Here is someone who has had a double career in TV, combining comedy with game shows. Tim Vine started out in the early-90s as a stand-up comedian, and most of his quickfire material consisted of wordplay. Now I’ve always liked jokes like this, so I became a fan of his right away really. The first time that I can remember seeing him on the TV was in the mid-90s when he hosted BBC1 daytime game show Housemates.
I did enjoy this, and I decided that it would be worth following his career, however, there are no clips of this show online, it would be really good to see this again. He wasn’t afraid of appearing on Channel 5 either, in the late-90s he co-hosted their opening show, and he also hosted Whittle, which was essentially a low-budget version of ITV’s Everybody’s Equal.
Tim did his best to get the studio audience going, but as this was a game where they were the contestants too, he had to use plenty of jokes, as there was a chance that they could win enough money to buy two bottles of milk if they were lucky, so this was rather tense. Tim’s other work for Channel 5 included being a stand-in host on The Jack Docherty Show, and a Christmas comedy special.
Around the same time, he hosted Channel 4’s Fluke, which he devised himself, and was totally based on luck, with no skill or knowledge required to succeed. One week, the star prize all rested on whether the contestant knew what the colour of his pants were. Curiously, this was shown after Whittle, so for a short while you could which him host game shows on two different channels consecutively.
Back to his comedy work, he often collaborated with Lee Mack, in shows including The Sketch Show and Not Going Out, which were both very enjoyable. He also went on tour where he tried to pack in as many jokes as he could (he briefly held the world record for most jokes told in an hour), these shows were great fun too, and some have been released on DVD.
In more recent years, he has appeared in Dictionary Corner on Countdown, and he hosted daytime game show Don’t Blow The Inheritance, along with Football Genius. He then became a regular panellist on a revival of Celebrity Squares, well done to whoever made that decision. He’s also been a contestant on various shows including Celebrity Mastermind. His brother likes to host game shows too! All these years on it’s still great to see him on TV.