Game Show Memories – Pointless Celebrities Christmas Special.

Pointless Celebrities Christmas Special (BBC1, 2018)

Now I know that this is from only last month so it’s not very nostalgic, and another Christmas has now come and gone, but it was such a terrific TV moment that I just had to do a piece on it. It’s yet another celebrity edition of game show Pointless, hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, where you are rewarded for your knowledge that would be useless to you in just about any other situation, and they’ve put up the tree specially. vlcsnap-00962

The four celebrity teams taking part are Dave Hill and Rob Davis, Roger McGough and Sally Lindsay, Jamelia and Sonia, and the reason that I am doing this piece, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward of Bananarama fame, making their first appearance on the show since November 2013 when they made the final but missed out on the jackpot by just one point, something that clearly still haunts them all these years later. Can they go one better this time? vlcsnap-00964

I should also point out that Brix Smith who featured in a piece that I did a while back when I found a picture of her in a pub very close to where I live in Bethnal Green alongside none other than Miss Siobhan Fahey that got me very excited appeared on Pointless Celebrities in April 2016 as part of a fashion-themed edition, but she got knocked out in the second round and didn’t win, oh dear. Today’s jackpot is £2,500. vlcsnap-00963

The first round is about cities in the show, can you identify these places at wintertime. Sara and Keren go through with a score of 88, the lowest in the round, and Dave and Rob are knocked out. Next is festive music, synonyms of Christmas carols to be precise. After a couple of good answers Sara and Keren progress with a score of 40 (again the lowest score in the round), and Roger and Sally are knocked out. vlcsnap-00965

The next round is Sara and Keren v Jamelia and Sonia (something of a surprise considering how useless Jamelia was on ITV’s Tipping Point: Lucky Stars recently). First up, pictures of famous people with Father Christmas. Sara and Keren win this 41-65. Second is members of Monty Python, and as Sara and Keren win this 22-96, they don’t even need to go to the third question and they are into the final again and maintain their unbeaten record! vlcsnap-00966

For making the final, they win a Pointless trophy! I presume they would already have one from last time, maybe they could give this one to a friend or just throw it in the bin. They choose the category Things Inbetween. They make their choices on countries alphabetically between the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands, and go for Rwanda, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. They could be in with a chance here! vlcsnap-00968

Rwanda scores four points, and Papua New Guinea scores one. This is their last chance with Samoa. And this time, well look at that, they go all the way and get their Pointless answer and they have won £2,500 for charity, congratulations! That really is terrific. And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any more exciting, the show closes with a song from Alexander. vlcsnap-00967

It seems that Sara and Keren really do know their stuff, and just when I thought that they couldn’t be any more terrific they start winning game shows. And they must enjoy it as they have appeared on another one since in January 2019, this time on BBC2’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip where again they were very entertaining. Maybe it could be a new career for them if their next album flops.

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The story so far…

Around this time of year I like to do an update, and recently I did a list of the TV shows that I have yet to review on this blog, so here is a now rather long list of the shows that I have reviewed already. If you like the look of anything that you might find interesting or think will bring back memories, why not take a look at the piece, it’d be great to know what you think!

