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My favourite presenter was Nicky Campbell who was a class above the other presenter, showing a genuine warmth and regard for the contestants. Answering the initial question is secondary to having the skill to identify the necessary names or phrases. Potential winners must have the nerve to carry on spinning the wheel for more points even after it is clear that they know the answer. The eventual winner gets to go for £20,000 or a brand new car. Most winners seem to go for pick the envelope for the car, making me suspicious that the car was in both envelopes. The final puzzle is either very easy or very difficult dependant on how lucky the winner is with their letter choices. More letters in the answer can be helpful. Very short answers can be very difficult.
Wheel of Fortune was a game show loosely based around the game of
Hangman, and as everyone likes Hangman, the show was sure to be a
Initially, the show would begin with the host asking a 50/50 question and if the contestant was correct, they could spin the wheel. If a player was incorrect, or lost his/her turn, the next contestant alongside would be asked another question to win control. This took far up too much time and there wasn't always time for the fourth round, which was rather annoying. This was changed much later on, with the host asking a question and whoever buzzed in first with the right answer got the first go, with no questions in between, and worked much better.
There were some good tactics of play during the main game; the contestant could carry on spinning the wheel and choosing letters until they hit a 'Lose a Turn', 'Bankrupt', guessed a letter incorrectly, or knew the answer, so would you carry on spinning even though you could lose it all, or just answer straight away? And whenever a contestant solved a puzzle correctly, they could choose from one of three prizes, which was a nice feature.
Afterwards, the highest scoring contestant would go on to play for one of the star prizes, and in the final, the contestant would be told what subject the puzzle was, and then had to choose 5 consonants and 1 vowel, with any letter appearing being lit up. The puzzle was either very easy or very hard, depending on the letter choices.
The first host was Nicky Campbell, who was rather smarmy. He might be a really good presenter on current affairs programmes, but he's not the best game show host. Bradley Walsh was quite good and it was a shame he didn't do it for longer. John Leslie was wooden and used the same script each show, and Paul Hendy was more or less the same as John Leslie.
Wheel of Fortune had a good concept, but with an acquired taste of presenters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I often used to watch this when I was younger, and when I got the chance to see it again in my older days I was really glad to still enjoy it. The show was on since the 1980's, with host Nicky Campbell and hostess Carol Smillie, but the two versions I saw were with one time host Bradley Walsh (who I instantly recognised when playing Danny Baldwin in Coronation Street), and the longer serving John Leslie, both next to hostess Jenny Powell until the end. The game, based on the popular American game show, consists of three contestants (two guys, one woman - two women - one guy) given a board of hidden letters, the puzzle being a phrase, film title, television, song/artist, famous person, book/author, sporting hero, famous landmark, occupation, etc. To gain points the player spins the wheel of multicoloured cash amounts, and whatever it lands on is how many points you get from the letter you choose, said with clarity, e.g. "A for apple", "S for sugar", "T for Tommy", etc. The points are between 150-1000, but also on the wheel are the bad ones to land on, the Lose A Turn which says it all, and the Bankrupt which eliminates any points you may have in the round. It is four rounds, the first with a particular letter worth an extra £100 if the puzzle is solved by the player, the second round is normal but with a mystery prize token put on a points place, and if the player lands on it and solves the puzzle they win the mystery prize - most often a watch, the third round is where whatever you spin on is doubled and has an extra clever "puzzler" connected to puzzle just solved, e.g. "Out of This World" followed by "Astronaut", and the contestant has to solve in five seconds for £100, and the final puzzle is normal with double points, unless they are running out of time and it becomes a speed round worth the doubled amount the host spins on a letter. Throughout each round, the player that solves the puzzle gets to choose a prize from the stage of items and accessories, demonstrated by the good looking but daft prize guy, with prizes like a TV and video combo, DVDs, video camera, fridge, washing machine, stereo, golf clubs, etc. Obviously the player with most points after four rounds, a certain amount of points for each round, all added together, is the one that plays the final puzzle (without the need of the wheel), they get to choose five consonants one one vowel, and they have to solve within fifteen seconds ton win the jackpot £2000. Like Catchphrase or Family Fortunes this is a game show that you can join in with at home if you can recognise the answers to the puzzles, it is good fun. Very good!
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