Ben Justice’s Top 100 UK Gameshows Of All Time – Part 9

By | May 17, 2019

And we’re just hearing we’re able to join Actual Real TV Developer Ben Justice later than billed for positions 20-11 of his list. Thank you for your patience.

For some reason the theme tune hasn’t come out, do not panic.

21 thoughts on “Ben Justice’s Top 100 UK Gameshows Of All Time – Part 9

  1. Chris M. Dickson

    I enjoyed this episode at least as much as any of the others, not least because you isolated something important. There were several shows in there (probably at least as many in this ten than any of the previous ones) that I recognised, I appreciated their good parts but I decided that I didn’t like them all that much. You identified a common thread in several of them and it’s something that you evidently like and that I broadly like much, much less. To use your adjective, several of those shows had the potential to be cruel, and that has generally been something that I’ve found, to some extent, a turn-off. (It’s a little more nuanced than that.)

    There are still four shows that I’d be somewhat surprised if they weren’t in your top ten: Gladiators, The Crystal Maze, The Cube and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?. I’m now prepared to reckon that you rate The Weakest Link, if it hasn’t been in the 100-11 (I’m away with the computer which has the spreadsheet and cannot remember). As for the rest, it gets harder.

    I think the sign-off is an acknowledgement to Knightmare but which won’t be in the top ten, and I’m now prepared to believe that Interceptor, It’s A Knockout!, The Krypton Factor, Sale of the Century and Bob’s Full House were similarly not in the right place at the right time to catch your imagination. You could well be take-it-or-leave-it about University Challenge and Mastermind, despite the fact you like fast quizzes. Other potential strong contenders are Catchphrase, Family Fortunes and Only Connect, but in each case I’d be prepared to believe they might be in or they might just not be your cup of tea. This still leaves a few potential gaps and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to go “oh, you liked that?” at some of your top ten.

    Not long to go now, and thank you very much for putting this series together!

    1. Brandon

      Weakest Link actually came in quite low, at 70something if I remember correctly.

  2. Brig Bother Post author

    Some really interesting choices here, well done if you picked Sell Me The Answer at home.

    I think Moment of Truth is often missed out in the pantheon of really great gameshow music packages, but it really did actually.

    1. Alex

      It’s really a shame that the last 2001 series has been lost to time, because I do remember the intro of it but that’s it.

  3. Alex McMillan

    Righto, time to guess the top 10!

    10. The Bank Job
    9. Gladiators
    8. Duel
    7. Call My Bluff
    6. The Cube
    5. Fort Boyard
    4. Only Connect
    3. Mastermind
    2. The Crystal Maze
    1. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Nah, I reckon Fort Boyard won’t feature if it was around the same time as The Mole. The Cube will almost certainly make it. I’d be surprised if Glads didn’t. I reckon Duel won’t feature.

    2. Brandon

      The Bank Job? Really? The format was quite good, but the actual production was such a complete shambles.

  4. Brett Linforth

    This has been my favourite video of your series to date, Ben. Some great choices in here, some surprising choices too. This one does however feature one show I personally was never keen on – but I think that’s because it could be very noisy a lot of the time! (I tried to avoid spoilers – hope I’ve managed it!) That said, I LOVE your infectious enthusiasm and your increasingly verbose reasoning for your choices. I now can’t wait until next Friday to see what made your Top Ten – as it happens, if all goes to plan, it’ll be announced on my 34th birthday! Thank you for a great series and I look forward to binge watching them on my night coach to Edinburgh in ten days!

  5. TheLupineOne

    Last week, I thought Blockbusters to have the best game show theme music. Well thank you, thank you, thank you Ben for reminding me of The Moment Of The Truth. Those titles! That music package! The national treasure that was Cilla Black! If any game show theme could be called a banger, this was it! As with You Bet! and Gladiators, this was LWT once again being the masters of pomp and circumstance.

