Ben Justice’s Top 100 UK Gameshows of All Time – Part 7

By | April 26, 2019

It’s your favourite time of the week! It’s time for another ten shows on Actual Real TV developer Ben Justice’s Top 100, from 40-31. This week featuring Luna the cat in full-on richardosman mode.

31 thoughts on “Ben Justice’s Top 100 UK Gameshows of All Time – Part 7

  1. Chris M. Dickson

    Most iconic moment of the series so far: after show 31, Ben says “so that’s it, guys”, and Luna flicks up her tail in a perfect question mark shape. She knows exactly what’s going on.

    I’m notoriously bad at the “looks a bit like” game, but don’t you think that – particularly from the nose up – Ben looks just a bit like Joeri from the current series of Belgian Mole?

  2. John R

    9/10 for this episode, point deducted for failing to include a clip of the safe bloke refilling the safe from The Code

  3. Brandon

    Very, very happy to see Dog eat Dog on this list. Although you could dismiss as just using parts of other, more popular shows and throwing them together in the style of many others from around the same time, I agree with Ben that it is greater than the sum of its parts. Although the obvious comparison point is Weakest Link, I think Dog eat Dog actually does at least one thing better: the host. That was definitely true at that time,as Anne still hadn’t got her hosting style quite right for Weakest Link and wouldn’t do until until a few years later. Ulrika strikes just the right balance for me between encouraging the contestants but not afraid to make a few comments about what some of the contestants are doing or saying. The music was also brilliant,Paul Farrer’s usual style but that’s not exactly a problem is it? I clearly remember one of the pieces sounding like a mixture of both the head to head and normal round music from Weakest Link.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I remember trying for years to get copies of Paul’s music for this and he used to politely refuse on the basis the BBC would kill him. I wonder if that’s any different 20 years on?

      1. Brandon

        He uploaded the main theme tune to his YouTube channel a few years ago along with the themes for many others, but frustratingly none of the other cues. I wonder how the copyright on this sort of thing works. Does Paul own it now,or does the BBC? If it is the BBC, is that as part of the format license? Or is it actually owned by something completely different? He replies to the comments on his YouTube channel sometimes,so maybe it’s worth asking him again.

        The one that I mentioned as feeling particularly Weakest Link-y was used in the word puzzle you see a small clip of in Ben’s video, and that entire episode is up on YouTube.

    2. David B

      On Dog Eat Dog, the mental games seemed massively easy compared to the others. And then there was those low-rent ‘strip’ games on the US version, which I’m amazed the BBC allowed, frankly.

  4. David B

    On Dog Eat Dog, the mental games seemed massively easy compared to the others. And then there was those low-rent ‘strip’ games on the US version, which I’m amazed the BBC allowed, frankly.

    1. Brandon

      The US version looked very impressive, I especially like the games that combine general knowledge with some kind of physical skill like the treadmill one or the one with the floor that moves apart with every wrong answer. You would think the strip games would be some sort of violation of the format agreement, the only way I can think of that it happened is that NBC said ” we won’t pick up the format if don’t let us do that” that the BBC couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get the format all the exposure that airing it in the US would get it.

    2. Brig Bother Post author

      TBH I think most of the games were too easy full stop – they were notionally set at the National Average (at least during the first series), but I think somewhere along the line they decided the potential of outwitting people on the voting was where the meat of the format was, which annoyed me a bit.

      The two “main” early physical challenges were pretty hard. But then there was one later on which someone completed in 11 seconds if I remember correctly, pulling themselves along a course of hoops.

      I thought most of the head to head games were pretty great though. And had the best music.

      1. Brandon

        The game with the light up maze on the floor is brilliant, but I’m not sure how the one called Stealth (the only other I can remember) worked. I know that the floor was meant to detect sudden movement, but how would it detect that and not just any movement?

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          Sudden application of pressure rather than movement. Be slow, spread evenly.

          The light up maze was legitimately exciting. Even if the result, if we’re honest, was largely down to luck.

          There was one where they had to build a path out of irregularly shaped pieces which was pretty good.

          There was also one involving a waist high maze and having to place shapes at certain points, ut they could only move one at a time so there was some memory involved. Something like that.

          1. Brig Bother Post author

            I think Ben is absolutely right in suggesting DED is more than the sum of its parts, lots to criticise, but it hung together well and I really enjoyed watching it in the main.

  5. Des Elmes

    “Small Talk was a bit like Celebrity Squares but with kids.”

    Indeed, it aired around the same time as what Bob Monkhouse called “the New Celebrity Squares”, and both were Grundy productions. Their theme tunes were similar, too – no surprise that both were composed by Rick Turk, who seemed to be Grundy’s go-to composer at the time (same with Simon Etchell and Action Time, and of course Keith Strachan and Celador).

