Ben Justice’s Top 100 UK Game Shows of All Time Part 4

By | March 29, 2019

Getting close to the top half now, this week Actual Real TV developer Ben Justice counts down places 70-61, this week with a very special guest. Some more interesting choices here.

Where will he find the room to put six more props up and what will they be?

You can find discussion on parts one, two and three at the relevant links.

9 thoughts on “Ben Justice’s Top 100 UK Game Shows of All Time Part 4

  1. Chris M. Dickson

    More Luna, please, if Luna is interested in making further appearances.

    As ever, loads of really interesting jumping-off points to inspire entertaining thoughts. I am not at all confident in my interpretation of your sense of taste to guess what your number one is, though I might guess at The Chase or The Crystal Maze. I’m not sure if I’ve managed to guess as many as three of three forty shows from your introductions, though a lot of them are definitely guessable. I am also hoping that you’ll get the Helmet of Justice onto the desk at some point.

    I liked the inclusion of The Shiny Show last time, though it’s not one I watched. I had wondered whether Thumbs Up, the Action Time press school show, might make my hypothetical top ton.

    Would Whittle or Everybody’s Equal make my list? Well, Whittle had more game material, was funnier, had a much better atmosphere, paid me one thirty-fifth share of £250 and I’d rather watch Tim than Chris Tarrant any day. Nevertheless, Everybody’s Equal had tremendous production values and, you know, came first, so it would have to get the nod.

  2. TheLupineOne

    On Wednesday, the Stool Pigeon (ha-cha-cha-cha!) reported rumours of Eggheads’ cancellation and Wheel of Fortune’s revival, and now they both appear in the same episode of Ben’s top 100! Coincidence?

    If Wheel did come back, hopefully they’ll pair it up with another half hour show as a replacement to Tipping Point or The Chase when they’re on break. Perhaps Blockbusters would do better if it were back on ITV?

    Whittle! Ah, back when Channel 5 was good. Whittle, Fort Boyard, 100%… then Brainteaser came along and things went down the 090 drain. Maybe if the value of the pound tanks they can bring Whittle back without having to change the value of the prizes.

    As for Big Break, my most memorable Big Break memory was when I was watching BBC1 expecting Big Break to come on and instead came on Full Swing; completely befuddling my five-year-old brain that Big Break had somehow morphed into a golf-themed show fronted by Jimmy Tarbuck.

    1. David B

      Some kind of mega mini golf game has just been picked up in the States. I hear Tarby’s still available…

  3. Des Elmes

    As a kid, I liked Jim Davidson on Big Break but not so much on the Generation Game – because I’d seen Brucie hosting the latter and knew, even at my tender age, that he was really, *really* good.

    Nowadays, TV Cream doesn’t count JD’s Gen Game tenure because “he fucked up all the games, he had fucking Mr Blobby on every week, he fucking gunged the contestants at the end and he was just fucking shit”. I still happily watch Big Break clips on YouTube, though – even the ones in which JD is being more obnoxious than funny.

    Seems hard to believe, actually, that the ‘Break was still there on Saturday evenings as late as August 2002, a mere 21 months before Strictly began. (It finally ended in October of that year, the last two episodes airing on Wednesdays. Thanks, BBC Genome.)

    Three years on, it remains a great shame that 1000 Heartbeats didn’t pull in enough casual viewers for it to continue beyond its second series. Did they not like Vernon (even though he was undoubtedly a good host)? Did they think the game was never going to be beaten (even though it was perhaps more beatable than The Cube)? Did they fail to see the point of the string quartet (even with this point being pretty obvious)?

    I think I have an idea at this stage of what Ben’s favourite children’s game show might be. Obviously, I won’t elaborate on that idea at this moment in time… 😉

    1. Brandon

      There is an episode of Big Break on iPlayer from May 2001 as part of Richard Osman’s game show collection,when I first saw that date I assumed it was a mistake. Hard to believe that it aired around the same time that Weakest Link was very popular.

  4. Oliver R

    Hello to the Gladiators figures, to the Aztec zone crystal… and of course to Luna!

    Some excellent choices here (Wheel of Fortune, Jungle Run, Big Break, Finders Keepers). I’m starting to wonder how you could possibly have found 60 British game shows that are better.

    My abiding memory of The Movie Game was also that there were extra team colours for the grand final. I remember Jonathon Morris off of Bread as the host immediately before John Barrowman, though of course I knew of Schofield from other shows at the time. Wasn’t there a recurring gag that Barrowman was meant to be obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger? (Also, where did he disappear to before turning up in Doctor Who all those years later?)

    I’d certainly give the nod to Whittle over Everybody’s Equal for inclusion, and would put it above Fluke too, simply because the latter was a one-note joke whose appeal would never have lasted. Besides, I would sympathise with any contestant who was eliminated randomly, whereas Mr Justice appears to enjoy it more when a programme makes children cry.

    Dermont Murnaghan pronounced ‘Ciudad’ wrong in that Eggheads question yet he still figured out that it sounded Spanish. Everyone in quizland knows that Venezuela borders Guyana, don’t they??

  5. Chris B

    On 1000 Heartbeats, I do wonder – though not 100% on the timeline – I wonder if Vernon’s constant indiscretions cropping up in the papers has anything to do with ITV’s decision to not pick up again.

    I loved Big Break, and agree that individually the rounds add up to make it a great show. History looks unfavourably on Davidson now (probably rightly so) but him and Virgo were actually a decent double act. It’s unfair to shove Big Break in the mix with that history.

    Just caught up with last week’s video too – Ben is not alone in thinking Bully is the thing of nightmares. It’s a running family joke I ran out of the room when he used to come on screen and moo when it was time up. So much so that for my 18th birthday, one of the gifts I got was a bendy bully!

    Also big up to Ben for giving kids and daytime shows the respect they deserved – not that I’d expect anything less, but I doubt you’d get that kind of thought going into the usual public lists you would see. When I saw The Shiny Show on there I almost thought about coming on and saying “the public can’t play, so it’s not a proper gameshow” but his explanation of it creating the next generation of quiz fans was so charming and correct I was won round!


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