Game Show Memories – Sudo-Q.

Sudo-Q (BBC1, 2005, BBC2, 2006-2007)

Having recently looked back at the career of Eamonn Holmes in my Game Show Stars series, I realised that this was one of his shows that I hadn’t reviewed, so just when you thought I’d done them all, here comes another one. Sudu-Q was a daytime game that combined the sudoku puzzle with general knowledge questions. This was around the time when this was still a rather new idea, and suddenly there was a craze for them.

But this wasn’t a case of just jumping on the bandwagon, this was a format were the two were combined to work well. I must admit that I although I know how they work, I have never really been able to solve these puzzles, and I am in awe of people who can. Eamonn does explain how a puzzle works though, and there is plenty of opportunity for viewers to play along at home. Three teams of three took part (later changed to three teams of two).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vlcsnap-00014-8.jpg

In round one, there is a 4×4 grid, already featuring some numbers. A square is highlighted, and teams have to put the correct number in there as quickly as they can (cue overdone tense music). If they are correct, they are then asked a question for a bonus. This carries on until there are no more spaces left to fill. Round two is almost the same, but this time beaten team members can be eliminated. Once a team loses both members, they are out of the game (cue post-match interview).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vlcsnap-00015-8.jpg

Round three is rather different, as there are no questions, and only one team member plays (although there is the option to buy back the eliminated teammate, but this has a time penalty). There is now a 6×6 grid, and they have 45 seconds each. They take it in turns to guess the highlighted number on the grid. The tried-and-trusted “chess clock” rule is in use here, so play continues until one team runs out of time. The remaining team plays on by themselves as a chance to boost their score, as the highest-scoring team makes the final.

If a one-player team has made the final, all their eliminated teammate can do is watch on “live by satellite”. This round is three minutes (1:30 each for a two-player team, or all the time for a single player). Half the grid is already completed. Again, giving correct answers gives them the opportunity to fill in the highlighted number. There is £50 for every correct number, with bonuses on offer for completed rows and columns, and a total of £2,000 for a completed grid.

Winning teams can come back the next day to play again, and they can appear up to five times before retiring undefeated, meaning that a maximum of £10,000 can be won by them, although I don’t think that any team achieved that. Add into all of this an awkward catchphrase from Eamonn (“be there, and be square!”), and a tie-in book featuring lots of puzzles, and you complete what is a decent all-round package.

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vlcsnap-00013-4.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vlcsnap-00015-3.jpg

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.