    Keynotes was also a Grundy show – but Bill Sharpe composed the theme tune for the UK version. Mr Turk did, however, re-record this tune for the second Aussie version, whose sole series aired around the same time the UK version ended:

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      It would appear that one technique, possibly adopted by some composers – cough, cough – more than others, to produce a soundalike reinterpretation of a game show theme for another country is to simply reorder some of the notes in the first phrase and leave the rest virtually unchanged. The above is an example, UK Jeopardy! another. If 90% of something ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  6. TheLupineOne

    I’m surprised, given Ben’s disdain for Chain Letters’ “Tie The Leader” round, that he rated Keynotes, with its £15-£30-£60 golden snitchy scoring, so high.

    Gamesmaster was My Childhood. The show that grew up with me, moving from pixels to polygons as I moved from Mega Drive to PlayStation, from Sonic the Hedgehog to Crash Bandicoot.

    The Code needs to come back. Lesley-Anne Brewis has to be one of the best richardosmen in the business… second only to Luna, of course.

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      The slightest, most half-hearted defence of Keynotes’ scoring system ever is that rounds aren’t actually guaranteed to be won by either team – so while rounds one and two mean nothing if there is a score in round three, it’s quite possible (though fairly rare in practice, I’m guessing) that round three may result in no score and round two will decide who wins – or, even more rarely still, round one.

      Conceivably I suppose an entire show could prove to be a no-score draw, but I guess this is the point at which you scrap a round and have another go, as much as it would be funnier (and probably more fitting) to throw both non-scoring teams out and declare tomorrow’s challengers to be the new reigning champions.

  7. Chris M. Dickson

    I can understand, and support, why Ben has decided against providing a list, but for the benefit of those of us playing along at home, here are Ben’s numbers 51 to 100, on the understanding that you’ll go back and watch the videos which are well worth your time:

    51 Winning Lines
    52 Incredible Games
    53 Tenable
    54 Runway
    55 Scrapheap Challenge
    56 Headjam
    57 Release The Houds
    58 Treasure Hunt
    59 Body Heat
    60 Incognito
    61 1000 Heartbeats
    62 Finders Keepers
    63= Fluke
    63= Whittle
    65 Big Break
    66 Jungle Run
    67 The Movie Game
    68 Wheel of Fortune
    69 Eggheads
    70 Lingo
    71 The Mole
    72 5 Gold Rings
    73 Supermarket Sweep
    74 Bullseye
    75 The Weakest Link
    76 Raise The Roof
    77 Catchword
    78 Impossible?
    79 The Shiny Show
    80 Run The Risk
    81 Fifteen-to-One
    82 Concentration
    83 Scavengers
    84 Lucky Ladders
    85 Who Dares Wins
    86 Cross Wits
    87 To Me… To You…
    88 Play Your Cards Right
    89 Don’t Forget The Lyrics!
    90 Fun House
    91 The Almost Impossible Gameshow
    92 “mpossible
    93 Hive Minds
    94 Beg, Borrow or Steal
    95 Cyberzone
    96 The Button
    97 The $64,000 Question
    98 In It To Win It
    99 Terror Towers
    100 Go Getters

    …and you can fill in 31 to 50 yourself from the two most recent videos. (Feel free to delete this comment if Ben would prefer it to be gone, for I wouldn’t want it to damage the number of views the videos get, but if this is the point at which it’s realistic to start thinking about guessing top contenders then here’s a good point at which to take stock.)

  8. Chris M. Dickson

    I have produced a list of 135 possible shows which I think miiiight make up Ben’s top thirty, mostly from amalgamating All Time Polls, Poll Of The Year results and that old “most frequently viewed pages” list from I’m fully prepared to believe that given how much I was taken by surprise by Ben’s pick for number 32, there might yet be further surprises yet to come, both in terms of quiz shows that Ben might rate but which I didn’t, and in terms of some crazy wild card like “Bargain Hunt has had fifty series, it’s so well-made on a shoestring budget, how can you not respect the hell out of that?”. Lest we forget, Tipping Point finished second in the 2012 Hall of Shame here, because We’re So Good At Telly ™.

    Some of them won’t be in there because they may not fit the definition Ben’s using for inclusion on his list (Taskmaster, Big Brother, Britain’s Got Talent, Have I Got News For you?, Saturday Night Takeaway). Others… well, if Ben’s prepared not to include Countdown, then I’m well prepared to believe that – no matter how much he likes fast quizzes – he might not include University Challenge or Mastermind, though it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were to include them. Age may be a factor; while Scavengers and The Mole did make the list, I’m not completely sure The Adventure Game, Interceptor, Knightmare, Wanted and It’s A Knockout will have been in the right place and the right time for him, or even that they might have held appeal for him at the time.

    I think there are only seven shows that I would bet money on being in Ben’s top thirty: Blockbusters, Gladiators, Pointless, The Crystal Maze, The Cube, The Krypton Factor and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? – others that I think will have made it, but I’m not completely sure about, are Catchphrase, Family Fortunes, Going For Gold, Only Connect and Turnabout. Lots of other shows I wouldn’t be surprised to see, either, but I just can’t be confident about them.

