Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 17.

This is someone who has had a rather varied career, which has included plenty of game shows. Matthew Kelly started out as an actor, and he first appeared on TV in the late-70s. By the early-80s, he was part of the Game For A Laugh team, alongside Jeremy Beadle and others. This was a very popular show, and for the next decade or two after this, he would remain a familiar face on TV.

Also in the 80s, he continued his acting work, appearing in some sitcoms, including Relative Strangers. By the mid-80s, he hosted a few other shows, and he also occasionally turned up on CITV. In the late-80s, he hosted short-lived daytime game show Quandaries. But it was going into the early-90s where he had his two biggest successes in game shows.

First of all, he replaced Bruce Forsyth as the host of You Bet! This was the show where if the challenger he backed failed, he would have to do a forfeit, and some of these were rather embarrassing, but he always took it in his stride. One of his biggest successes though came in the mid-90s when he replaced Leslie Crowther as host of Stars In Their Eyes.

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This was the popular musical talent contest, and he quickly realised that this was a show where the contestants were the main focus, and he always encouraged them along the way and made them feel like, well, stars. He seemed to enjoy meeting people from various backgrounds who would perform as singers in various genres. He also wore some rather startling waistcoats.

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He also seemed to relish hosting the specials, and grand finals that were shown live, and he would remain the host for several years. Going into the 2000s, he hosted Never Had It So Good, a daytime game show based around nostalgia that was fun but not exactly a success. By the mid-2000s however, it seemed that he had started to get a little disillusioned with showbusiness.

This meant that he departed from Stars In Their Eyes after over a decade in charge, but by this point the show was on the verge on becoming bogged down in celebrity specials and was never the same again really. He decided to return to acting, more on stage than on TV, but he did play a few straight drama roles where he came across as very different to his cheery game show personality.

Game Show Memories – Never Had It So Good.

Never Had It So Good (ITV1, 2002)

This is a game show that I don’t remember watching much at the time, but as it’s all about nostalgia, how could I possibly resist this now? The unaired pilot of Never Had It So Good was hosted by Greg Scott, but by the time the show came to TV, the host was Matthew Kelly, taking a break from Stars In Their Eyes. There were two celebrity teams of three who were ready to take a peek at the past.

The team captains were Rowland Rivron, and Fred Dinenage, who has worked on various shows, including the local news in the south of England on ITV for approximately 500 years. They would be joined by celebrity panellists including Clare Grogan and Leo Sayer. Their first names were in front of them in a similar style to on A Question Of Sport. Could this be the ultimate memory test. vlcsnap-00001

Round one was That Was The Year That Was. Various clips were shown from the archive, and they simply had to guess what year they were all from. There would then be some questions about that year for points. Round two was Connect 3. There were three pictures shown, and teams had to guess what famous person connected them. Going into the break, there was a clue from various people given to a famous thing, and viewers could think about what it was during the break (Greggles sometimes did these). vlcsnap-00002

Round three was You’ve Been ‘Ad. An old advert was shown, and they simply had to guess what it was for. And once again there would be some questions. The final round was Gimme 5 (not to be confused with a CITV Saturday Morning show), a last chance to pump up their points. The teams had one minute to name five things in a category, such as TV or pop music. There is one point for every one, and if they do get five, the points are doubled. vlcsnap-00007

There was a winning team declared at the end, but there were no prizes on offer. This wasn’t the first nostalgia-themed game show, others include Today’s The Day and Backdate. There was only one series of Never Had It So Good, there were lots of fun memories shared, but this seemed to be one of those shows where although the panellists enjoyed it, maybe some viewers didn’t (and there didn’t seem to be a studio audience). vlcsnap-00004

ITV were having trouble filling their post-CITV 5pm slot around this time, the soaps including Crossroads and Night And Day weren’t working, and neither were various game shows like this one. The problem with this timeslot was eventually solved though when a game show hosted by Bradley Walsh was launched and became a big success. No, not Spin Star!