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.