Tag Archives: game show

Classic Game Shows

27 Sep

They don’t make game shows like they used to. The fun factor seems to have been replaced by greed, with huge prizes now on offer in programmes such as Red or Black and Deal or no Deal; without the contestants actually having to have any common sense whatsoever. Here, I take a look back at some of my favourite game shows that I can remember:

 

Eggs and Bacon – Hosted by Richard Bacon and CJ from Eggheads; Eggs and Bacon was a homo-erotic quiz show based on knowledge of cottaging, docking, buggery and denim shorts. Three contestants would compete over five rounds, amassing points depending on how quickly they could answer the questions. At the end of each round, there would be a bonus round, hilariously renamed the ‘Bonar Round’, in which the contestants could try and double their points tally. The Bonar Round was different in that it was down to a physical challenge and contestants were put though tasks such as ‘How many condoms can you slide onto a cucumber?’, ‘Guess the todger by touch’ and ‘The Jack-off Jive’. The contestant with the most points at the end of the show would have the chance to win a holiday in the final round, ‘The Big One’. There were only ever 3 winners.

Eggs and Bacon ran for 2 series from 2010 to 2011, with the BBC refusing to commission any further shows due to the obscene number of complaints sent in to Points Of View. Most of them centred around the incessant flirting between Bacon and CJ, with many viewers calling it ‘uncalled for’ but the questions and physical tasks didn’t escape criticism either. With its lurid pink set and constant innuendo, many saw the 8pm prime time slot as a mistake by the BBC, and as such, was the kiss of death for the show.

The Crystal Catch Maze – When funding was cut for the producers of two of the most popular shows in existence, The Crystal Maze and Catchphrase, they decided to take drastic action. Rather than lose one and keep the other, they decided to merge the shows into one. The result saw the creation of The Crystal Catch Maze. Five contestants, working as a team, would be sent to various zones, where they would have to guess catchphrases acted out in 2D on a projector screen whilst being put off by various swinging objects and obstacles. In some cases, they were made to smoke crystal meth before a round to make it even more difficult. If the selected team member guessed the catchphrase correctly in the allotted time, host Roy Walker (who agreed to wax his head and learn the harmonica for the role), would shout ‘You’re Right!’ and they would win a crystal. The more crystals the team won, the longer time they would have in the final round.

In this final round, the team were put into a huge crystal (later found to be heated well over health and safety regulations) in which silver and gold tickets would flutter around, propelled by a huge fan installed inside it (which also blew hot air). The aim was to collect 100 gold tickets, with any silver ones collected deducting a point from the tally amassed. It was made even more difficult as two crew members would dress up in Mr. Chips costumes and hit the contestants with rubber mallets. The Crystal Catch Maze ran from 2002 to 2005, always attracting a large audience, and so it was a surprise to many when the show was dropped. In fact, it wasn’t until this year that The Crystal Maze was rumoured to be making a comeback, with this plan for the new format leaked on the internet:

Leaked on the Internet, much to the embarassment of channel 4 producers.

(image by @QuantumPirate – follow him on Twitter)

That’s Not Yoghurt! – Contestants on That’s Not Yoghurt! were either brave or stupid. Six contestants would start the show, and once blindfolded, would have to guess if the item that they were tasting was yoghurt or something else. Host Floella Benjamin revelled in her new TV role, revealing a mean streak that she was not able to show on Playdays (apart from the time she gave one toddler a backhand for being lippy). That’s Not Yoghurt! was not as easy as it sounds, with most of the show’s budget spent on creating new and unusual flavours of yoghurt in an attempt to trick contestants, who would shout “THAT’S NOT YOGHURT!” when in fact it was. In particular, the cheddar cheese, the bacon and the semen ‘n’ garlic flavoured yoghurts fooled many contestants. Memorable items fed to contestants in the hope of them thinking that it was in fact yoghurt were lard, chlorine, mouthwash, various out of date soups and in one case, petrol.

At the end of a round, the contestant who had either called the foodstuff correctly or incorrectly as yoghurt the most times would have to drop out, until there was one remaining. The final round was called ‘Now That’s What I Call Yoghurt’. In this, the last remaining contestant would be dunked into a bath of yoghurt, and they had to eat it all within a 6 minute period. Only one person ever achieved this, and they won a life supply of yoghurt. During its later years, the final round was spruced up a bit in a bid to keep it modern. One stand out series included an addition of a ‘Fruit Corner Final’ in which a bidet was placed next to the bath, filled with fruit. The finalist had to scoop this fruit out of the bidet and into the bath, before jumping in and consuming it all. That’s Not Yoghurt aired from 1991 – 1997 but has recently made a comeback in Japan.

