Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 14.

This is someone who had one of the most successful careers in TV and radio of anybody, and there isn’t really too much that I could tell you about him that you wouldn’t already know. But I wanted to include him in this series, because like many other people I’m sure, I always enjoyed his work. Terry Wogan‘s hosting career covered a lot of areas, including plenty of game shows.

He started out in Ireland, and shortly after, in the mid-60s, he hopped over the water to the UK. One of his earliest TV successes was Blankety Blank in the late-70s. Now it could be said that it seemed that he didn’t seem to know what was happening half the time, including trying to interact with the celebrity panellists, but this was a game where it wasn’t too much of a problem, as this wasn’t to be taken too seriously. Apart from the end, where a dishwasher could be won and it got very exciting.

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For some reason, there was a repeat run of some of his editions of Blankety Blank almost two decades later, he returned with some newly-made introductions (and his microphone), and he still seemingly couldn’t make any sense of it. He also hosted A Song For Europe, the competition that would determine who would represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest, which was definitely a great honour. And of course, he would also commentate on the main contest for several years.

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In the early-80s, there was the launch of his chat show that ran for about a decade, and for seven years was shown live three times a week, offering his now familiar style of wit. By the time this ended in the early-90s, he went on to other shows including Auntie’s Bloomers and its several spin-offs. And by this time he was as popular as ever on the radio in the BBC Radio 2 breakfast slot. In the mid-90s, he hosted Do The Right Thing, an interesting game based around debating moral dilemmas.

Going into the 2000s, he hosted a live show on Channel 5 alongside Gaby Roslin, that was a lot of fun. By the end of this decade though, he didn’t have as much TV work as he used to. He departed as Eurovision commentator, although it sounded like he had become sick and tired of the whole thing, complaining of political voting and dodgy songs, and he wasn’t seen much beyond his annual contribution to Children In Need.

He did go on to do another game show though, and surprisingly this was on Channel 4 in a daytime slot. Perfect Recall was a game that was a test memory, and by this point he had been doing this type of thing for five decades, making it look easy. When he died, it really was one of those moments where you realised that things wouldn’t be the same again, and we would’ve been infinitely poorer without his contribution.

Game Show Memories – Do The Right Thing.

Do The Right Thing (BBC1, 1994-1995)

This is a game show (just about) that was shown on weekend nights in the mid-90s, and it was hosted by Terry Wogan whose long-running primetime chat show had come to an end by this point, and this was seemingly an attempt at finding a new popular format. It was also another production by Action Time who were rather prolific in TV game shows around this time.

Do The Right Thing was a game show that was based on a Brazilian format which was all about moral dilemmas, such as “would you sell your tawdry little story to the newspapers?”, and the opening sequence seemed to suggest that people could have a difficult decision was to whether they would listen to the angel or the devil or their shoulder in such a situation. vlcsnap-00136

There would be a pre-recorded sequence shown which would establish the situation. Terry would then get the opinions of the people in the studio, beginning with the three celebrity panellists. These changed every week, but Frank Skinner did take part regularly, and the show would have a wider scope of panellists than most, as along with comedians, politicians and newspaper columnists would also often take part. vlcsnap-00102

There would then be a segment where Terry asked the studio audience to “vote with your feet”, and they would all have to get up and walk over to a row of seats that said “yes” or “no”, and Terry would then whip his microphone out and ask a few of them why they made such a decision. The story would then continue to play out, until we got to just before the end, at which point the viewers at home could get involved. dtrt3

The phonelines would be opened for about five minutes, and viewers could vote for either “yes” or “no” to confirm what the final decision would be. Two endings had been made. The one that received the most votes would be shown, with the other remaining unseen. When time was up the results were revealed, and then we would see the chosen ending. Had we done the right thing? Terry would introduce the ending by solemnly turning to the camera and saying “I hope you can live with yourselves…”. vlcsnap-00096

Do The Right Thing ran for a couple of series (the first was on Saturdays in a 45-minute slot, the second on Fridays in a 30-minute slot), and while it didn’t cause much of a stir, it was definitely an interesting idea which kept people guessing to the end. Once again, it is a show that doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry and isn’t much remembered now, but I do remember watching it at the time, and Terry Wogan was as ever a reliable host who kept everything running smoothly.