Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 20.

This is someone who I wanted to feature because although he is another host who might divide opinion, because of his longevity, and the sheer number of game shows that he has hosted (which I think might be just about more than anybody else now), I think that he has earned a place in this series. And once again, I’m fairly sure that he is following me on Twitter, but that hasn’t influenced my decision, no, really, it hasn’t.

Eamonn Holmes started out on TV in the early-80s, as the host of the news in the UTV region, and at the time he was the youngest news host anywhere on ITV. His career beyond this has taken in lots of other things, including being one of the launch hosts of GMTV, but I’ll concentrate on the game shows for now. A lot of them that he has hosted have only been shown in Northern Ireland, so of course I haven’t seen those ones.

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But of the ones that I have seen, I do remember some of them were shown in a daytime slot. He was the second host of Pass The Buck, and TV Scrabble on Challenge. But one of my favourites is Playing For Time. This was partly because in the final round when the contestant looked like they were going to win the star prize, he would get rather excited, and it always amuses me when the host gets more excited than the contestant by a big win.

He then went on to further shows in a primetime slot, including Jet Set and Hard Spell. And there was also Sudo-Q, which might’ve seemed like it was jumping on the bandwagon when there was the first wave of the sudoku craze, but there was actually a decent game here (maybe I should review that one day too). He even hosted comedy panel game It’s Not Me, It’s You rather late at night on Channel 5.

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In more recent years, he got married to Ruth Langsford, who might be a familiar face going back many years, if you were in the TSW region, where she was an in-vision announcer. They have gone on to host several shows together, including This Morning, along with the game Gift Wrapped. He is another one who I imagine will be hosting more game shows for many years to come.

And that’s it. This is planned to be the last entry in this series, as I think that 20 is enough for now. Thanks for all of your comments and memories. Although of course I have enjoyed many more people beyond the ones that I have featured, I feel that all of them have in various ways helped to shape and enhance game shows in this country more than most.

Game Show Memories – Pass The Buck.

Pass The Buck (BBC1, 1998-2000)

It’s time for yet another review of a BBC daytime game show. Pass The Buck was hosted in the first series by Fred Dinenage, who presumably had a day off from hosting the news on Meridian, and this was a show where contestants were tested on both their general knowledge and memory, and it was another example of a show where performing seemingly simple tasks was actually a lot tougher when in the spotlight playing for prizes. vlcsnap-00001

The show began with 11 contestants. Fred would give a category with several answers, such as “Oscar winning actresses” and then the contestants would take it in turn to give an answer. This continued until a contestant gave a wrong answer, was unable to give an answer or repeated an already given correct answer. Whoever did this was eliminated from the game, and then another would category would be given to the next contestant in line and the sequence would begin again with Fred saying “the buck restarts with you” which seemed to be the attempt at creating a catchphrase for the show. vlcsnap-00002

This elimination process carried on until there were five contestants remaining, who went into the second round. In this, the game was the same, but this time, contestants were given three lights, meaning that this time they wouldn’t be eliminated until they had made three errors, and this carried on until there were two contestants remaining who both went into the Big Buck final. vlcsnap-00010

In this, the remaining pair would now play against one another with 90 seconds on the clock. Fred would read out a category and the contestants alternated in giving their answers, scoring one point each for a correct one. Again, if a contestant made a mistake, they would not score a point and the category would change. When time was up, whoever had scored the most points was declared the winner and won a cash prize and trophy. vlcsnap-00011

When Pass The Buck returned for a second series, it was now hosted by Eamonn Holmes, who also seemed to be hosting just about every other game show on the BBC at the time. There was also the addition of a new round called the “Memory Moment” which tested the memory skills of contestants instead of general knowledge. At the start of the show Eamonn would read out 18 words, and then at a random point an alarm would go off and the contestants would then have to recall these words, with the usual rules applying, and this was also used in the third and final series. vlcsnap-00012

Pass The Buck wasn’t that bad a show, although there seems to be little about it online, and it has long since been surpassed by Pointless as the best-known show based around trying to find answers on various lists, and Eamonn was also hosting another game show around this time called Playing For Time which was good as well and I plan to review that one soon.