Absolutely
Ad Fab
The Adam And Joe Show
The Adventure Game
The Adventures Of Captain Zeelig
The Adventures Of Sam And Max: Freelance
After You’ve Gone
Alfresco
Alias
All Clued Up
All Over The Shop
Allsorts
The Alphabet Game
Animaniacs
Ant And Dec Unzipped
The Armstrong And Miller Show
Art Attack
As If
Ask The Family
Atlantis High
Auntie’s Bloomers
Babes In The Wood
Backdate
Bad Influence
Bananaman
Bang Bang It’s Reeves And Mortimer
Bargain Hunt
Barking
Beast
Beat The Teacher
Bid TV
Big Break
The Big Breakfast
Big Brother
Big Train
The Biggest Game In Town
A Bit Of Fry And Laurie
Bits
Bitsa
Blankety Blank
Blind Date
Blockbusters
Bob And Margaret
Bob Martin
Bob Monkhouse On Game Shows
Bob Says Opportunity Knocks
Bob’s Fab Ads
Bob’s Full House
Bob’s Your Uncle
Bodger And Badger
Brainstorm
BrainTeaser
The Brittas Empire
Bruiser
Bullseye
Busman’s Holiday
Bygones
Call My Bluff
Catchphrase
Catchword
CatDog
Caught In The Act
CD:UK
Celebrity Squares
Chain Letters
The Chart Show
The Chase
Cheap Cheap Cheap
Chewin’ The Fat
Child’s Play
ChuckleVision
Clockwise
The Common Denominator
Coogan’s Run
Concentration
Cone Zone
Connections
Count Arthur Strong
Countdown
Cow And Chicken
Crazy Cottage
Cross Wits
Crossroads
Cryptogram
The Crystal Maze
Cult Toons
The Dance Years
Danger – Marmalade At Work
Danger Mouse
Danny Baker After All
Dare To Believe
Daria
Dark Angel
The Day Today
Dead Man Weds
Deal Or No Deal
The Dennis The Menace And Gnasher Show
Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow
Dilbert
Dinosaurs
Dizzy Heights
Do The Right Thing
Don’t Blow The Inheritance
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush
Double Dare
Doug
Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible
Dr Zitbag’s Transylvania Pet Shop
Ed, Edd ‘N’ Eddy
Educating Marmalade
The End Of Thames
End Of Part One
Every Second Counts
Everybody’s Equal
The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin
Family Affairs
Family Fortunes
Family Guy
Fantasy Football League
FAQ
Fast Friends
The Fast Show
Father Ted
Fifteen-To-One
Finders Keepers
First Class
Fluke
Football League Extra
FOT
Four Square
Freakazoid!
The Friday Zone
Full Swing
Fully Booked
Fun House
Futurama
Gambit
Gamesmaster
Garfield And Friends
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
The Generation Game
Get Fresh
Get Stuffed!!
Get Your Own Back
Ghost Train
Give Us A Clue
Gladiators
Glam Metal Detectives
Going For Gold
Going Live!
Goodbye To All That
Goodnight Sweetheart
Grandstand
The Great Bong
Green Wing
Hangar 17
Happiness
Happy Families
Hardware
Harry And Cosh
Harry Enfield’s Brand Spanking New Show
Harry Hill
Harry Hill’s Shark-Infested Custard
Harry Hill’s TV Burp
Harry’s Mad
Have I Got News For You
Having A Pop
Headjam
Hey Arnold!
The High Life
Hippies
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Hollyoaks
Hospital!
Hot Metal
Hotlinks
How 2
Hububb
Ideal
I’m Alan Partridge
In The Grid
Incognito
Incredible Games
Is It Legal?
The IT Crowd
It’ll Be Alright On The Night
It’s A Mad World World World World
It’s Not!
ITV Results Service
The Jack Docherty Show
Jangles
Jem
Jeopardy!
The Joke Machine
Jumble
Just A Gigolo
Just A Minute
Kappatoo
Keynotes
Knightmare
Knowing Me Knowing You
The Krypton Factor
KYTV
Last Chance Lottery
The Last Salute
Late Lunch
Let’s Get Quizzical
Light Lunch
Lingo
Live & Kicking
Live With Chris Moyles
Look And Read
Look Around You
Lose A Million
Lucky Feller
Lucky Ladders
Lucky Numbers
The Machine
The Magic Comedy Strip
Man Stroke Woman
