Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 18.

This is someone else who could be another one considered by some to be on the B-list of the history of great game show hosts, but for the sheer number of shows that he’s hosted, I wanted to include him, because well someone’s got to host of all those games on regional ITV in the afternoon or on little-watched satellite channels.

And I do think that he is rather quick-witted and is knowledgeable about pop culture (a friendship with Danny Baker might not be a coincidence here). He is also into his music, being a big fan of Elvis Presley, and he also owns all of Frank Sinatra’s records. He wants them back. I think he was also following me on Twitter, although he doesn’t seem to have said anything for a while, but that hasn’t influenced my decision to include him here at all, honest.

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Paul Ross had worked behind the scenes in TV for many years, but by the mid-90s, he seemed to be here, there and everywhere on game shows, as both a host and panellist. Well he has got five children who need feeding, and he didn’t deny that his answerphone message was “yes, I’ll do it”. Oh, and he’s the older brother of Jonathan as well, but you probably knew that.

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Highlights included Jeopardy! on Sky One, the third channel to attempt a version of this format that has been much more successful in America. And there was also Tellystack, UK Gold’s game about classic TV. All Over The Shop was BBC1’s daytime game featuring celebrity panellists. A Slice Of The Action was Carlton Food Network’s game all about cookery.

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And don’t forget Mind The Gap, a game based around the London Underground tube map. Throw in The Big Breakfast too, and much more besides, and would you believe that he packed all of that into barely three or four years. Going into the 2000s, he hosted It’s Anybody’s Guess, an enjoyable ITV game where the answers had to be estimated.

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Also interesting was No Win No Fee, the daytime BBC1 game where the prize money on offer was his fee for hosting the show, meaning that he could be the one leaving empty-handed. After overdoing it for a while, he finally seemed to ease up a little in the mid-2000s, and he then had some success in other areas away from TV game shows.

This has included going on to the shopping TV circuit, he did some time on Bid TV and Ideal World, and he just about lived to tell the tale. In more recent years, he has done some radio work, including BBC London and LBC, and at the moment he seemingly thinks nothing of doing the 1am shift five days a week on TalkSport, it’s good to know that he’s still out there.

Game Show Memories – Tellystack.

Tellystack (UK Gold, 1996-1997)

Tellystack was a game show all about classic TV that was shown in the early days of satellite channel UK Gold. It was hosted by Paul Ross who seemed to be very regularly on TV at the time. He has got five children though and they need to be fed, and he once said that his answering machine message was “hello, yes, I’ll do it”, so here he was again. I don’t remember watching this show that often but I did find a full edition on YouTube recently and I do think that it is worth a review.

In Tellystack three contestants took part in what according to Paul was a terrific television trivia test. One nice touch was that all the contestants were sat in big armchairs which was presumably how they watched the TV at home. Paul would also introduce a special guest TV personality of the Liza Goddard/Melvyn Hayes variety, and they would have a mystery question. vlcsnap-00038

In the first round there was a stack of 18 televisions and there was a various TV genre on every screen. The categories were things including an archive TV clip of a show currently being repeated on UK Gold, a theme tune that had to be identified, or a Radio Times listing where you had to guess what the programme was. After seeing the clue, the question was asked and the contestants had to buzz in. If they got it right, the screen turned their colour and they scored ten points. 

If they happened to pick the screen the concealed the mystery question, an alarm would go off, and whoever got that one right scored a bonus 20 points. When time was up, the two highest-scoring contestants progressed to the next round taking their points with them, with the eliminated contestant taking away a consolation prize of a Tellystack T-shirt and book. vlcsnap-00120

Before the next round, Paul had a quick talk to the contestants about what they like to watch on TV. The 18 screens then split in half with the two contestants looking at nine screens each. A question was asked and if they got it right they could pick one screen which would reveal part of a picture of a TV personality. If they correctly guessed who it was, they scored a bonus, and when time was up, the highest-scorer went into the final, with the loser taking away a Tellystack glow-in-the-dark watch and book. 


Just before the final, Paul spoke to the celebrity guest about their career. Then it was the big moment. The final tellystack appeared. There was 90 seconds on the clock and every level of the stack contained a question about a TV genre. The more questions the finalist got right, the higher they progressed up the stack, and if they got the final answer right at the top correct they won the star prize of a highly coveted gold-plated TV! 


As far as game shows about classic TV go Tellystack was never going to really give Telly Addicts a challenge, and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, but it was good seeing UK Gold making an attempt at creating an original programme which made a good use of what they had in their archive even if it was going to be seen by a very small amount of viewers, but you’ve got to fill the hours with something haven’t you. vlcsnap-00125