My love of UK game shows (and a celebration of British success)

Aaarrrgggh!?! Sorry – I’m writing this in a fit of frustration. It’s good to talk, right? Through my own personal experience, there seems to be a very idiotic, frustrating UK mentality (perhaps it’s just me), where the British are not allowed to achieve success. Noooooooooo! Because – well, how would we cope?! Ricky Gervais mentioned this recently on Twitter, in a quote: ‘The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it‘ – (James Agate). Aren’t we supposed to be a nation of underdogs, forever content working in some depressing, soul-destroying job, because that’s what society wants us to do? I’ve had (ex) friends constantly try to belittle my achievements, and try to get one over on me. When I confronted them with facts, to support my argument, they just made stuff up. Why is this?! Heaven forbid some of us will actually use our brains, think logically, and go out there to actually put our talent to good use, because… well, we may actually achieve something! HOW THE HELL WILL WE COPE!?! AAARRGGGHHHH!!!

On 20 November 2000, Judith Keppel became the first person to win the top prize on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? She became the first of five to bank the £1 million. As of 21 May 2013, 587 episodes of the show have been broadcast and – at its peak – it pulled in up to 19 million viewers. In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes (drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000), Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was placed 23rd. Chris Tarrant, as the host, popularised the “Is that your final answer?” catchphrase, which became synonymous with the programme.

Family Fortunes is a British game show (admittedly based on the American version, Family Feud). Hosted by Les Dennis, the show ended on the 6 December 2002, and was revived in 2006, under the name: All Star Family Fortunes (hosted by Vernon Kay). The most iconic aspect of the show is the big, computer screen behind the presenter, and the banks of competing families on the side, as well as the famous, computerised “Eh-uh” sound. The opening line of each round, begins with: “We asked 100 people to name something…

…The concept of Pointless began, when David Flynn (one of the show’s co-creators) suggested: “What about reverse Family Fortunes? What if it’s all about finding the least obvious answer?” The idea of trying to find the answers that nobody else has come up with, rewarding obscure knowledge, and – at the same time – allowing contestants to give obvious answers, has seen Pointless recently rocket to its 500th episode on BBC1. Hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman – the show is wonderful, evening, family entertainment, and the banter between Osman and Armstrong is a joy to watch. A stroke of genius, as well, to name the show Pointless (it was originally called Obviously). My pointless friend. The pointless trophy. Pointless Celebrities, etc.

Deal or No Deal (hosted by Noel Edmonds) is played, using twenty-two sealed, red boxes, containing certain sums of money, ranging from 1p to £250,000. There have been various, themed specials (during Valentine’s, Christmas, etc) where the contestants (and Noel), dress up in various attire, to try and continue to outwit The Banker. Contestants can either ‘deal’ to take the money, or play to the end, settling on the amount in their box. As of 2013, the average daily audience is 1.50 million viewers – the most recent count for Thursday just gone (exc +1), saw Deal pull in 499k – only beating Countdown (163k), and losing out to Perfection (566k), Pointless (2.5m), Tipping Point (1.21m) and The Chase (1.9m). There have been five £250k winners (all female).

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is hosted by the Geordie duo, and features a variety of sketches, games and interviews (the most recent that spring to mind were skits with Jeremy Kyle in America, and Little Ant & Dec interviews with Russell Brand and Mila Kunis). Ant & Dec won the Award for Best Presenters (and rightly so), at the 18th National Television Awards on 23 January 2013, and most recently did their annual stint on Britain’s Got Talent. I love UK game shows. I think they are a wonderful celebration of us doing TV, and doing it well.

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