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 – No Win No Fee.

No Win No Fee (BBC1, 2001-2003)

This is a daytime game show that ran for a couple of years and was hosted by Paul Ross (he hosted a lot of game shows on TV around this time and he is also following me on Twitter. I’m not really sure why but I’m not complaining, hello to you Paul). Contestants competed against one another to answer various questions and win a cash prize. It might not sound like much, but there was a twist.

The daily cash prize that was on offer was Paul’s appearance fee of £4,000. This means that if the show ended with a winning contestant, Paul doesn’t receive a payment for hosting that edition. Don’t believe him? It was written into his contract. 12 contestants took part, and Paul had a keen interest in what was happening all along as it was his money that was on the line. Will he be the one going home empty-handed? vlcsnap-00517

A contestant is picked at random and they are shown two questions. They pick the one that will be asked, and they then pick someone who they think will get it wrong. The two contestants then stand next to Paul who talks about things like checking their body language, insisting that the skill of being able to correctly pick a contestant who will get it wrong is as much a key to winning the game as answering the questions yourself. vlcsnap-00519

The contestant is then asked for their answer. If they get it right, they stay in the game, and the picker is eliminated. If they get it wrong, the picker stays in. Either way, one of them will go, and Paul will then say the show’s catchphrase to them “I’m pleased to say… you’re out”. This is repeated five times until there are six contestants remaining who go into the second round. vlcsnap-00522

Again, a contestant is picked at random, but this time they do not see the question in advance. They pick a contestant, and this time they have to decide if they will get the answer wrong or right. If they make the wrong decision, they will be eliminated. This carries on until there are two contestants remaining, at which point the question on offer becomes crucial because this is the one where the money could be won. vlcsnap-00521

On most occasions a contestant went away with the money, leaving Paul rather disappointed. If there can be some criticisms about the format of No Win No Fee, it’s that maybe too many contestants took part, and in theory a contestant can get all the way to the end and win by answering as few two questions throughout the whole of the show. Although it’s another game show that is little remembered now, it was an interesting idea.