Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 7.

This is someone who had an unusual double career in TV, and he went on to succeed in two rather different genres. Paul Daniels originally found fame as a magician, performing various tricks, and always encouraging audience participation. By the late-70s he had his own magic show on TV, were he performed, along with showcasing many other talents from around the world (I might do a piece about that show soon too).

It’s no wonder people were soon calling him “the man who excels”. It was in the early-80s when he started to host game shows. One of the earliest was BBC Radio 2’s Dealing With Daniels, which featured a playing card-scoring system, and celebrities as the panellists. Around the same time he launched his trilogy of TV game shows.

The first of these was Odd One Out, which had a fairly straightforward idea, but was much enhanced by his handling of the show (there was a marvellous opening sequence too). He then moved on to Every Second Counts, and he caused something of a stir, as it was around this time that he ditched his syrup. He seemed to like to get a little more out of contestants than most hosts, so for example he’d make them use props to answer, or say something different to the usual “yes” or “no”.

There were also some fancy prizes on offer, well they were rather fancy for the time at least, but who could turn down the offer of a new dishwasher back then? Also around this time, his magic show continued with some increasingly spectacular stunts, and he also contributed to the rather bizarre CBBC show Wizbit. His son Martin proved that wanting to be on TV ran in the family when he hosted a game show in the late-80s too.

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By the time that Every Second Counts ended In the mid-90s though, his magic show was also coming to an end, although it had ran for about 15 years with several variations on the idea, so maybe it was time to try something new. His third and final TV game show was Wipeout, which again had some quirky questions. And you’d win a paperweight just for turning up. However, the final editions weren’t shown in a primetime slot, and he had no other shows on the go at this point, so by the late-90s, he had practically left the screen.

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He did continue to tour his magic show across the country with his family also taking part, but most of his TV appearances after this were mildly embarrassing himself and being booted off first on The X Factor and the like, and being a figure “people love to hate”, although he also took part in an interesting documentary where he tried to find fame with his act in America. But he does deserve credit for his pioneering TV work.

Game Show Memories – Odd One Out.

Odd One Out (BBC1, 1982-1985)

As I said before, the late Paul Daniels had an unusual double career of hosting magic shows and game shows on TV. I was a fan of Every Second Counts and Wipeout, but I don’t remember the first part of his game show trilogy Odd One Out, which was based on an American show called Knockout. Thankfully there a couple of editions on YouTube which helped me put this piece together. First of all, there’s a great title sequence with Paul expertly performing the “haven’t worked out the answer”/”just worked out the answer” expressions that contestants make on these shows. odd0002

Unsurprisingly Odd One Out was a show where it had to be determined which one of the clues didn’t fit the link that the other ones did. Three contestants took part. There were four clues that were revealed one at a time. A contestant buzzed in and scored two points for pointing the odd one out, and also explaining why it was for another three points. They could also challenge one of their opponents to guess. Some of the humour in the show came from contestants buzzing in after only one clue had been revealed and they had to explain the link with almost no information. vlcsnap-00129

The winner of this part of the game goes into the bonus round. The contestant is shown three clues, and they have to guess what the link is. They quicker they spot the link, the lovelier the prize is that they win, and who hasn’t ever wanted a croquet set? The whole sequence then starts again with three more contestants taking part, with the winner again going into the bonus round. vlcsnap-00131

In the final, the two winners played against one another, and this time there was more variety on offer as there was also audio and picture clues where the odd one out had to be identified, and this carried on until there was a nice wibbly-wobbly sound and the overall winner was declared, with the loser taking away a consolation prize, and the winner playing the final bonus round. vlcsnap-00136

The final was like the bonus round, as again they had to make the link between three clues, but this time they could only see one. After they picked one at random and it was revealed, they were told if it was the easy, medium or hard difficultly clue. If after some thinking time they get it right, they win the star prize and they can return in the next show as the defending champion. Although earlier series had a “winner stays on” format, in the later ones winning contestants had to retire undefeated after three shows. vlcsnap-00130

It was good to finally see Odd One Out, it was definitely as fun and quirky as Daniels’ other shows and it eventually ran for four series. It also used computer graphics to display the clues which must have been impressive for the time. The show unexpectedly had another lease of life in the 90s when it was repeated in the early days of satellite channel UK Gold, and it’s definitely a shame that beyond Challenge there aren’t many channels repeating things like this now.