This is actually a massive subject. Loads of amazing game shows and quiz shows to choose from. Just look at how long the list of honourable mentions is. Very tough to choose a Top Ten. I had to go for ones that I have massive nostalgia for but that I also would enjoy sitting down and watching today (for example I’ve got huge nostalgia for 3-2-1 but I don’t think I could watch it today!). I also didn’t put Countdown on my list. It would have been no.11. I still love the show even now but it’s probably not higher just because it has basically never been off our screens. I think it doesn’t quite hold that nostalgia factor for me as much because of that reason.
A lot of the shows in this list are based on shows from the US (often with the name slightly changed) but some are quirky, original UK concepts.10. Strike It Lucky Michael Barrymore at his best. This show was great fun. They spent about the first 10 minutes just having Michael Barrymore take the piss out of the contestants, before the quiz even started. But he did it in such a charming way, and he was great with the old ladies who came on. Great catchphrases such as “Top, Middle or Bottom!” and “What’s a hotspot not? Not a good spot!”.
9. A Question of Sport I think this one was on either a Monday or a Thursday night. I’ve got memories of watching it after doing my school homework. Classic, classic show that is still going strong of course. My main nostalgia memories stem from the era when David Coleman was the host and Bill Beaumont and Emlyn Hughes were captains. Willie Carson too. So many other classic captains over the years too such as Ally McCoist and John Parrot. The best round had to be the What Happened Next round.
8. Going for Gold This show was hilarious. So kitchy and fun. Who can’t love Henry Kelly. The format of the show was pretty cool but the one thing that always made me laugh was that it was international (it was like the Eurovision of quiz shows), in the sense that they would always have contestants from France or the Netherlands or Belgium etc but all the questions would be in English. You have to assume the native English speakers will have a slight advantage on the beat the buzzer rounds! Awesome, awesome theme tune too. Probably the best game show theme tune ever.
7. Fifteen-to-One Funky, synth pop theme tune on this show which was pretty cool. I just loved the format of the show and how you could nominate other people. Some people were so vindictive and ruthless about who they would nominate. And it seemed so random that the grand prize wasn’t a big cash sum but instead a piece of art like a vase, which they couldn’t even put on eBay because eBay (and the internet) hadn’t been invented yet.
6. Bob’s Full House I could watch anything with Bob Monkhouse. The guy was a smooth talking, slick, charming gag machine. A legend of old school stand up comedy and family entertainment. He was so good as a quiz show host too, looking after his guests well, not making jokes at their expense, and he always had a gag off the top of his head about random facts that came up during the quiz. Great final segment of the show too where they could win the holiday.
5. You Bet! What a great concept for a show. Bring in people who had impressive or random skills, such as the ability to recognise cars just by the silhouette of their headlights, and get celebrities to bet on whether they could do a big challenge or not. I loved the Bruce Forsyth era in the 80s and also the Matthew Kelly version in the 90s. Would I watch it today? You Bet!
4. Family Fortunes It’s not often that a sound effect makes it way into popular culture. It’s pretty rare. But the ‘X’ sound from Family Fortunes is definitely one of them. This was a great show to play along with from home. Some great hosts over the years. Bob Monkhouse, Max Bygraves and then of course Les Dennis who did it for a total of 15 years! It has of course been brought back as ‘All Star’ Family Fortunes with celebrities as the contestants. Good to see it back on our screens. Classic catchphrase too of “Our survey says…!”
3. Blockbusters Bob Holness is a legend to students everywhere. And he is the subject of the urban legend that he played saxophone on Baker Street (which I believe is false). The format of the show was great and of course led to the classic funny catchphrase of “Can I have a ‘P’ please, Bob?”. I never quite got the reasoning behind how they had one contestant against a team of two contestants. On the entry form did you have to state how confident you were to go it alone? Or as it was all students who were on the show did they base it on their grades? It just seemed that the two person team would always have a massive advantage over the soloist. Great theme tune too, although I dare you, I double dare you, to watch the hand clap dance below without cringing. What were they thinking?
2. Catchphrase This was very nearly my no.1 show. I love so much about it. I love the effort that went into making the graphics for each question and the visual puns and cliches that had to be guessed. I love the sound effects when someone presses the buzzer. And I love Roy Walker. What a dude. He’s the kind of guy you just want to go for a drink with down the pub. Totally classic catchphrase of “It’s good but it’s not right”. He had such a hard job in trying to encourage people and be positive even when they gave the most stupid suggestions. You’ve probably seen it before but check out the funny clip below when Roy just completely loses it. Makes me laugh every time.
1. Bullseye A quiz show, with darts, hosted by a stand up comedian who had never hosted a TV show before. It shouldn’t have worked, but it sure did. Jim Bowen was so bad he was good. He was so likeable and you couldn’t tell if he was a master comedian and making mistakes on purpose or just bumbling along and going with the flow. It felt real though. That’s what made it so accessible. That and the huge number of classic catchphrases. “Super, smashing, great”. “Iiiiiiin1, Iiiiiiin2… and Bully’s special priiiiize!”. And the immortal “Look at what you could have won”. How cruel to show the person what they could have won, if only their darts partner had just got that last bloody dart in the 20. If they won it always seemed to be a caravan and if they lost it always seemed to be a speedboat that they wheeled out. Funny that. And one of my missions in life is to get my hands on a bendy Bully. That has to happen. Moooo!
The Price is Right
The Crystal Maze
The Krypton Factor
Every Second Counts
It’s a Knockout
Mr & Mrs
Wheel of Fortune
The Adventure Game
The Generation Game
The Great Egg Race
Through the Keyhole
Call My Bluff
Name That Tune
What game shows would be at the top of your list?