    I also predict that the YouTube caption slide colours for the videos for 30-21, 20-11 and 10-1 will be bronze, silver and gold respectively.

  9. Des Elmes

    Absolutely no disrespect intended, Chris, but…

    Brig, I think Mr Dickson might have said just a bit *too* much in his last comment. Obviously it’s fun to predict what’s going to be in Ben’s top 30 – but is it wise to share these predictions with everyone else?

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      No disrespect at all taken! I just don’t see anybody pressin’ and guessin’, so it’s about time for it to start happening. (There may well have been a lot of guessing – you’ve implied that you’ve done some yourself – but a distinct absence of pressing predictions down on here.) Even if between us we were somehow able to get a good grasp of the thirty, I don’t have a feel for what’ll be top ten, or even what’ll be where within the top ten.

      Besides, apart from this and Belgian Mole scaring the pants off us all, it’s not as if there’s much else going on in the world of the shows we call game, is there? (Well, at least until the ESC in a couple of weeks’ time…)

      1. RoarJustice

        Speculation is fine by my book. Besides the only person who knows my list…is me! I have very deliberately not shared it with anyone. Many of the biggest gameshows ever have not made my list, some real fan favourites have also missed out unfortunately.

        Plus its also fun to watch people guess incorrectly…

        On a sidenote, so many comments! Thank you guys, that gives me life x

      1. Des Elmes

        Well, I *did* find myself wondering if the props on Ben’s table all represented top-10 shows, before he revealed Golden Balls at number 42.

        And I *have* also said that the likes of Get Your Own Back, Beat the Star and the Generation Game won’t be on the list – but only *after* Ben said that Run the Risk was his favourite gungy game show, Headjam was his favourite Vernon Kay show, and Bruce’s Price is Right was… well, you get the idea.

        I have said, too, that I have ideas as to what his respective favourite children’s and Lottery game shows are – without elaborating on these ideas.

        But now that he’s said that many of the biggest game shows ever, and some real fan favourites, haven’t made it… well, now I’m definitely *not* going to say anything that might potentially come across as spoiling any surprises. There’s no question whatsoever that it’s fun to speculate, and *obviously* Ben is the only person at present who knows the full list… but I’m just fearful that, for a list like this one, sharing predictions with everyone else might diminish that element of surprise. (Again, absolutely no disrespect intended – and if you feel that this is a load of sloblock, feel perfectly free to say that.)

        And apologies for only saying this now – I’ve been rather carried away as of late (and not just because of football and snooker).

  10. Oliver R

    Quite the triple whammy to start this edition! Every Second Counts was staple prime time viewing in our house 30-odd years ago. Paul Daniels pulled off the various gimmicks for rounds that the producers thought up with aplomb.

    I always enjoy the Big Fat Quiz, but I’m a bit surprised to see that it’s eligible, let alone this high up the list! I barely know Keynotes and was never impressed by Dog Eat Dog. The actual gameplay on Blankety Blank was awful, but that clip of Les Dawson’s monologue as he took over hosting from Terry Wogan might well be the show’s finest moment.

    Ranking The Chase below Pointless is the correct decision, in my opinion. The Final Chase is the most backwards endgame, some questions in the quickfire rounds could do with more thinking time, and even those in the multiple-choice sections are not always fully discussed. I also dislike the element whereby contestants can be offered more or less cash than what they’ve earned. Pointless is guilty of not tidying up all answers sometimes too, but overall I prefer its slower pace. It captured the zeitgeist in 2011 in a way The Chase never quite has done. Both shows are improved by the rivalry between them, I find.

    I don’t remember the Jeremy Beadle version of Chain Letters (though I of course know of Beadle from his other work). I did enjoy the weekday afternoon version later on though, even with a weaker host.

    GamesMaster felt like more of a magazine show than a game show, though it did in fact have quite a strong competitive element (especially the much-maligned Series 3). I got every issue of the *actual* magazine from my local newsagent for its first 5 years of publication. I am saddened to hear of its recent demise.

    The Code made changes to speed up gameplay in its second series. Some were welcome, whilst others felt unfair. Its presence has been missed the past couple of years. Matt Allwright will always land on his feet, but we really do need a return of Lesley-Anne Brewis to our screens somehow. Urgently.

    Similarly, my recollections of Small Talk scarcely make it seem like a gameshow and more just like gentle Sunday evening light entertainment, but having had my memory jogged by this video I now see it was quite a decent quiz too. On the subject of ‘shows like that’, the questions on What Would Your Kid Do? (which Ben mentioned) are fine, but the final part where the winning child has to choose between presents for themselves or for their parents is morally horrendous.

  11. Brig Bother Post author

    If you missed the news btw Ben’s taking another week out because he’s been getting over being ill, but fingers crossed there shouldn’t be a gap for the final three eps.


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