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Would I Lie to You? (2007)
A breath of fresh air
Good, this. Two teams of celebrity guests try to figure out whether their opponents ridiculously far-fetched statements about themselves are true or, in fact, a lie.
"Would I Lie To You?" is a fairly new Quizcom that pokes fun at the recent boom of "truth game" formats. It only arrived on screens last year, but made an instant impact with me. A great selection of guests so far, and well-picked team captains in David Mitchell, whom I'd already established, and Lee Mack, new to me at the time but with a great, slightly Chandler-like comedy style.
It's also good to finally see Angus Deayton return to a quiz host's chair. He hasn't lost any of his wonderful deadpan wit since his HIGNFY days, and makes for an integral part of the show's success. The first truly entertaining new TV programme in a long time, and it's set to return for a second series. I look forward to it.
Going for Gold (1987)
Unique concept in its day
In a unique twist, contestants from around Europe competed in a three-stage quiz game, answering general knowledge questions in order to qualify for the final and win a prize.
Although my memories of this show are a bit fuzzy, I remember the rounds very well. Starting with an elimination, before moving on to a round where they answered for more points depending on difficulty, then a "chain" round where they had to get as many right in a row as they could and ending with the 4-3-2-1 descriptions round depicted above.
The host, Henry Kelly, is most likely the classiest gameshow host I've ever seen on telly, and he supported the show very well. The "Euro quiz" idea was a unique, yet slightly barmy, concept as well, I remember an incident where a contestant kept buzzing in just for the hell of it! I enjoyed this show during its run, but wasn't too keen on five's cheap remake, One To Win. It was good while it lasted, but desperately needs to be re-run at some point for the benefit of those who didn't see it first time round.
Deal or No Deal? (2005)
Proved to be repetitive
I'll admit that I really enjoyed this show. Once. A welcome return for Noel and every game entertaining with the different personalities of the contestants.
Sadly, they've all run out. The show has become a stagnant shadow of its former self, and yet it still continues to run without any sort of break. Where the early shows had the anticipation of whether the quarter million would be won, the media ruined it by printing the first winner several weeks before it was aired, thus eliminating any point in watching this show. It's pure guesswork, that's all it is. And there's too much hype surrounding it even now. I, for one, have lost favour with it.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks (1996)
Continues to deliver
2 teams of celebrities make their way through various musical games & questions, though the real challenge of the gameshow nowadays is, quite clearly, withstanding the inevitable onslaught from host Simon Amstell! I only began watching this programme in 2000, but knew instantly it was a winner. With memorably funny rounds such as the Intros round, and of course the line-up, it never failed to disappoint.
Mark Lamarr was a great host for the show, interacting well with the teams, and sometimes having a snipe at one or two! Unbelievably Amstell has managed to keep this momentum going with his own wacky twist on proceedings. Likewise, team captains Phill Jupitus and Bill Bailey are always game for a laugh, and not forgetting the down-to-earth style humour of former captain Sean Hughes. They can tend to stray a long way off topic, though, deeming certain sections of the programme pointless. Simon serves as a great successor to Mark for his bitchiness and incredible wit. Very entertaining.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1988)
The rise of improvise...
4 comedians play various improv games for the amusement of the audience and are supposedly given points over the course of the game. The winner gets to read the credits in an unusual way.
It's only by virtue of UKTV G2 (or Dave, as it now prefers) that I'm able to watch re-runs of this. And I think it's a gem of a programme which has never failed to raise a laugh yet.
Clive Anderson, as host, remained dignified even when he was the butt of the jokes, and the improvisers themselves have unbelievably quick wits. Stiles and Mochrie were obviously the stars of the show, but others such as Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence and my personal favourite Tony Slattery all managed to put on strong performances time after time. It would be great to see this return to British shores sometime, even if only for a one-off special.
Catch Phrase (1986)
Excellent in its time
Energetic gameshow in which 2 contestants try to guess a well known phrase or title from what appears on the board to win a cash prize. The player with the most cash gets the Super Catchphrase, where they get to play for a luxury holiday.
Undoubtedly an entertaining show, if not for the animations but definitely for the light entertainment and wonderful atmosphere provided by the legendary Roy Walker.
When the show returned with a new look and a new presenter, it didn't feel the same but it was still a pretty decent gameshow with some surprisingly high-value prizes and cash to give away. Unfortunately, as time went on the show never gained the charm it once had, certainly not under its last daytime hail under former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry. It's unlikely to return, but it will be remembered fondly for a while yet.
A winning formula
Based on French gameshow "Des chiffres et des lettres", the very first programme ever to be shown on Channel 4 still continues to this day, albeit sadly without the brilliant Richard Whiteley, who never missed a single show throughout his run as presenter.
Despite this, it still draws in a consistent number of viewers every day who enjoy nothing more than pitting their wits against a variety of numbers and letters games, and another great feature of the show is that people of all ages can apply for the show which can be entertaining. With it's well handled simplicity, dignity, light entertainment and wonderfully selected special guests, as well as that famous clock, Countdown remains true to the same formula it created over 25 years ago. Here's hoping the programme lasts another 25.
Number One (2001)
Unique, but lacking in excitement
A reminder of the format: Contestants qualify for podiums by getting a question right, then move up and down the podiums in the main game depending on whether they get the questions right or wrong. The final two go head-to-head, and whoever claims Number One at the end of the game.
I enjoyed this show in its short run. It was a unique idea, and was certainly entertaining for a while. However the way the concept was handled made it seem bland, and I imagine it would have benefited more with a studio audience.
Channel 4 reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who fronted the show, put in a dignified and flamboyant performance as the host which brought a much needed touch of class. It sadly didn't last the distance because of its presentation, but a re-hash might improve it if it were to make a return.
A classic of the 90s
If there's one thing I loved about this programme, it was the atmosphere in this studio, which was often fantastic. The games were great to watch, and with an extensive list of gladiators everyone will have had their favourites.
Sadly, the show got a bit repetitive later on in the run, with no fresh challenges and seemingly samey format, but it still entertained on the odd occasion. It had a good run, it was always an adrenaline packed show with a clash of dozens of personalities. Who can forget Wolf's antics, Shadow's (almost) unbeaten Duel run or John Anderson's piercing voice? The original run lasted, only just into 2000, with the last ever episode going out on New Year's Day. For me, it will forever conjure positive and nostalgic memories.
Having not seen the new series (due to lack of Sky One), I cannot pass judgement on the revamped version, though if the original was anything to go by it should be worth a look.
A cult favourite
The basic concept: A player and a team played against each other to create lines vertically/horizontally on the board before the opposing player/team, answering questions based on the chosen letter. The winner would go on to play Gold Rush, with multiple letters, in an effort to win the big prize.
Great fun. If it had still been going today, I would have liked to go on it myself. It was always a lively program, with some bizarre contestant personalities facing a distinguished host, Bob Holness, who played his part as the host in an ever-cheerful manner.
Although the format will forever appear dated, this is a game show that will live on in people's minds for a good few years yet. A series revival would be good, providing they find the right host and don't deviate too far from it's original setup. What would happen if the theme music changed and killed off that famous hand jive? *Twirls arms, claps hands etc*