Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 4.

Shane Richie is someone who first appeared on TV in the late-80s, doing his comedy thing on various shows including 3-2-1 and The Saturday Roadshow, at which point he had a rather alarming mullet hairstyle. The first time I really came across him though was in the early-90s when he was among the cast of You Gotta Be Jokin’, part of the last gasp of old-school variety shows on Saturday Night BBC1.

I did find him rather amusing on this, and I have followed his career ever since. He then got into TV hosting, including plenty of game shows. This began with Caught In The Act, which did do well in the ratings, but it was considered to be such a blatant You’ve Been Framed! clone, that it was felt that this wasn’t the kind of thing that BBC1 shouldn’t be doing, and there was only one series.

This was then followed by CBBC’s Run The Risk, which was essentially Double Dare: The Sequel, where he asked the questions and baffled people with his rather bizarre jokes, but he didn’t get involved in the games, leaving that to the award-winning Peter Simon, who continued to constantly fall into the gunge, and it was still very amusing.

He then went over to ITV for a while in the mid-90s, including replacing Danny Baker as the host of Win, Lose Or Draw (curiously he also replaced Danny in those Daz adverts around the same time). He also hosted Lucky Numbers, another variation on the bingo format used in Bob’s Full House, which was one of the first wave of British game shows to offer a five-figure sum as the star prize.

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He then went on to Saturday Night show The Shane Richie Experience, where along with the games he liked to sing rather too often (a hasty restructuring of the format to Love Me Do didn’t exactly give things a boost though). By this point however, his fame was beginning to wane a little, and by the late-90s he had started to fall out of favour.

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In the early-2000s, he decided to take a chance on joining EastEnders, cast as the cheeky barrowboy Alfie. This gave his career a much-needed boost, and he won viewers over with his character. This led to a second wave of hosting game shows on BBC1, including Reflex (considered by many to be an inferior knock-off of ITV’s The Cube), Decimate, and Win Your Wish List. It’s always great to see him on TV.

Game Show Memories – The Shane Richie Experience/Love Me Do.

The Shane Richie Experience (ITV, 1995-1996)/Love Me Do (ITV, 1997)

Shane Richie is someone whose profile on TV was increasing by the mid-90s, following his hosting of various successful shows including Lucky Numbers, and, er, Caught In The Act. So in 1995 he was given his own Saturday Night show on ITV that was part-game show and part-music show, and the main idea of The Shane Richie Experience is that happy a couple would get married on TV!

Three engaged couples took part in various games that were sort-of a cross between Mr And Mrs and Bob’s Your Uncle, and Shane enjoyed the chance to play Cupid. The first game would determine how much the couples really knew about each other, by being asked various questions, and hoping that the answers written down would match. Of course it was very amusing when they didn’t, but they wouldn’t score any points for it. vlcsnap-00326

Inbetween all of this, Shane would sing, as would some musical guests, including big pop groups of the time Boyzone and Eternal. They would be persuaded to take part in the games too. Next was a round where the women were blindfolded and had to determine who their fiance was by touching various body parts. Again there was much shock when they got it wrong and realised they’d been fondling the bloke from Boyzone all along (although this would alternate with the men guessing the women some weeks). The lowest-scoring couple at this point are eliminated. vlcsnap-00178

The two remaining couples then play a rather daft game against the clock in big costumes in an attempt to win some prizes. Next was the big finale, where both couples had now put their wedding clothes on, and Shane got his big bowtie out. They would be asked questions on the buzzer, and they would take a step down the stairs for every correct answer. Whoever reached the bottom first would get married there and then! Everyone would be so pleased for them, and then they would be off on their honeymoon, and there would be more music to finish off whilst they had a party. vlcsnap-00179

The combination of all this was rather noisy and tacky for most viewers, so when the show returned for a second and final series in 1997, it was restructured and given the new title Love Me Do (I can’t imagine how upset Shane was by having his name dropped). Rather than in a part of the studio, couples would now play various games and compete to get married in the dream holiday destination of their choice.