Married For Life
Married… With Children
Masterchef
Mastermind
Masterteam
Me, You And Him
Mega Mania
Men Behaving Badly
Midas Touch
The Mighty Boosh
Mike And Angelo
Mind The Gap
Miss-Takes
The Mitchell And Webb Situation
Monkey Trousers
Monster Cafe
Motormouth
Mouse Trap
Move On Up
The Movie Game
Mr Bean
Mr Don And Mr George
The Music Game
My Wonderful Life
Name That Tune
Nathan Barley
Ned’s Newt
The Nelly Nut Show
Never Mind The Buzzcocks
NHS Loto
Night And Day
Night Fever
No Win No Fee
Noel’s House Party
The Noise
Not Going Out
Not With A Bang
The O Zone
Odd One Out
The Office (ITV)
One Foot In The Grave
The 100 Greatest TV Adverts
100%
One To Win (BBC1)
One To Win (Channel 5)
Only Connect
Only Fools And Horses
Our Hero
Ox Tales
Parallel 9
Parallel Playback
Pass The Buck
Peep Show
The Pepsi Chart
Perfect Recall
Perfection
The Peter Serafinowicz Show
Pets Win Prizes
Phoenix Nights
Pinky And The Brain
Play Your Cards Right
Playing For Time
Pointless
Police Squad!
Pop Upstairs Downstairs
Potsworth And Co.
Press Your Luck
The Preventers
Price-Drop TV
The Price Is Right
A Prince Among Men
Punt And Dennis
The Pyramid Game
A Question Of Pop
A Question Of Sport
Quiz Call
Quizmania
Radio Roo
Rainbow
Raise The Roof
Reactive
Ready Steady Cook
The Real Ghostbusters
Reboot
Remote Control
The Ren And Stimpy Show
Robot Wars
Rock Profile
Rocko’s Modern Life
Room 101
Round The Bend
The Roxy
The Royle Family
Rugrats
Run The Risk
Runway
Sale Of The Century
The Saturday Roadshow
Scratchy And Co.
Scrubs
Seinfeld
Sharp’s Funday
Shooting Stars
The Simpsons
The $64,000 Question
The Sketch Show
Skull
Smack The Pony
Small Talk
The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer
Smith And Jones
The Smoking Room
So What Now?
Sometime, Never
Sooty And Co.
The Spa
Space Ghost Coast To Coast
Space Vets
Spaced
Spatz
Spellbound
SpongeBob SquarePants
Sporting Triangles
Sportsmasters
Star Test
Stars In Their Eyes
Steal
The Steam Video Company
The Strange World Of Gurney Slade
The Strangerers
Strike It Lucky
Stupid
Sunnyside Farm
Supermarket Sweep
Swiss Toni
Take Your Pick
Takeover Bid
Talk About
Talking Telephone Numbers
Tarby’s Frame Game
Taz-Mania
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
Tell The Truth
Telly Addicts
Tellystack
Tenable
Tenball
Terror Towers
The Terry And Gaby Show
TFI Friday
That Mitchell And Webb Look
That’s Life!
That’s Showbusiness
They Think It’s All Over
The Thin Blue Line
Think Tank
30 Years Of LWT
This Is 5!
This Is Your Life
3-2-1
Through The Keyhole
Tickle On The Tum
Time Gentlemen Please
Timekeepers
Timeline
Tiny Toon Adventures
Tipping Point
To Me… To You…
Today’s The Day
Top Banana
Top Of The Pops
Topranko!
Touch Me, I’m Karen Taylor
The Tribe
Tricky
Trivial Pursuit
Turnabout
TV Heroes
TV Mayhem
TVGoHome
TV’s Finest Failures
2DTV
Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps
Two Stupid Dogs
The UK Top 40
University Challenge
Vic Reeves Big Night Out
Videotech
Virtually Impossible
Wake Up London
Watching
We Know Where You Live
The Weakest Link
What’s Happening
What’s My Line?
What’s Up Doc
Wheel Of Fortune
Where’s Wally?
Whittle
Who Dares Wins
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
The Wide Awake Club
Win Beadle’s Money
Win, Lose Or Draw
The Winjin’ Pom
Winner Takes All
Winning Lines
Wipeout
Wizadora
Wogan’s Web
The Wolvis Family
Wordplay
The World According To Smith And Jones
World Of Pub
You Bet!
You’ve Been Framed!
Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It
Zzzap!

