Game Show Memories – Demolition.

Demolition (Five, 2002-2003)

This is a game show that was on Five around the same time as Swapheads and Topranko!, when there had recently been a relaunch, and they were trying out a few new quirky ideas. One of the things that attracted me to Demolition was that the host was Emily Booth. This was about a year or two after Bits had ended, which was the computer games show that she co-hosted on Channel 4, and I was pleased to see her on TV again.

She only really appeared at the beginning and end though, as the game was the main focus. Demolition was made on location in Australia, and was described as “the show that brings you crazed destruction on a grand scale”. Two teams of three took part, with names like The Blue Panthers and The Barroom Brits. They had to take an item, and break it all down, so it managed to fit in a much smaller area, against the clock.

One example was having to take the contents of a barroom and condense this into as small pieces as possible so all of this could fit into three barrels. I also remember one game where the pieces had to be small enough to be pushed through the door of a letterbox. There were various tools available to do this, including saws and hammers.

There were also some referees who looked out for health and safety, so if someone was using the wrong equipment, had forgotten to put protective things like goggles or gloves on, or held their hammer the wrong way up, they would be penalised by rather theatrically having a red card shown to them, and they would have to sit out ten minutes.

And there were also some hard hat-wearing women who would occasionally check the progress of the teams. Whoever was determined to be ahead would receive some bonus tools. All of this was accompanied by some breathless commentary that seemed more suitable for wrestling coverage or something like that. At least nobody accidentally sliced their head off.

I’m pretty sure that the team that demolished the most won a trophy, and I don’t think this was a knockout tournament. There was only one series of Demolition, which didn’t seem to get that much of a positive response from critics, who seemed to think that this was all rather noisy and absurd. This was shown on Five in primetime, but in the quiet post-Christmas/pre-New Year slot. I think that some editions might have also been shown on satellite channel Bravo too.

More TV Memories – Danger! 50,000 Volts/Danger! Incoming Attack.

Danger! 50,000 Volts (Channel 5, 2002)/Danger! Incoming Attack (Five, 2003)

This is yet another show that had a rather quirky idea. Danger! 50,000 Volts was a half-comedy half-documentary, and it was up to viewers to determine how seriously they should take everything that was featured. This was something of a parody of those outdoor survival series, where slicing your own arm off, or eating some maggots, may be the only thing that you can do if you end up in some trouble.

The host was Nick Frost, who was best-known at the time for being among the cast of sitcom Spaced. Nick seemed to be rather fearless, throwing himself into several sticky situations, and revealing how to get out of them. If you were ever going to fall into some icy water, be struck by lightning, or pierce your foot on a spike, then advice was available, including “if you suffer a direct lightning hit, expect to suffer external burns, hair loss, memory loss, loss of libido, and death”.

There were also several survival experts who appeared to help Nick, who were introduced with some odd facts. Along with their occupation, we would also discover other things about them, like their favourite singer. Words also randomly appeared on the screen to emphasise ideas, and features were usually concluded with an amusing animated sequence (similar to those in scary Public Information Films) that went over the basic points again.

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It seems that Danger! 50,000 Volts actually was released on DVD, accompanied by a bonus edition that wasn’t shown on TV called Danger! 50,000 Zombies, where Nick, along with his old mate Simon “bid again, Simon” Pegg revealed what you should do in the event of a zombie apocalypse (this seems to be somewhat similar to their Shaun Of The Dead film). Put it this way, it probably wasn’t to duck and cover.

There was much praise for this show from critics, which was one of the more ambitious comedy shows that was around at the time, and it was felt that some awards were deserved. A hit show for Channel 5! A year later, Nick returned for a second series, which was retitled Danger! Incoming Attack, and carried on in a similar style. After watching this, you really will be ready for anything that comes your way.