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.
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.
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.