Another update…

Here is a list of the classic TV shows that I still plan to review on this blog. Hopefully I will get round to doing all these one day…

Aaahh!! Real Monsters!
Absolutely Fabulous
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters
ALF
Alvin And The Chipmunks
American Dad
Andy Capp
Angela Anaconda
Around The World With Willy Fog
Ask No Questions
The Baldy Man
Beavis And Butt-Head
Bertha
Biker Mice From Mars
A Bit Of A Do
Black Books
Blackadder
Blandings
Blue Peter
The Bob Monkhouse Show
Body Heat
Box Clever
Boyz Unlimited
Brian Conley This Way Up
Bucky O’Hare
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Bug Alert
Button Moon
Carrott’s Commercial Breakdown
Catterick
Charlie Chalk
Charmed
Chip ‘N’ Dale
Chockablock
The Cleveland Show
Colin’s Sandwich
Count Duckula
Cradle To Grave
The Creatives
The Crystal Cube
Defectors
Defenders Of The Earth
Dennis The Menace
Desmond’s
The Detectives
Dexter’s Laboratory
Didn’t They Do Well
Do It
Doc Martin
Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds
Duck Tales
Dumb And Dumber
Earthworm Jim
Ed Stone Is Dead
Extras
The Family Ness
Famous People, Famous Places
Fanorama
Fast Forward
Fawlty Towers
Fireman Sam
Fist Of Fun
The Flintstones
FLIP
The Frank Skinner Show
French And Saunders
Fudge
Gas
Gavin And Stacey
Get Fit With Brittas
Gibberish
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Girls On Top
Gordon T Gopher
Grange Hill
Green Claws
The Grimleys
Hale And Pace
Harry And Paul
Harry Enfield And Chums
Harry Enfield’s Television Programme
Harry Hill’s Fruit Fancies
He-Man
Henry’s Cat
Hex
Hitman
Holding The Baby
House Of Fools
Housemates
The Hurricanes
I Am Weasel
In Bed With Medinner
The Inbetweeners
Inspector Gadget
Interceptor
It’s Anybody’s Guess
James Bond Jr.
Jeeves And Wooster
The Jetsons
Jimbo And The Jet Set
Johnny Ball Reveals All
Johnny Bravo
Just For The Record
The Kenny Everett Video Show
King Of The Hill
Kingdom
The League Of Gentlemen
Let Them Eat Cake
Little Britain
The Magic Comedy Strip
Maid Marian And Her Merry Men
The Mask
Melvin And Maureen’s Music-A-Grams
Model Millie
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Mr Majeika
Naked Video
New Girl
Nighty Night
Noel’s Comedy Luxury
Not The Nine O’Clock News
Now You See It
The Office
Open All Hours
Out Of This World
Outside Edge
Ovide
Palace Hill
Paris
Password
Paul Merton The Series
Penny Crayon
People Do The Funniest Things
Pigeon Street
The Piglet Files
Pingu
The Pink Panther Show
Pirates
Playdays
Pob’s Programme
Pop Quiz
Popular
Popworld
Postman Pat
The Powerpuff Girls
Press Gang
Puddle Lane
Pushing Up Daisies
QI
A Question Of TV
Quiz Bowl
The Raggy Dolls
Red And Blue
Red Dwarf
Rentaghost
The Riddlers
Rock And Chips
Roger And The Rottentrolls
Roland Rat
The Ronn Lucas Show
Rosie And Jim
Samson Superslug
Saturday Night Takeaway
Scooby-Doo
Sesame Street
The Shane Richie Experience
Simon And The Witch
Sir Bernard’s Stately Homes
Sitting Pretty
Smart
The Smurfs
Sonic The Hedgehog
South Park
Spitting Image
The Spooks Of Bottle Bay
Still Game
Stop That Laughing At The Back
The Sunday Show
Super Mario Brothers
Supergran
Superted
The Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries
Tale Spin
Tales From The Poop Deck
Tarrant On TV
T-Bag
They Came From Somewhere Else
This Morning With Richard Not Judy
Thomas The Tank Engine
Three’s A Crowd
Thundercats
Toast Of London
Tots TV
Transformers
The Trap Door
Treasure Hunt
Tricky Business
Two Point Four Children
The Two Ronnies
Upstart Crow
The Vicar Of Dibley
Victor And Hugo
Wacaday
Wake Up In The Wild Room
Whoops Apocalypse
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The World Of Lee Evans
The Worst Week Of My Life
Worzel Gummidge
WYSIWYG
Xena: Warrior Princess
XYZ
You And Me
You Gotta Be Jokin’
Your Number Please
Zig And Zag’s Dirty Deeds

And along with all that, I am always on the lookout for things on YouTube, and I also plan to review more things including adverts, pop music, computer games and so on. So if anything on the list looks like something you might be interested in, why not spread the word because it’ll be great to get as many people as possible have a look at these pieces.

