Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 13.

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.

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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.

Game Show Memories – Fluke.

Fluke (Channel 4, 1997)

A brilliantly silly and short-lived game where having general knowledge was completely useless as the winning show was completely based on luck. It was hosted by Tim Vine who also devised the show himself and he was assisted by his sidekick Major Disappointment. Having always liked silly jokes and wordplay I’ve been a fan of Tim from practically the first time I saw him on TV, so I’ve found his double life of being a stand-up comedian and game show host very enjoyable over the past two decades. vlcsnap-00687

The show would often start with Tim saying to someone “as I was saying, a friend of mine who was a Gurkha drowned in a vat of vinegar”. This would get the reply “oooh, pickled Gurkha”. Oh dear. Five contestants took part. The first round was the A Bit Of A Wasted Journey Pointer. A wheel would be spun and whoever’s name it stopped at was immediately knocked out before they had even said “hello” or played any games. They did get the consolation prize though of the Fluke Silver Short Straw. Fluke 5

Tim would then talk to the remaining contestants, and he wasn’t afraid to rebuke them if he felt that they had stepped out of line, telling one who was wearing an acrylic collar: “it’s cruel, think about all the acrylics you are killing”. There would then be some questions but “the more you know… the less it matters” because there was no way you could know the answers in advance. Fluke 8

In the next round there was a race. The contestants each pick a runner and whoever comes last, whatever their score is, is knocked out. Then there was a round where the contestants would have to guess what happened next. The next round featured doors heavily. We don’t mean by that the doors were heavy, we wouldn’t know. There are some doors with people behind them and Tim reveals the one to avoid. If a contestant picks the wrong door again they are instantly knocked out. Fluke 6

When there are two contestants left there is a quickfire round where Tim gives two options but not the question. There is then one more round to determine the winner and the one left standing after all this madness is crowned the Duke of Fluke. Whoever made the final then had the chance to play for the star prize such as a holiday and again they had to answer absurd 50/50 questions. One episode ended with a young lady who missed out on the use of an executive jet for a day because she didn’t know the colour of Tim’s underpants. Fluke 3

Fluke only ran for nine episodes and probably wouldn’t have worked as well if it had got another series but that wasn’t the end of the story. Tim Vine had an attempt at breaking into American TV by hosting a variation on the show called Beat The Chimp, but as far as I’m aware it didn’t get beyond an unaired pilot and that was it, the dream was over. vlcsnap-00689

Fluke was also subject to some odd scheduling. On Channel 5 at 6pm Tim was hosting the game show Whittle (which I will also be reviewing soon), and Fluke was shown on Channel 4 at 6:30. So for a while you could watch Tim hosting two game shows one after the other on different channels. Also, it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. How ridiculous!