears before the 22 money amounts are revealed. There are all kinds of strategies on offer, and Jim won’t use any of them. The first offer is £4,590, accompanied by an old computer game-type noise. No deal. vlcsnap-00005

Then the man himself Freddie Mercury (well probably) opens the box. The next offer is £9,045, and again it’s no deal. Then someone who looks suspiciously like Siouxsie Sioux opens the box. I don’t know if that’s who she is supposed to be done up as, but either way I never expected that to happen on a daytime game show, and I imagine the contestant didn’t expect such a thing either when she applied! vlcsnap-00417

And then we go to Adam Ant (?) who opens the box to reveal 10p, meaning that The Banker, who loves it when the contestants win small, won’t be given the pleasure by Jim! He’s losing all of his little ones, which is a good sign. The next offer is £17,000, and it’s no deal again. Now we have the mildly surreal sight of what appears to be Annie Lennox opening the box, and it’s only the £250,000! Jim’s game is in tatters! Oh, Annie. vlcsnap-00010

The offer is £13,000 for another no deal. There are now eight boxes remaining, so Jim must go wisely. Can he recover? The next offer is £3,000. And now it’s his friend’s turn to open her box. If she can predict the amount inside, she’ll win a holiday. But no, she doesn’t. How disappointing. And now the offer is £1,000. After a long time thinking, Jim finally says deal. Was that a good choice? vlcsnap-00006

When two boxes are remaining, they are both blues, including the 1p (could he have joined the others on the barge) and £250, so suddenly the deal was a good move. The final offer would’ve been £19.99, and he had £250 in his box all along. As Noel finishes off another show by waffling on about courage as usual, the credits appear in an old-style computer font which is a nice touch. Jim could’ve turned that grand into a million by now, but probably not.

Game Show Memories – Deal Or No Deal.

Deal Or No Deal (Channel 4, 2005-present)

A show that has been a big success around the world and is based on a format that originated in Holland, essentially a glamorised guessing game, but a very intriguing one. I remember when the show launched in this country it was sold on the point that every contestant who took part was guaranteed to go away with some amount of money, but they didn’t know how much it was going to be.

When Channel 4 launched their version of the show in 2005, the production team looked for a host that would have a suitable style for the show. I think that they made a great choice in Noel Edmonds, who it’s easy to forget now had barely appeared on TV for five years previously. He always engaged with the contestants really well and despite his horrible shirts cranked up the tension when necessary. vlcsnap-01030

There were 22 contestants each with one of the distinctive red boxes which were all randomly assigned one of the money amounts. One of them was then picked to take the walk of wealth and sit themselves down in the chair as they prepared themselves to take the challenge to win a potentially life-changing amount of money, as much as £250,000 could be won. vlcsnap-01032

They picked a box to be opened, and whatever money amount was contained inside is eliminated from the game so for goodness sake keep them low. After a while the phone rings and Noel has a short conversation with a mysterious banker figure who will give an offer. The contestant will want to win as much as they can by hopefully keeping the biggest value boxes in play, the banker will hope to have the pleasure of seeing them win a small amount. Noel then asks them the all-important big question, “deal or no deal?”. If they say “no deal” the game carries on, if they say “deal” they win the offer and the game continues to determine if it was the right decision. vlcsnap-01037

If they carry on until the end there are two boxes remaining. If they say “no deal” again they win the amount in their own box. There have been a lot of changes to the show over the years. When it launched it was 45 minutes long, but it has now been extended to an hour. There have also been variations on banker’s offers where it has also been possible to win holidays and other things. More recent innovations have included a 23rd box, which has the potential to double a contestant’s winnings, or make them lose everything, and button that could be used once which when pressed would require the banker to make an offer. vlcsnap-01033

Deal Or No Deal would go on to be a big success, and it’s the only daytime Channel 4 game show that’s come anywhere near being as durable as the classics Countdown and Fifteen-To-One. In its earliest days it was doing so well in the ratings that it seemed to be on every day at one point. Needless to say there have been a lot of tense finishes and only seven contestants out of almost 3,000 have gone all the way to win the top prize. vlcsnap-01034

Deal Or No Deal has also won several awards, and there has been a lot of merchandise released, including board games and interactive DVDs. There have also been a lot of creative themed specials of the show usually around Christmas and Halloween, including a few where the money amounts were specially changed, and even some celebrity specials. vlcsnap-01035

It is great to think that Deal Or No Deal has run for almost a decade now and indeed a lot of interesting contestants have won lots of money. I don’t watch the show much now and to look at recent episodes is a little odd, with everybody seemingly shrieking after every box is opened, and all other sorts of bizarre things like having to do a silly dance when the smallest amount of money on offer is eliminated from the game. For the impact it has had on TV though it is still an important and successful show.