2018 In Review.

It’s time to take a look back at the year. It’s rather odd to think that 2018 has now happened and been consigned to history, as I still think that it’s about 25 years into the future. Four years on from starting this blog I am satisfied with what I have achieved. I feel that I have settled in and I have now done almost 700 pieces, including about 150 this year, here’s a look at some of my highlights of the year. 2018

There was plenty of excitement in pop music as the story I told about Bananarama on here that I think will always be my favourite blog piece took some further twists this year. Firstly, I found a picture on Instagram of Siobhan in a pub that I know that surprised me (and she was alongside Brix Smith who definitely had an interesting music career in the 80s too). I still honestly can’t believe that I have walked the same path in life (I don’t mean our careers of course, I mean literally the same Bethnal Green streets) as someone who fascinated me (along with many other people) with their chart-topping single back in 1992. brix1

Not long after, a picture appeared of Siobhan alongside Marcella from Shakespear’s Sister, by all accounts the first time they had seen one another for 25 years which was really something unexpected. That all of this has actually happened still makes me happy. It’s good to know that she’s still out there but I haven’t looked at Siobhan’s Instagram page for a while now because as you see I usually get more than I bargained for… ss1

I also did a three-part series looking back at Bananarama’s hit singles, and I reviewed Keren and Sara’s appearance on BBC1’s Pointless Celebrities. Well five years on they appeared on the show again, and managed to maintain their unbeaten record as they reached the final and this time they won the money! They made great records in the 80s, they’ve been to Bethnal Green, they win TV game shows… what’s not to admire? And it seems that there’s a new tour and album on the way too, I don’t think Siobhan is involved in these though, but who knows maybe I’ll see her in the pub one day. banana0005

I was also surprised by just how many 80s pop stars had their 60th birthdays this year. Siobhan was one of them in September, and 13 days later another one was Danielle Dax. To celebrate this I decided to do another piece about her career because I thought that her work was fascinating and there should be more about her online, and this received a positive response. After completing it I found another article about her in Number One magazine in 1984, with a full-page colour picture and everything. I also found an interview from the same time where she said that one of her icons was Cruella de Vil and I honestly don’t know if she was being serious or not. dax1

Oh, and remember when I found a picture of Danielle from a year or two ago at a gig in Dalston where I said she had bright blue hair which I thought was odd, but I teased people by using a picture of Stormer from great 80s cartoon Jem instead? Well recently when searching online I found a picture captioned “Danielle Dax, 2018”, which is the best post-1991 picture that I have seen of her. So if you really do want to know what she looks like nowadays… dax2

I also looked back at the hits of 80s music stars Haysi Fantaysee and Hazel O’Connor. Not long after I received a tweet from the woman herself who also retweeted the link to the piece, making it become my most-viewed blog piece that I did this year, I was thrilled and it made all the work I put into it worthwhile. I didn’t tag her in the link so there’s the positive side of vanity searching I suppose, what an endorsement. Well it’s more than Kate Garner did. Hazel

I also came across two shows this year that I previously had no knowledge of that I really enjoyed. The first of these was ITV’s drama and music series Jangles which starred Hazel O’Connor (I also noticed recently that one episode features another early-80s singer who was Honey Bane of “Turn Me On Turn Me Off” fame). I must admit that I really became fond of the bizarre character Herald (“obliging those who wish to blow their minds…“) and he is now one of my unsung TV heroes. vlcsnap-00567

The other one was BBC2’s The Wolvis Family, an early-90s sitcom about a rather bizarre family that was described by the Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy as “a forgotten gem”, and that’s a statement I can’t argue with, it definitely deserves a DVD release. And the character of Mr Wolvis became another one of my favourites. Other long-forgotten comedy shows I enjoyed reviewing this year included BBC2’s It’s A Mad World World World World, ITV’s Not With A Bang and Channel 5’s Hospital! vlcsnap-00436