Cat, Mouse, Dog, Chicken – Take the mental tests from the Krypton Factor and make them twice as hard, and then take the physical challenge from the same show and sprinkle it with the toughness of the Total Wipeout course, and you are just some of the way towards visioning the fantastic game show that was Cat, Mouse, Dog, Chicken.  The show itself was a complex production, with a colossal 100 contestants competing over 64 rounds on every show, and it was for this reason that it had to be shown over the course of three evenings every week. The show spanned an impressive 15 years, from the first ever screening in 1970, to the last show in October 1985. Les Dawson watched over proceedings, often barking out questions through a loudspeaker to the contestants, who would be gunged for every question that they got wrong.

The ‘buzz’ round was always comical, with all 64 contestants attempting to buzz in first to answer questions and would often lead to Dawson shouting his now famous catchphrase, “One at a time, my little chickens”. Due to the sheer mental and physical strength required to win the show, the prize for winning was often substantial, ranging from speedboats and scooters to top of the range ovens and camping gear. No one actually knew why it was called Cat, Mouse, Dog, Chicken and it remains a closely guarded secret. There have been no plans to bring this show back as a full series, although there have been a few Celebrity Christmas Specials.

The Barking Spider – Hosted by a different member of the public every week, The Barking Spider was a light-hearted game show which did take a lot of inspiration from the Generation Game. Two families would compete over six rounds, aiming to score as many points as possible, with the victorious family winning a holiday of their dreams to anywhere in the north of England. Different rounds included painting, clay modelling, yodelling, go-kart racing as well as good old fashioned question answering.

What made this show stand out was the banter between the two competing families each week, with the selected host often having to step in when things got a bit heated. Sometimes, audience members would also have to step in the help diffuse the situation, and admittedly is was this excitement that helped The Barking Spider hit peak viewing figures of 7.5 million in 1995 when it was on every Saturday evening.

The main event that everyone watching looked forward to was the final round where the family with the most points would face The Barking Spider; a huge robotic spider that would spin round quickly. 8 huge legs aimed to knock the family members off bar stools on which they had to balance, and then jump as the legs approached; and if at least one family member was still on their bar stool after 90 seconds, they would win the prize. There were often serious injuries during this final round; 12 broken arms in total, 4 ruptured spleens and sadly, in 1998, a decapitation.

Take Me Out

7 Jul

For a laugh, I sent an email to ITV smash hit, Take Me Out, in an attempt to see what sort of idiots they look to accept on the program. I started with the following two emails:

 

From: admin@deathonthestairs.co.uk
To: takemeout@talkbackthames.tv
Subject: Application Form for the next series
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 10:24:02

 

Good Morning,
 
I’d love, and I mean LOVE, the opportunity to find true love on the next series of Take Me Out. I’m a 26 year old man, and haven’t had the best of luck with the ladies. If I could sum myself up in 4 phrases, I’d say I was good looking, witty and an excellent mathematician. Despite these qualities, I just don’t get the chance to meet nice women. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places? I just don’t know, but i’m sure you could hook me up with one of the 30 beautiful (ok, maybe 20) women on the show?
 
Please can you send me an application form so I can have a chance to appear on the show? If the worst happened and all the lights went off, at least I’d get a bit of man love from Paddy – what a guy!
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
Let the applicant, see the form.
 
Kind Regards,
===============================================================

From: admin@deathonthestairs.co.uk
To: takemeout@talkbackthames.tv
Subject: Application Form for the next series
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2011 11:44:32

 Hello again,
 

I’ve just re-read my below email and realise that it may come across as quite sarcastic, rather than the eye-catching introduction I was hoping for. In any case, please can you send me an application form for the show so I can at least apply formally?
 
Many thanks in advance,
================================================================

 It wasn’t long before I received and application form back in reply. I filled it out as follows:

 

FULL NAME: (as on passport)
XXXX XXXXXXX 
FIRST NAME THAT YOU PREFER TO BE CALLED: AGE:
XXXXX  27
HOME ADDRESS:
XXXX XXXXXXX  
YOUR CONTACT NUMBERS
OFFICE: XXXXXXXHOME: As aboveMOBILE: As above
YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:admin@deathonthestairs.co.uk 
 
CITY OR TOWN ORIGINALLY FROM:
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire 
ARE YOU:   SINGLE / MARRIED / SEPARATED / DIVORCED
Single 
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MARRIED OR ENGAGED?  IF YES – HOW MANY TIMES?
No 
WHO DO YOU LIVE WITH?
My cat Yeti and a life size cardboard cut out of Kylie Minogue 
HOW TALL ARE YOU? (in Feet and Inches)
5 feet 8.5 inches (the half is oh so important!) 
CURRENT OCCUPATION:
Pirate 
PREVIOUS JOBS:
Paper BoyBuilder / PlastererPersonal Assistant
Fluffer
Purchasing Executive  for a computer software company
Burlesque Dancer 
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUALIFICATIONS?
A manual handling certificate from my last employers – I know how to lift boxes!
ARE THERE ANY DATES BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER 2011 THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR AUDITIONS OR RECORDINGS?
Nope, I’m free whenever! “I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeee” 
DO YOU HAVE ANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS OR DISABILITIES WHICH WE SHOULD BE AWARE OF AND/OR ANY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS – IF YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND AN AUDITION?
I have protruding ribs which means i can’t wear silly costumes 
HAVE YOU EVER APPEARED ON A TV SHOW? (Please give dates & details)
No – but, once i caught my reflection on the TV screen and thought I was! 

