With the news that ITV has commissioned a reboot of classic gameshows including Play Your Cards Right, Bullseye and The Price is Right, we look back at some of our favourites from the genre:
Fifteen To One
Originally presented by William G. Stewart, who also produced the series, this general knowledge quiz was a regular ratings hit for Channel Four during its original 1998-2003 run.
The tactical element, which saw contestants nominate opponents to answer questions on topics the player thinks they’ll be weak on, helped lift the show up above other quizzes.
In addition to five international versions, the show has been revived in the UK in two editions – a celebrity version which ran between 2013–2015 and a regular version hosted by Sandi Toksvig which debuted in 2014 and continues to this day.
One of five international remakes of Spanish game show Un, dos, tres… responda otra vez, this part quiz and part light entertainment show was a ratings hit for ITV, with audiences never dipping below 12 million during its entire 10 year run.
The format saw a procession of comedians, musicians and variety acts perform for the studio and home audiences before reading a clue to the contestants who would then have to try and decide which of the prizes on offer it related to.
The challenge was for contestants to identify and eliminate the show’s resident booby prize, Dusty Bin, and successfully navigate their way through to the star prize. If they picked Dusty by mistake, the disappointment was worsened by the knowledge that instead of the popular Dusty prop, all they actually took home was a plain old dust bin.
In addition to Dusty, the show’s other signature ingredient was host Ted Rogers’ almost impossible to mimic 3–2–1 hand gesture:
The show got at least two tie-in board games, plus an interactive DVD game and quiz book.
Deal or No Deal
Another hit for Channel 4, Deal or No Deal was Noel Edmonds’ biggest TV outing following the end of Noel’s House Party series six years earlier.
The simplicity of a format which only required contestants to choose which boxes to discard as they worked to eliminate smaller potential prizes from the game in the hope of taking home the show’s £250,000 prize allowed for plenty of interplay between the contestants and the always affable Edmonds.
Edmonds’ deftness allowed him not only to put contestants at ease, but also to turn the mysterious, unseen and unheard ‘banker’ who would use Edmonds to relay offers of certain sums in return for the player’s own box, into a fully fledged character.
While other versions of the show had already aired internationally by the time Channel 4 picked it up, the UK edition was the first to treat the ‘banker’ this way and the character quickly become a pop culture icon in its own right.
The show’s success inevitably led to the release of several merchandising lines, including books, two interactive DVD games, a card game, video games for PC, Nintendo DS and Wii, plus an iOS and Android app entitled Deal or No Deal – Noel’s Quiz. We also discover from Pink Casino that there are also officially licensed casino games based on the show.
The Weakest Link
Spanning almost 1,700 episodes, the original British version of The Weakest Link quickly became essential viewing when it debuted on BBC Two in the Summer of 2000, thanks in large part to host Anne Robinson’s acerbic wit.
Overseas editions quickly followed, with many local hosts initially seeking to mimic Robinson’s style, and the UK run is a regular fixture on BBC Entertainment, one of the broadcaster’s international channels.
The show got a range of official spin-off merchandise, including a console and PC game, a board game and quiz book.
Robinson’s “You are the weakest link. Goodbye!” dismissal of losing competitors quickly joined the list of classic quiz catchphrases and has been referenced in a myriad of shows, including Family Guy, Scary Movie 2, How I Met Your Mother and The League of Gentlemen.
Probably it’s most famous appearance outside of the series was in the Doctor Who episodes Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways in which The Doctor and companions find themselves on a space station on which classic shows are still being made.
In this fictional version of the show, Robinson’s role had been taken over by the puntastic Anne Droid (voiced by Robinson) which evaporated contestants with a laser beam, a weapon she later managed to deploy against three invading Daleks before meeting her maker:
How Will ITV Fare?
It’s going to be interesting to see how ITV’s “supersized and reinvigorated” versions of its chosen shows pan out, will they mimic the success of Channel 4’s Fifteen To One reboot or will they manage to dislodge the BBC’s embarrassingly bad The Generation Game revival from the top of the ‘worst TV ideas ever’ list?