What’s Happening (CITV, 1982-1984)
This is a show that I don’t really remember watching at the time, but this is why I have decided to review it. A while ago when watching some old continuity clips I saw a trail for a CITV show that was hosted by Tommy Boyd. As I was thinking about his TV work again recently following my review of The Wide Awake Club, I was pleased to discover that there was a full edition of this show on YouTube.
What’s Happening was a CITV game show that I think was shown live, which was all about what had been in the news over the past week, but it wasn’t like Have I Got News For You. It was a chance for contestants to show that they knew all about the latest events in politics, sport, music and so on. Two teams of four schoolchildren took part, and they were stacked on top of one-another in a Blankety Blank style.
The teams came from across the country, but oddly they were representing their local independent radio station instead of their school, such as Reading-based Radio 210, Closer To You on Medium Wave and VHF Stereo. Rounds included ITN presenter Leonard Parkin with some news reports that contained three factual errors, and the teams had to work out what they were and correct them, so pencils at the ready.
Other rounds included picture clues about things that had recently been in the news, and determining whether unusual stories were true or false. Plenty of points were given out and the highest-scoring team progressed to the next round. There were also lots of prizes on offer including a special glass bowl for the overall series winners, along with a fancy home computer too.
What’s Happening aimed to be educational as well as entertaining and ran for a few series on CITV. Tommy held the show together well, he once said that the most awkward moment was when he asked a contestant if they knew a politician whose name contains a body part, and got the answer Willie Whitelaw. There was also a competition for viewers at home who could write in, and What’s Happening is also one of the very few game shows that listed the contestants in the credits.
Tommy Boyd went on to host a few other shows on CITV throughout the years, before going off to TV-am, and then returning in the early-90s. He then appeared on a few other TV shows including Win, Lose Or Draw, and even made a guest appearance in The Bill. After this he went into radio, and seems to spend most of his time nowadays alternating between getting sacked at TalkRadio and LBC, but it’s good to know he’s still out there.