WE ARE HOPING TO HOLD AUDITIONS IN (OR NEAR) SOME OF THE FOLLOWING CITIES:

 

♥  MANCHESTER  ♥  LIVERPOOL ♥BIRMINGHAM  ♥  NOTTINGHAM  ♥ CARDIFF  ♥ BRISTOL  ♥

♥LONDON  ♥ BELFAST  ♥  LEEDS  ♥  NEWCASTLE  ♥ GLASGOW♥EDINBURGH♥

 

IF  OFFERED  AN AUDITION – PLEASE INDICATE BELOW YOUR 1ST & 2ND MOST CONVENIENT CITIES:

  1.        London 2.        Birmingham

Not everyone who applies for this show can be offered an audition. Auditioning does not guarantee a place on the show.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS?  (Please include sports, clubs, musical instruments you can play etc)
Dancing like a fool to the music on adverts, winding up cold callers, bumping into people who wear camouflage clothing and declaring ‘sorry, didn’t see you there’,  going to gigs, sumo wrestling, I play the guitar, socialising, doodling, laughing, sleeping, creative writing, tantric yoga, gardening, eating, watching and playing football and women’s volleyball (watching only!), hi-fiving random people when food shopping, running, reading teletext, people watching, sarcasm, stalking people and last but not least, yodelling. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY NICKNAMES? (If YES – please explain them)
Sandpaper – cos i shave my scrotum, and it has that texture 
HOW WOULD YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY DESCRIBE YOU?
A good laugh bordering on wind-up merchant, trustworthy, a bad dancer,modest,  kind, generous and creative. That’s if you got them on a good day! Otherwise, they might just say, “Oh, yeah, he’s alright. Bit of a knob, but we tolerate him”. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS?  (Can you sing, dance, juggle, etc – special party piece)
I can play guitar. I can do a weird clappy thing that makes a wonderful echoey noise and I can make tunes with it. I can do a few card tricks. I can pat my head and rub my belly at the same time. I can make my eyes blink really quickly!I can fit most of a large cucumber in my mouth.All my toes are the same length.
I can do good accents! Welsh a particular favourite.  
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Touching Linda Lovegrove’s breasts in year 9 
DO YOU HAVE ANY UNUSUAL OR IRRITATING HABITS?
I like to fiddle with things, often to the point where I break them.
I drum my fingers against a lot of things.
I drink milk from the carton.
I squeeze spots. Not just my own.
I Photoshop my friends to make them look a bit fatter before I tag them in photos on Facebook.
I sing really loudly in the car.
I am indecisive. Actually no I’m not. Yes, yes I am 
WHAT QUALITIES WOULD YOUR IDEAL WOMAN HAVE? (looks, features, personality)
Looks wise, ideally she’d have a pretty face and a body, and that would suffice. 
HOW LONG WAS YOUR LONGEST RELATIONSHIP?
3 and a half years 
ARE ANY OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS SINGLE?SISTER / BROTHER / MUM / DAD / DAUGHTER / SON (Give details below of anyone aged 18+):
No, i’m the only one left! 
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT APPLYING FOR THIS SHOW? (Please be specific, eg if it was a website please say which one or if it was an email please say who from)
I just went on the ITV website and sent a hopeful email through, then received this application form back! 
PLEASE GIVE US THE CONTACT PHONE NUMBERS OF TWO GOOD FRIENDS OR RELATIVES THAT WE COULD CONTACT IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES: (please state relationship)
XXXXXXXX
PLEASE  POST  FORM WITH PHOTO TO:                               

TAKE ME OUT, TALKBACKTHAMES TELEVISION, 1 STEPHEN STREET, LONDON W1T 1AL

 

OR EMAIL  WITH PHOTO TO:  takemeoutboys@talkbackthames.tv

APPLICATIONS WITHOUT PHOTOS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED!

 Will you allow us to hold this info on our talkbackThames TV contestant database? 

 

YES

 May we pass this information on to our other quiz show programmes?

 

YES 

     

 So I emailed the above back.

 Today, I received a phone call. They want me on the show. This is 100% true!

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