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 – Today’s The Day.

Today’s The Day (BBC2, 1993-1999)

A rather cosy daytime game show that looked back at history and nostalgia where all the questions were connected to events that happened on the day that the episode was broadcast. It was hosted by the news presenter Martyn Lewis and ran for several years. Here’s how the format worked. vlcsnap-00436

Two teams of two took part. The first round featured an archive news report and the teams had to buzz in and “stop the clip” once they thought they knew what it was about. There was a decreasing points value though so the earlier they buzzed in the more they could score. Get it wrong though and the clip restarted with the other team having a chance but with the points value continuing to decrease. vlcsnap-00437

Then there was the round featuring various TV clips that were originally shown on the day in years gone by. Anything could turn up but these clips were usually from chat shows or comedy sketches. A question would then be asked about who featured in the clip. vlcsnap-00438

Then there would be some more questions on the buzzer. In the next round, there were eight archive clips to choose from of varying points value from 5 to 15. Watch the clip and then get asked a question about it to win the points on offer. vlcsnap-00440

The final round featured one of the two contestants on the team nominated to face questions with one minute on the clock. Again the questions were about news events that happened on the day or about famous people who were born on that day. There were ten points for each correct answer. One thing that I liked about this round was a huge close-up of the contestant appearing on the screen to heighten the tension. Great music too. vlcsnap-00441

The winning team could stay on to appear again the next day, with the highest scoring teams playing one another in a knockout tournament at the end of the series to win the overall prize of a trip around the world. There were also lots of consolation prizes including everyone receiving a copy of a newspaper that was originally published on the day that they were born. vlcsnap-00442

Today’s The Day was one of those shows that carried on in its afternoon slot comfortably for six years. There was always an interesting use of archive footage and it was always especially good to watch when it was your birthday. There were also a few Christmas specials where celebrities took part and a board game was released too, along with the usual viewers’ phone-in competition. There was even a spin-off radio version of the show that was also hosted by Martyn Lewis. vlcsnap-00443

There was a similar game show to Today’s The Day on Channel 4 around the same time called Backdate which also used the combination of general knowledge questions about things that had happened on specific days in history and I will review that one soon.