When I was young the single best thing about a “sick day” was watching afternoon quiz shows. This is showing my age but for me, it used to be Blockbuster and going for gold. Thankfully quiz shows have come some way. Here are some of the best that British television has had to offer.
Imagine a quiz show where there are lots of correct answers. The idea of pointless is to give the most obscure, but correct answer. This unique premise coupled with two hilarious hosts makes for afternoon entertainment unlikely to be beaten. Oh yeah, and losing couples get a second bite at the cherry which gives it a personal touch.
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Despite the coughing scandal, this quiz show became a global phenomenon. The multiple choice format and the gambling element helped to elevate this show. Of course, the massive prize on offer didn’t hurt either. The staggered difficulty of the questions was a nice addition as it helped us at home feel like quiz gurus for knowing that a female deer is called a Doe.
The weakest link
Anne Robinson proved that she had the perfect amount of cutting sarcasm to host this cutthroat quiz. The format itself was pretty unremarkable, save for the tactical voting system. Robison, however, made it special with her vicious put-downs and icy stare. The disdain in her voice as she uttered her infamous catchphrase “you are the weakest link, goodbye” made her comparable with Hal from Space 2001.
We all love those 2p “pusher machines” at the arcade, don’t we? Somewhere along the line, some genius decided to take them and make it into a quiz show. It shouldn’t work, but it kind of does.
In this show, regular folk are challenged with taking on “chasers”, quizmasters with swathes of general knowledge. These tend to be arrogant people and generally pretty nasty towards their slightly-less famous counterparts. The quiz format is quirky but the show is carried by the entertaining and enigmatic Bradley Walsh.
An oldie, but goodie. Bullseye was must-see TV back in the eighties. Featuring pro-dart players and amateurs alike. It is responsible for 50% of the boats in the UK harbours! Okay, so that isn’t entirely accurate although they did commonly give away speed boats as prizes. If you watched along at home it was mandatory to quote along as the commentator did his “iiiiinnnn ooonnnneee” schtick.
This TV show has been on our screens for almost forty years. The basic premise is simple, the contestants take randomly selected letters and try and form the longest words they can. There is also a similar number-based round. More recently the game has a comedy-based, celebrity-filled version hosted by stand-up comic Jimmy Carr.
“say what you see”. This iconic game show was must-see Saturday night viewing during the late ’80s Hosted by Irishman Roy Walker and featuring the yellow robot “Mr Chips”. The show was wildly entertaining.
Strike It Lucky
Nothing remarkable about the format for this show, but the hosting was a different matter. Michael Barrymore may be mired in controversy now, but during the shows run he was considered a national treasure. Wildly entertaining he lifted the mediocre show to mainstream prominence with his easy-to-love charm.
Deal or No Deal
It may be stretching it to call this a quiz show as there is no actual quiz involved. Instead, it is a game based on the luck of the draw. It also acts as a very good indicator of the greed of its contestants. There is seldom an episode where you won’t find yourself yelling at your screen “take the money, you idiot!”.