As for game shows, I decided to review Quizmania as Greg Scott and Chuck Thomas who were among the hosts are both following me on Twitter and I hoped that it might catch their attention. I was very flattered that they both approved of the piece, with Greg saying that he was pleased by how many people still remember the show so long after it ended and Chuck giving it a like. vlcsnap-00073

I also reviewed the revivals of The Crystal Maze and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (who knows, maybe they’ll revive Blockbusters one day…), along with some American versions of classic game shows including Cross Wits and Play Your Cards Right. Also this year we had to say goodbye to some familiar faces, including game show hosts Jim Bowen and Dale Winton, and children’s TV stars Barry Chuckle and Geoffrey Hayes. Thanks for lots of great memories. vlcsnap-00722

I also looked back at a few other interesting shows including ITV’s Wake Up London, BBC Choice’s Hotlinks, the news coverage of the death of Diana, I admitted that I did admired the ITV Weathergens, and it was also enjoyable reviewing lots of old adverts. CBBC and CITV shows that I reviewed included Radio Roo and Mega ManiaThere are plenty more reviews of classic TV memories planned to come in 2019. vlcsnap-00694

My blog has had over 41,000 views this year. All that it remains for me to say is thanks for reading wherever you may be, and special thanks to everyone who liked and commented, it is much appreciated to know that you enjoy what I do!

Game Show Memories – Remote Control.

Remote Control (Channel 4, 1991-1992)

This is a game show that was shown on Channel 4 in the evening in the early-90s, it was based on an American format shown on MTV which might explain its rather rowdy mix of comedy and questions which made it rather cult viewing with younger viewers. The host was Anthony Wilson who was usually assisted by Phil “Gilbert” Cornwell or none other than Frank Sidebottom who provided the laughs. vlcsnap-00411

Three oh-so-crazy contestants took part who wanted to show off what they knew about pop culture, and the first round consisted of them pressing the buttons on their remote control to select one of the nine channels that was concealing a rather quirky question on categories including “How Stupid Can You Get?”, which were worth either one or two points for a correct answer. If they got it right they could choose the next channel. Also above the contestants was a big finger that lit up when they buzzed in. vlcsnap-00416

There was also some woman playing the keyboard along with all this, and when a contestant chose a channel that contained a question about something on Channel 4, she rather appropriately would play the “Fourscore” theme music which was a rather good touch. Also, one channel contained a question that would be asked by Frank Sidebottom. vlcsnap-00414

Round two had quickfire questions on the buzzer for one point each. Round three went back to choosing channels. At the end of this round, the lowest-scorer was eliminated by vanishing off the style in a similar style to BBC1’s Brainstorm that I reviewed recently, and a similar effect was also used in Channel 5’s Topranko! that was also hosted by Wilson about a decade after this. vlcsnap-00419

Then there was a rather hard question, and during the contestants’ thinking time there were some more comedy sketches, Caroline Aherne, Brenda Gilhooly, Sean Lock and John Thomson were among those who joined in. They had to bid some of their precious points on whether they got the right answer, usually they didn’t. The final round was multiple-choice questions on the buzzer for two points each. Again the lowest scorer was eliminated and Phil started doing his Mick Jagger impression for a nice change. vlcsnap-00421

The remaining contestant goes into the final where they are strapped to a wheel. They then spin round for 40 seconds and they have to look at nine screens. If they can correctly identify the images on all the screens, they win the fancy star prize of something like a shed. Remote Control ran for a couple of years and was an Action Time/Granada co-production. There’s no doubt that it contained plenty of anarchic fun that definitely livened up a Tuesday evening. vlcsnap-00420

Game Show Memories – Wordplay.

Wordplay (Five, 2009)

After Channel 5’s long-running daytime game show BrainTeaser ended with something of a scandal, it was decided to launch a new show that was very similar which also featured various word puzzles but without the damaged reputation. Wordplay was shown live in the afternoon in a 50-minute slot, and there were two hosts who alternated who were Jenni Falconer and Jenny Powell.

