The Top Ten Pieces Of 2019.

Let’s start the year by taking a look at my ten most viewed blog pieces from last year, to see exactly what people were most interested in out of everything I’ve done. However, none of my top ten were actually published in 2019, as some older pieces remained popular. Here’s what they were… 2019


The mid-90s CITV horror game show that was hosted by Steve Johnson still has a big fanbase it seems, although people do often mix it up with the similar CBBC show Incredible Games, which was great too. vlcsnap-00046


My piece on this show actually wasn’t focused on what it was about, partly because it’s well-known and still going, and it’s about to reach the 21st anniversary. I concentrated more on the publicity surrounding the launch of Family Guy in the UK when it came to Sky One in 1999, and unsurprisingly it was sold as “if you thought The Simpsons were dysfunctional, just wait until you see this lot!”.fg0001


Again, this show is so popular I didn’t really need to do a piece explaining its premise, so instead I did two pieces revealing my ten favourite one-off characters, the first of which has done very well. vlcsnap-01669


Although I am not hugely interested in weather forecasts, the characters that were used to introduce them on ITV in the late-90s called The Weathergens was a remarkable piece of TV presentation. I decided to analyse each one, as I had a feeling that this piece would be consistently popular, which turned out to be correct. vlcsnap-00694


The zany CBBC sketch show from the mid-2000s. When I was putting the piece together, I realised that about a decade on some of the sketches and their catchphrases had acquired cult status, which must be why a lot of people were attracted to this one. vlcsnap-00672


This is actually my most-viewed piece of them all (and I have now done almost 900). I’m not sure why this 90s game show with Des O’Connor is so popular, but it’s pleasing to know that people have enjoyed it. vlcsnap-00050


My piece on the long-gone Channel 5 soap has done very well recently. Again it’s proof that you can never tell what’ll become a success. Maybe people really like my anecdote about someone who I went to school with being in the cast for a while. I wonder how many other people can boast about that. affairs0001


I am always hoping that people will take interest in my pieces, and they will attract a bigger audience by people spreading the word. I noticed that my piece about CBBC’s The Nelly Nut Show had been linked to in a Buzzfeed article about children’s TV which gave it a big boost. And anyway, it’s just a great show, plus someone who was in the cast replied as well, and I was really pleased about that. vlcsnap-00160


This is one of the few game shows that I have reviewed that is actually still running on TV. Every time there is a big win on the show, there is a surge in views for the piece from people who have done an online search to discover what the largest amount ever won is, and it’s flattering that most of them turn to me.


It’s £57,500.


When I decided to set up this blog five years ago, it was mostly to share my memories of game shows, children’s TV, and sitcoms. It never really occurred to me to do much about music. But since the Bananarama incident, I wanted to discover some more pioneering women who made music in the 80s. So I did a piece about the career of the remarkable Danielle Dax, and then I did another to coincide with her 60th birthday in 2018. Despite that, I did feel that it was too niche a subject to have that much mass appeal. But would you believe it, by some margin it became my most-viewed piece of 2019 (with almost 600 views), and it’s now my second most-viewed piece of them all, only behind Take Your Pick. One odd thing I have discovered about her since doing the piece is that her song “Flashback” was used as the theme to BBC2’s coverage of Crufts in 1996. I am really thrilled at the interest in this one, Danielle is a star and it’s good to know that lots of people around the world are still fond of her. That really is fantastic. Why don’t you let me know your favourites too? dd111

Happy New Year!

Game Show Memories – Take Your Pick.

Take Your Pick (ITV, 1992-1998)

Take Your Pick was one of the first game shows to appear on ITV and it has also gone down in TV history as being the first in the UK to offer cash prizes, and it became one of the most popular game shows of the 50s and 60s, but this piece will be based on the 90s revival. In 1992 which was Thames’s final year on air, as part of their last hurrah Take Your Pick was revived and it was hosted by Stepney’s very own Des O’Connorvlcsnap-00051

The show would work in two parts. First of all, about six or seven people were taken from the studio audience to play the Yes/No game. This was where Des would ask them questions for up to one minute and they couldn’t respond by saying “yes” or “no” which was much more difficult than it seemed. If they did, Des’s co-host, who was usually his wife or that woman who used to be in Neighbours would bang a gong to indicate that their time would be up, although there was a bonus on offer for anyone who could last the whole minute. vlcsnap-00050

In the second part of the game, the four contestants who lasted the longest in the first part returned to play for some prizes. They would be asked three general knowledge questions by Des and if they got them right they could then play for what was in the boxes. They would be asked to take their pick of ten keys, each one hiding a prize inside it, and Des would try to buy the key off them by offering some money. vlcsnap-00150

This is where the show’s famous phrase would come into use, “open the money or take the box?”. Contestants would often decide to open the box, despite Des’s best efforts, and there were some funny moments when Des would try to tempt them by showing them some money and saying “look Doris, it’s £500!”. The risk of opening the box was that although about six or seven boxes contained good prizes, about three or four contained booby prizes that were usually nothing more than an old sock. vlcsnap-00151

They would then open the box to discover what they had won. But there was a further twist. One box would also give access to the key that would open Box 13, which potentially would be hiding the biggest prize of the night. So then there would be another section where they would have to decide if they want to open their box or to gamble for what’s inside Box 13. On most occasions it seemed that there was a booby prize in that box but usually it was a clue to the star prize which was often a luxury holiday. Take Your Pick 14

The revival of Take Your Pick didn’t last as long as the original version, but it still seemed to be popular with viewers the second time around, and with people like me who were seeing the show for the first time, and the 90s version was also often repeated on Challenge.