This week we reveal our favourite game-shows on Freeview, from the old to the new…
Fingers on buzzers, please – what is television’s best game-show? Okay, that one’s a bit unfair. But you probably have a personal favourite or two. Perhaps you can’t beat a bit of bully? Pointless by name, addictive by nature? On Freeview, you get plenty of choice between old and new game-shows, from quiz-based to extreme physical challenges.
Saturday 21 November at 6pm, BBC One
This isn’t your run of the mill quiz. What sets Pointless apart from the rest is that it rewards obscure knowledge. Contestants try and come up with answers that nobody else could think of – leading us to shout embarrassingly incorrect answers at home.
In this week’s celebrity edition, Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman co-host a food themed episode. Guests include chef Paul Rankin and Bake-Off’s Richard Burr and Frances Quinn.
The Chase: Celebrity Special
Saturday 21 November at 7pm, ITV
The celebrities are just clamouring for game-show time. To be fair, it’s all in the name of charity. This week sees Coronation Street star Les Dennis, heptathlete Louise Hazel, comedian Joel Dernott and singer Sinitta all try and outlast the chaser.
Speaking of the chasers, aren’t they a fascinating bunch? They include comedian and former doctor Paul Sinha and human quiz machine Mark Labbett.
While questions come thick and fast, the one on our lips this week is whether or not Bradley Walsh can keep a straight face? I feel an office sweepstake coming on.
Everyday weekday at 4pm, ITV
Remember those 2p slot machines in seaside arcades? You’d insert a coin which dropped onto a large pile of coins, a platform would then nudge that pile ever closer to the edge. This would go on for about 5 minutes until you ran out of change and trudged off.
Like that preamble a moment ago, you might think that game was a massive waste of time. Wrong. Because now we have Tipping Point and loose change has been swapped for the big bucks, £10,000 to be exact. A simple format which is hard to tear your eyes from.
Monday 23 November at 6.30pm, BBC Two
Jeremy Vine hosts the show where a team of contestants take on “probably the greatest quiz team in Britain” – The Eggheads. More like the Bigheads…ahem…but they are very good and rarely lose. In total, the Eggheads have been cracked 133 times. That’s a formidable tally considering the show launched in 2003.
With Roy Walker: Saturday 21 November at 3.30pm, Challenge
Without Roy Walker: Saturday 21 November at 6.15pm, ITV
‘Just say what you see’…sure, if Catchphrase was really that simple would it have survived almost 30 years on TV, albeit intermittently? Anyhow, Catchphrase is a great show where contestants guess familiar phrases in animated clues (some racier than others).
And you get bit of old and new. Tune into Challenge for the first version of the show hosted by Roy Walker; you can also watch ITV’s new series with Stephen Mulhern. But one mainstay is our pal Chips.
American Ninja Warrior
Friday 4 December at 4pm, Challenge
As extreme as game shows come…if the name wasn’t already a big enough clue. Based on a Japanese show that’s been running for a staggering 31 seasons, American Ninja Warrior is at times downright sadistic – it’s right up our street.
America’s top athletes and wrestlers compete alongside amateurs in a series of physically demanding challenges. The gargantuan obstacle course looks simple enough, just the 75-foot rope climb to tackle. There are also the scarily named Area 51 and Psycho Chain obstacles.
Saturday 21 November at 6.30pm and every day on Challenge
For many people in the 80s and early 90s, Bullseye was the highlight of Sunday evenings. This darts-based-game-show was old-school entertainment at its absolute best, largely down to the quips and one liners of presenter Jim Bowen. Some might say it was ‘super, smashing, great’.
It’s hard not to feel a wave of nostalgia when Bully (the rather rotund bovine character with opposable thumbs) appears driving a bus in the opening credits.
It’s more difficult than you think to get into the minds of 100 people. For example, name an animal with horns: “a bee”. Or something you mount: “a mountain”.
The rather odd answers are an excuse alone for watching old episodes of Family Fortunes. But another reason is to see host Les Dennis at his best – his genial and witty approach is simply masterful.
Shout out to The Edge (not the guitarist from U2). Hosted by Gabby Logan, contestants answer quiz questions and bowl balls to get prize money. The latest series has just finished, hopefully it’s back soon because it really bowled us over…
And then there’s The Link, another show just off air. Fast Show actor Mark Willliam hosts as three teams battle it out to spot the link between a growing number of clues. Wait for the final round, so fluorescent it should come with a health warning.