Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 18.

This is someone else who could be another one considered by some to be on the B-list of the history of great game show hosts, but for the sheer number of shows that he’s hosted, I wanted to include him, because well someone’s got to host of all those games on regional ITV in the afternoon or on little-watched satellite channels.

And I do think that he is rather quick-witted and is knowledgeable about pop culture (a friendship with Danny Baker might not be a coincidence here). He is also into his music, being a big fan of Elvis Presley, and he also owns all of Frank Sinatra’s records. He wants them back. I think he was also following me on Twitter, although he doesn’t seem to have said anything for a while, but that hasn’t influenced my decision to include him here at all, honest.

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Paul Ross had worked behind the scenes in TV for many years, but by the mid-90s, he seemed to be here, there and everywhere on game shows, as both a host and panellist. Well he has got five children who need feeding, and he didn’t deny that his answerphone message was “yes, I’ll do it”. Oh, and he’s the older brother of Jonathan as well, but you probably knew that.

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Highlights included Jeopardy! on Sky One, the third channel to attempt a version of this format that has been much more successful in America. And there was also Tellystack, UK Gold’s game about classic TV. All Over The Shop was BBC1’s daytime game featuring celebrity panellists. A Slice Of The Action was Carlton Food Network’s game all about cookery.

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And don’t forget Mind The Gap, a game based around the London Underground tube map. Throw in The Big Breakfast too, and much more besides, and would you believe that he packed all of that into barely three or four years. Going into the 2000s, he hosted It’s Anybody’s Guess, an enjoyable ITV game where the answers had to be estimated.

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Also interesting was No Win No Fee, the daytime BBC1 game where the prize money on offer was his fee for hosting the show, meaning that he could be the one leaving empty-handed. After overdoing it for a while, he finally seemed to ease up a little in the mid-2000s, and he then had some success in other areas away from TV game shows.

This has included going on to the shopping TV circuit, he did some time on Bid TV and Ideal World, and he just about lived to tell the tale. In more recent years, he has done some radio work, including BBC London and LBC, and at the moment he seemingly thinks nothing of doing the 1am shift five days a week on TalkSport, it’s good to know that he’s still out there.

Game Show Memories – Mind The Gap.

Mind The Gap (ITV, 1999)

Who remembers when there used to be regional variations on ITV? In the late-90s Carlton in London tried out various programmes in the teatime slot, including the entertainment guide Good Stuff, the soap London Bridge, the music show Videotech, they also tried out a couple of game shows, one of which was Mind The Gap, hosted by Paul Rossvlcsnap-01569

Mind The Gap was a general knowledge game that was based around the London Underground, and three contestants on the platform took part. In the first round the contestants had to answer questions on various categories on the buzzer, and rather nicely Harry Beck’s famous Tube map design had been altered so that all the lines represented various categories. If a contestant gets the question right they win the station and they then have to “change” to a connecting line to answer a question on a different category. vlcsnap-01563

In the second round each contestant is shown a short clip about the history of London featuring various statements, and they have to identify which of the statements made is incorrect and also answer an observation question to earn themselves more stations. vlcsnap-01564

In the third round use is made of the Circle line. Contestants are placed on the line based on how many stations they have already won, and they then answer true or false statements to try to progress round the line, moving one station forward for a correct answer, and one back for an incorrect one, with the contestant who is the least advanced round the line at the end of the round being eliminated. But the contestant who has to depart the journey at this point needn’t worry as they win a remarkable consolation prize. vlcsnap-01567

In the fourth round the two remaining contestants go back to the board from round one and they now just have to answer as many questions as they can as they can now stay on a line so they can remain on categories which they know more about to help them win the stations, with the contestant in second place again leaving at this point. vlcsnap-01565

The one remaining contestant wins the ticket to go through to the final and play for the money in a rather straightforward way. They just have to answer eight questions in one minute, the more they get right, the more money they win, with the top prize being £1,000. However, this part of the show takes part in the middle of the set which could become rather awkward if there’s a train coming. vlcsnap-01568

There isn’t much about Mind The Gap online beyond its entry on the UK Game Shows website (and well done to them for remembering it in the first place), and it doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, although there is an edition on YouTube, but I wanted to write about this show because even though it wasn’t a big success I always like to watch game shows. vlcsnap-01570

One of the the reasons that I remember Mind The Gap is because it was shown around the time that I was about to leave secondary school and begin to do my GCSEs, so I do remember watching the show and then having to go off to revise. Carlton did go on to make some more London-only game shows including King Of The Castle in 2001 which was somewhat similar by The Weakest Link but I didn’t like that one as much. Somewhat surprisingly though a Spanish version was made of Mind The Gap which went on to be a success in that country so that’s good.