Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 14.

This is someone who had one of the most successful careers in TV and radio of anybody, and there isn’t really too much that I could tell you about him that you wouldn’t already know. But I wanted to include him in this series, because like many other people I’m sure, I always enjoyed his work. Terry Wogan‘s hosting career covered a lot of areas, including plenty of game shows.

He started out in Ireland, and shortly after, in the mid-60s, he hopped over the water to the UK. One of his earliest TV successes was Blankety Blank in the late-70s. Now it could be said that it seemed that he didn’t seem to know what was happening half the time, including trying to interact with the celebrity panellists, but this was a game where it wasn’t too much of a problem, as this wasn’t to be taken too seriously. Apart from the end, where a dishwasher could be won and it got very exciting.

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For some reason, there was a repeat run of some of his editions of Blankety Blank almost two decades later, he returned with some newly-made introductions (and his microphone), and he still seemingly couldn’t make any sense of it. He also hosted A Song For Europe, the competition that would determine who would represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest, which was definitely a great honour. And of course, he would also commentate on the main contest for several years.

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In the early-80s, there was the launch of his chat show that ran for about a decade, and for seven years was shown live three times a week, offering his now familiar style of wit. By the time this ended in the early-90s, he went on to other shows including Auntie’s Bloomers and its several spin-offs. And by this time he was as popular as ever on the radio in the BBC Radio 2 breakfast slot. In the mid-90s, he hosted Do The Right Thing, an interesting game based around debating moral dilemmas.

Going into the 2000s, he hosted a live show on Channel 5 alongside Gaby Roslin, that was a lot of fun. By the end of this decade though, he didn’t have as much TV work as he used to. He departed as Eurovision commentator, although it sounded like he had become sick and tired of the whole thing, complaining of political voting and dodgy songs, and he wasn’t seen much beyond his annual contribution to Children In Need.

He did go on to do another game show though, and surprisingly this was on Channel 4 in a daytime slot. Perfect Recall was a game that was a test memory, and by this point he had been doing this type of thing for five decades, making it look easy. When he died, it really was one of those moments where you realised that things wouldn’t be the same again, and we would’ve been infinitely poorer without his contribution.

Game Show Memories – Perfect Recall.

Perfect Recall (Channel 4, 2008-2010)

The afternoon weekday game show that was a test of memory skills and general knowledge that was hosted by none other than Terry Wogan. Every day four contestants took part. They would be asked 20 general knowledge questions where the answer consisted of one word. Every time they buzzed in and got an answer right it appeared on the board, but the contestants couldn’t see it, it was just a guide for viewers at home. When all the questions have been asked the lowest-scoring contestant is knocked out. vlcsnap-00682

The three remaining contestants then go into the next round, where 20 different and slightly more difficult questions are asked but the answers are the same, so if they can remember what the answers were from the previous round it will help them to get more points. Again, the lowest-scoring contestant is eliminated at the end of the round. vlcsnap-00683

In the third round, there are two contestants remaining so the game becomes a straightforward head-to-head. Once again, 20 different questions are asked that have the same answers as the previous two rounds. The highest scorer at the end of this round then goes through to the final to play for the money. vlcsnap-00684

In the final, 20 different questions are asked that yet again have the same answers. Because the answers should now be familiar to the contestants after the three previous rounds they are given 60 seconds to get as many right as they can. They have to bid how many correct answers they think they will get, with the cash amounts increasing for how many they will choose. If they match or better their bid, they win the money that was on offer. If they fail to match their bid they win a small consolation prize. So for example, if they bid that they will get 16 correct answers and they score 18, they win the cash amount that was on offer for 16. However, if they have perfect recall they win the biggest prize of £100,000. vlcsnap-00685

I don’t think anybody went all the way on the show and won the highest prize but I do remember reading an interview where Wogan insisted that a contestant did get all 20 in the unaired pilot but then that always happens doesn’t it. Channel 4 have shown a lot of game shows in the afternoon slot over the years, with Countdown, Fifteen-To-One and Deal Or No Deal being the most successful and longest-running with many others being short-lived and less remembered. Although it only ran for a couple of years Perfect Recall was a good attempt at a general knowledge game with a twist, and of course Terry Wogan hosted the show very well, keeping the pace moving and things entertaining, and a few contestants did go on to win a lot of money.