Game Show Marathon (ITV, 2005-2007)
In 2005, there were several shows to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ITV. It was decided to include some game shows as part of this, so that resulted in the Game Show Marathon. This was shown on Saturday nights and was originally hosted by Ant And Dec. Every week a different game show that had been on ITV would be featured. Every edition would include the show of that week’s original opening sequence (along with the ITV company that produced it’s ident too!).
There would also be a quick look back at history of the show, including contributions from fans and the original host. The first series began with The Price Is Right, as some of the celebrity audience were invited to “come on down”. They returned to take part in other games throughout the series, until there were two remaining. The climax was Family Fortunes, where the two finalists Vernon Kay and Carol Vorderman appeared alongside their families to determine the overall champion.
Also featuring in the first series were Take Your Pick, The Golden Shot, Sale Of The Century, Play Your Cards Right, and good old Bullseye. Any money and prizes that were won were put into a fund, where viewers could enter a competition to win them. Seeing some of these shows return to TV went down rather well with viewers, so two years later there was another series, with Vernon Kay moving from contestant to host.
Another group of celebrities took part, and this time the shows included The Price Is Right, Blankety Blank, The Golden Shot, Name That Tune, Mr And Mrs, and Play Your Cards Right. But among the highlights for me in this series were Bullseye (which was also revived on Challenge around this time), where the celebrities teamed up with professional darts players, because all these years on you still can’t beat a bit of Bully.
And there was also one of the many revivals of Blockbusters. It’s always a pleasure seeing this show, and among those playing and taking their place on the hot spot was Ben Shephard (before he hosted a few game shows of his own including Tipping Point). There was also £50 for a correct answer which was rather generous, it was only £5 in the original version.
Even though the second series had one extra edition, it retained the knockout format. In 2006 there was also an American version of the Game Show Marathon, and this was shown on ITV2. There have also been some rumours that there might be another series, meaning that it’ll be a revival of a revival. Will it include what will be about the 17th different version of Blockbusters? Maybe we’ll find out soon.