The YouTube Files – Small Talk USA.

Small Talk (The Family Channel, 1996-1997)

This is the American version of the game show that ran in the UK on BBC1 in the mid-90s, and this one launched just as that one was ending in 1996. Small Talk (which mustn’t be confused with Child’s Play) was hosted by comedian Wil Shriner, someone who I must admit I’m not that familiar with. Because this version was on a commercial channel instead of the BBC, there was a shorter running time, meaning that there were some rule changes to deal with the time constraints.

Three contestants took part as always, although seven children took part instead of nine. The basic idea of trying to guess what the children’s answers would be to various questions remained though, with most of the humour coming from their sometimes unusual observations on things in life. The set design was also rather similar, with multi-coloured speech bubbles everywhere. vlcsnap-00007

In round one, the contestants have to guess what answer a child would give to a question, such as “do you like cauliflower?” for ten points. Six of the seven are asked, meaning that there are two goes each. The things they say, honestly. If the contestants can guess the response that the majority of children gave too, they score 20 points. Oh yes! This round is then played again, but the points are doubled. vlcsnap-00008

Next is the speed round, where there is one question, and the contestants are simply asked if they thought the child did or didn’t know the answer. There are 60 points for a correct answer. The highest scorer gets $500 and progresses to the final, although the other contestants do take away some consolation prizes, but they don’t include the trophy that you get in the British version, you’re more likely to get some binoculars. vlcsnap-00010

The final is played in a similar style to what is actually the penultimate round in the UK, presumably this is also for time constraints. Again, all of the children are asked a question, and the contestant now chooses them at random by pressing a button. Their aim is to get three correct matches before they give two incorrect ones. If they can do this, they win a bonus $1,000, meaning that the most that could be won was $1,500. vlcsnap-00012

I’m not sure how often the children appeared on the show, whether it was rather regularly and they rotated, or they got one go each like the contestants. This version of Small Talk definitely had as many laughs as you would get in the UK, but it only ran for about three months on The Family Channel before leaving the screen for good.

Game Show Memories – consolation prizes.

“We hate to lose you, but lose you we must”

Time for something a little different. There used to be a time when however good or bad they did, game show contestants would be given consolation prizes for taking part. Here’s a look at what I think are 16 of the most memorable prizes that were given away. These are the shows where you definitely didn’t go away empty handed…

Backdate. A rather nice electronic organiser.

Big Break. A snooker cue and a trophy, and a waistcoat too if you were lucky.

Blankety Blank. Probably one of the most famous consolation prizes, the chequebook and pen. It’s really isn’t an exaggeration to say that it was more valuable than most of the actual prizes on offer.

Blockbusters. A sweatshirt and a dictionary. Definitely worth having. p3

Bullseye. Tankards, darts, and the bendy Bully. Or the badge and chalk holder that were on offer in the early series.

Countdown. What is always called a goodie bag, including cups, books, and the board game too of course. And don’t forget the teapot either.

Every Second Counts. Not surprisingly considering this was a show based around time, a wallclock and some watches.

The Generation Game. Various prizes in the early-90s revival included a telephone and pocket TV that seemingly only ever showed a picture of Bruce Forsyth’s co-host Rosemarie Ford. p6

Lucky Ladders. A pair of watches. Now they must be expensive.

Raise The Roof. This was the show where the star prize was a house, so the consolation was a teapot in the shape of a house, often known as “Bob’s Bungalow” (after host Bob Holness).

Small Talk. A trophy that according to host Ronnie Corbett was “crafted by my own fair hand”.

Telly Addicts. Another goodie bag similar to Countdown including books about TV, T-shirts and so on. p9

Today’s The Day. A copy of a newspaper from the day that you were born, and maybe a bottle of bubbly too.

Turnabout. Another show that gave everyone a dictionary. Not that exciting, but just any excuse to talk about Turnabout really.

Wheel Of Fortune. Another show that gave away watches and board games.

Wipeout. Early series featured a paperweight, before this was changed to an umbrella. p12

And they all had a lovely day.

Game Show Memories – Small Talk.

Small Talk (BBC1, 1994-1996)

This was an enjoyable game from Reg Grundy Productions where funnyman Ronnie Corbett who had appeared in lots of comedy shows had a go at being a game show host and contestants were challenged on if they thought they could guess what a group of children thought about various things in the world. vlcsnap-01167

Three contestants take part and nine children aged around six to ten from across the country are asked the questions, of course all of them have to be amusingly cheeky, introducing themselves by saying “hello, Mr Corbett!”, or some strange variation, and then telling us who they are. On a few shows two children appeared in one square. vlcsnap-01168

In the first round a question such as “what is a toupee?” would be asked to the children, and contestants would score points if they could pick the children who they thought knew the answer and then we would hear their amusing responses. No points would be on offer if they got the answer wrong. Then in the next round another question is asked for double points, with the lowest-scoring contestant at this point being eliminated and winning the great consolation prize of a Small Talk trophy which I’m sure would look lovely on a mantelpiece. vlcsnap-01165

In the next round with two contestants remaining, another question is asked but this time the children are selected by stopping a random light in a similar style to Catchphrase. They then again have to guess what their response would be, with more points on offer. Both contestants have three goes, and the highest scorer at this point goes into the final, with the other contestant winning not only the consolation prize of a trophy but a hamper too. vlcsnap-01166

The final was rather exciting. The one remaining contestant had to pick five of the nine children. They were each asked a question and the contestant again had to guess whether they got it right or wrong. Each child was concealing a points value of either 50, 100, 250 or 500 points. If the contestant got the answer right they would also win the points value. So at the end it was all rather exciting as the children revealed the points that they had in a similar style to Deal Or No Deal. If the contestant managed to score a total of over 500 points they would win the star prize of a European holiday, but if not they won a consolation prize of an evening out, plus the trophy too of course. vlcsnap-01163

I remember watching Small Talk when it was shown on Sunday evenings in the mid-90s, it was a rather fun game, mostly sold on the “don’t children say funny things” idea that has been used a few other shows over the years, and indeed lots of children with great personalities took part. I don’t think that the show has ever been repeated on Challenge, although it was popular with many viewers for the couple of years that it ran on BBC1.