Four contestants took part in six rounds, with games that were rather similar to ones in shows including Catchword, Chain Letters, and even Cryptogram that was shown on Channel 5 about a decade before this. Contestants had to buzz in if they knew the correct answer, get it wrong though, and they were frozen out of the next question in the old Bob’s Full House style. vlcsnap-00173

Round one (along with the endless background music) is Word Jumble, simply unscramble the word (the category is given as well) and score one point. Round two is AKA, now things have to be guessed from being described as synonyms, with two points for a correct answer. The contestant with the lowest score at this stage is eliminated (for the moment at least, as will become clear). vlcsnap-00174

Round three is Word Smuggle. The scores are reset to zero, and a word has to be spotted in the phrase, with one point for a correct answer. Round four is Hangman. This time the clues are revealed one letter at a time, with two points on offer. Again, the lowest-scoring contestant is eliminated, and around this point there’s yet another plug for the viewers phone-in competition. vlcsnap-00176

Round five is Invisible Link. The scores are reset to zero again and the two remaining contestants have to spot the one word that can go before or after the three others for one point. Round six is Word Ladder. This time the contestants play individually, there are 60 seconds on the clock and they have to add or take away letters based on the clues to create a chain, with two points for every correct answer. The highest-scoring contestant at this point goes into the final. vlcsnap-00358

The eliminated contestants do have another go though on Wordplay Extra, a shorter version that is shown later in the afternoon, presumably if they have run out of films or editions of Neighbours. The winner of this can return the next day to try again. The final is called Safe Cracker. There are 90 seconds on the clock and the finalist has to play one example of all of the previous six rounds (this time in an order that they can choose). vlcsnap-00361

Giving a right answer stops the clock, wins them £50, and gives them one number of the seven-digit code to open the safe which contains the star prize. So if they get all six right, they win because there is only one place they can put the seventh digit in the code. Get five right and it becomes a 50/50 decision, and so on. Also, the jackpot rolls over for every day it isn’t won, but it’s usually around £2,000, plus the money won in the final. vlcsnap-00364

Wordplay looked like it was going to establish itself in the daytime slot, but it ran for only one series, and rather disappointingly in the decade since it ended Channel 5 have just about given up on making game shows for any timeslot. It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff, but it was a good effort which tried out a few ideas and must have kept a few people watching.

Game Show Memories – Child’s Play.

Child’s Play (ITV, 1984-1988)

This is another 80s game show that I don’t really remember watching that much of at the time, but I’ve since seen enough of it to consider it worthy of a review here. Child’s Play was a show that was based on American format and it was hosted by Michael Aspel. It was a chance to see if adults really did understand what was going on in the minds of children.

Two teams of two took part, consisting of a contestant along with a celebrity, and since it was the mid-80s, people could be expected to be paired with the likes of Kenneth Williams or Bernie Winters. Children aged 5-11 from across the country are asked to describe the definitions of various words, and the teams have to guess what they are, although it’s not as straightforward as it seems, as children can have an unusual outlook on life. vlcsnap-00619

In the first round, a child described something, and there was 15 points on offer if they got it right. If they don’t though, it’s passed over to the other team with another child’s description for 10 points. If they don’t know, it goes back to the first team along with a third description for five points. Also, the children appeared on a really big screen, which made the adults in the studio look tiny by comparison, as if a seven-year-old boy had just taken over the world and was making an announcement. Or maybe that’s just me. vlcsnap-00625

Then there was the Triple Play round. This time the children were asked to write down definitions of words, and contestants could have up to three clues. One team member was nominated to play, they had 45 seconds on the clock, and there were ten points for every correct answer. Next was the bonus round, where more than one child describes a word, one for each team, and getting this one right earned 50 points. vlcsnap-00639

The final round was Fast Play. This time a child gave a definition, if the teams thought that they knew it, they could buzz in and interrupt them, with 20 points for a correct answer. If they get it wrong, it’s passed over to the other team who can hear the rest of the definition. When time is up, the losing contestant takes away a trophy, while the winning contestant gets a trophy along with a hamper full of goodies. vlcsnap-00646

Child’s Play ran for almost five years on ITV, which was much longer than the original American version did, and it was usually shown on Saturday nights. Although the format isn’t exactly the same, watching some editions I couldn’t help but be reminded of Small Talk, the enjoyable BBC1 90s game show that I do remember from the time that also featured children talking about things in an unusual way.