Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 12.

My next choice to feature in this series might be a surprise to some people, as maybe he isn’t as well-known as some of the others. This might lead to people thinking things like “do you really think that he is one of the greats?” and “surely you’re not putting him in the same bracket as Bruce Forsyth and the like?”, and I’m not really, although he might be a B-list name compared to most, he hosted some shows that I enjoyed, and for me, that’s enough to qualify.

Andrew O’Connor is someone who has had a rather varied career, as well as being a game show host, he has also been a magician, comedian, producer, and much more. He first appeared on TV in the mid-80s, doing his comedy thing on shows including 3-2-1 and Copy Cats, and he also contributed to children’s TV shows including The Joke Machine and On The Waterfront.

In the late-80s, he became the second host of Chain Letters, which at this point was briefly shown in a primetime slot. He also contributed some of his impressions to the Observation round on The Krypton Factor. By the early-90s, he was appearing in CITV’s sitcom Kappatoo. He also hosted One To Win, which although the format was rather similar to Bob’s Full House, this was actually based on an American show called Trump Card.

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And there was Sky Runners, which was an attempt at a team version of Treasure Hunt, which got no further than a pilot shown quietly on a Bank Holiday. Second Guess was another less successful one, shown in the early days of The Family Channel. He was also guaranteed to be good value as a panellist, including regular appearances on Through The Keyhole. By this point, he was also working behind the scenes on game shows, including being the co-creator of Incredible Games and Lose A Million.

In the mid-90s he co-hosted Happy Families, a Saturday Night show that was a little similar to Gladiators, which was when BBC1 was struggling to find some new popular entertainment shows. My favourite of all his game shows has got to be Talk About, which had a rather surreal twist, as most of the contestants were clearly drawn from the “where on earth did we find them?” pile, and there was at least one edition where he couldn’t stop laughing at how useless they were at playing the game. It was great, honest. And he did it all while wearing a horrible waistcoat.

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He then hosted Family Catchphrase, and there was a celebrity edition where Bob Holness was a contestant, who gave him some advice on game show hosting, which I’m sure was definitely worth listening to. Finally in the late-90s there was The Alphabet Game, which he also co-created. This format was then sold around the world, becoming popular in Spain, where the star prize would often rollover until reaching seven figures. This then came back to the UK as Alphabetical.

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Since then, he has concentrated mostly on production work, which has made him a few quid over the years, including being behind several shows about magic and illusions, and he also directed the Mitchell And Webb film Magicians. I don’t have any problem with him being among my favourites. Oh, and he’s no relation to Des. Or Tom.

Game Show Memories – One To Win (Channel 5).

One To Win (Channel 5, 2000-2001)

For about the first five years that it was on air, Channel 5 produced a wide variety of cheap but quirky daytime weekday game shows, and this is another one. Firstly, this show has no connection to the 90s BBC1 game show called One To Win that I reviewed a while back (which was a revival of the classic Bob’s Full House format), this is actually a revival of Going For Gold, as if nine years of people trying to be the best that they can on BBC1 wasn’t enough. It seems in this case the title meant “only one person can win”, rather than “only one more correct answer to win” in the other one.

Another curious thing about One To Win was the host. It was originally hosted by Paul Roseby, but after a while he was replaced by Robin Houston, who also hosted what seemed like thousands of editions of 100%, another daytime Channel 5 game show. However, on that show he was out-of-vision, unlike here, so the gimmick of him providing the mysterious disembodied voice asking the questions was somewhat lost. But it was good seeing him interact more with the contestants than he did on 100%vlcsnap-00761

One To Win had a slightly different format to Going For Gold. Firstly, only contestants from the UK took part instead of from across Europe. Also, there was no preliminary round, so the first round was the first round, if that makes sense. So to fill the timeslot the rounds were stretched out a little, with the four contestants having to choose if they wanted to answer a question on a category for one, two or three points, but they had to score nine points to progress to the next round instead of six. The buzzer noises were the same though. vlcsnap-00755

The next round was just about the same. Contestants had to pick one of four categories and then they were asked questions for 40 seconds, they had to get four consecutive answers right, with more questions being asked on the buzzer if there was a tie. The two highest-scoring contestants then went into the final, which again was slightly different. vlcsnap-00758

Again, the idea was the same but the scoring was stretched out. Contestants had to buzz in and answer a question, but there were fewer points on offer for the longer it took to answer, and you could only buzz in when you were in control. This version had five time zones instead of four, and the winning target was 21 points instead of 9. The daily winner received £200 and the option to return and defend their title on the next show (and contestants won a bonus £200 for winning five shows in a row), the beaten finalist got a CD-Rom. vlcsnap-00731

This ran for about a year, but that still wasn’t the end. About seven years later, Channel 5 revived the format again, this time under the Going For Gold name, and it was extended to an hour, so it had to be padded out even more, with most of the time being used to plug an interactive viewers’ game which was rather painful to watch sometimes. One To Win was definitely the better revival.

Game Show Memories – One To Win.

One To Win (BBC1, 1991-1992)

Here’s another look in the game show archive, and today it’s an obscure one. In the 1980s, there was the great show Bob’s Full House. One To Win lasted for only one series on Saturday evenings and has similar rules.

One To Win was hosted by Andrew O’Connor, a presenter who I very much enjoyed on TV at the time, and I’m not even being ironic or anything like that. This is an irony free site, honest. vlcsnap-00237

The title sequence featured Andrew being ambushed by some numbers, before he then descended some stairs, and each one lit up as he went down them which was very showbiz. After a few jokes it was time to wheel on the three contestants. After they told the usual silly anecdotes, it was time to play the game. vlcsnap-00239

They were all given a card with 15 numbers. In the first round, they had to fill the four corners. If they got a question wrong, they were frozen out of the next one. Whoever was the first to get all four corners would win a prize that was decent for its time. vlcsnap-00240

In the second round, the contestants had to fill their middle line, and this time they could choose from categories. Again, there was a prize for whoever did this first. vlcsnap-00242

Then there was the final round, where they had to fill the rest of their card. They could also play a wildcard to freeze out a rival contestant until they got an answer right. This round was very fast paced and Andrew would start to shout things like “Ottavio, you only need one to win!” Whoever got there first would get the chance to play for the star prize of a dream holiday.

They would be shown a 4×4 grid and asked questions against the clock. Get one right, and they could pick a number. If it was a letter, they moved closer to the prize, if it was a cash value, they won that. If they got all eight letters it would spell a clue to their holiday destination. If not, they could take the money, how exciting it was to watch someone win £245. vlcsnap-00243

There was also a viewers phone-in competition, and it must have been one of the earliest game shows to have one. I’ll be reviewing another game show hosted by Andrew O’Connor soon, after he stopped being a TV presenter he went on to become a successful producer and director.

Call Andrew now for kinky chat.

Call Andrew now for kinky chat.

This bingo-style format would later be used for the ITV game shows Lucky Numbers and The Biggest Game In Town, and although Bob’s Full House was the best of them, I thought One To Win was still very enjoyable.