    Turnabout, like Incognito, was a 90s BBC show that escaped my attention; afterschool in the nineties at my household was dominated by Channel 4 anyway; 15-to-1 and Countdown all the way! But Wipeout was a definite favourite of mine. Can’t wait for Ash the Bash to bring it to his Quiz Night streams. You heard Ben, Ash: #BringBackWipeout.

    1. Ash The Bash

      Oh yeah, definitely cannot wait to bring back Wipeout! Although as you said in the video, there’s no-one that could really do it complete justice other than Paul Daniels, but I will do my best!

      And I was so glad to see Turnabout up there as well – I only saw a few episodes of it back during its broadcast, but did love it for its simple but well themed mechanics, and yeah, the odd water feature in the middle of the set!

  6. Brig Bother Post author

    I was always intrigued by the logistics of The Moment of Truth, in particular the video packages. How did that work? Did someone come round and collect tapes on a nightly basis? Did they edit them all together on day of taping, or at least have a rough cut to show the audience? Did the audience actually see a video package at all?

    I presume they stopped sending Cilla out to meet the families so they could keep a tighter studio schedule.

    1. Brandon

      Obviously nowadays it would be so much easier to do, as all the videos would probably just be uploaded to a filedrop or something.

  7. Brig Bother Post author

    Of course everyone remembers Moment of Truth, fewer remember Celebrities Under Pressure (which ran for a surprisingly long time).

    But the best part of a decade ago, Bradley Walsh piloted a comedy take on the format called Just 1 Thing.

  8. John R

    I think the spam filter ate my comment regarding Moment Of Truth and Deal Or No Deal 🙁

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Oh that’s interesting, when did you write it? There’s nothing showing up in my filter.

      It automatically gets cleaned out 2am every day, so if you think you’ve been caught let me know so I can rescue it ASAP.

      1. John R

        Ah, I left it Friday night so will have gone to the 2am graveyard 🙂 I think what may have triggered it is mentioning the DOND fan site so I’ll try again below in slightly different terms…

        The Moment Of Truth was an awesome show, apart from that dodgy series where they tweaked quite a few things (RIP Cilla’s rotating sofa!). I particularly liked the ‘durrrrrrmmm’ sound effect when they failed and the screens came back round to cruely hide the prizes back away, but don’t worry as Cilla has some yearly Alton Towers passes for the kiddies still! You also had “That was last week, but they’re here right now!” and the suitably raised “MOMENT OF TRUTH!” voice. Also, highlights shown in an hourglass during the closing credits!

        Deal Or No Deal I could write a book on that, it was helped a lot I think by Jennifer turning up within the first couple of weeks with her finish (back in the days when the banker actually offered a sum worth considering!), then you had Morris, Kirsty, Laura – although that was sadly spoiled by the press of course. My favourite ever quarter millionaire show was Suzanne, just the fact it was during a themed week so she had the ‘offer after every box’ twist only to be brave enough to go to the end for the first ever DREAM FINISH in LIVE play – and to top it off a friend of mine was covering it as part of his first ever commentary thread on the DOND fansite forum! (P.S. I do miss Mark with his “HE/SHE’S DEALING” “YUP TOLD YA!” “EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS X UNLIMITED PLAYER” comments every single day!)

        I was gutted when they had to axe the Alex from Brainteaser voiceover viewer competition though, it was funny watching Noel surprise unsuspecting members of the audience and even funnier watching the blue box openers often make a complete mess of trying to open them!

        I never actually thought about it in the way Ben mentioned how the wingers felt if they opened the 250k box, imagining if it had been their game it would have been sat on the table either!

  9. Brandon

    News: after basically being on its last legs for several years, the US version of Millionaire has finally been cancelled just short of its 20th anniversary, several American news sites have reported.

    1. Greg

      Some shows that would certainly have made my 100 that I don’t think will be top 10

      Beat the Clock (I think I was the only one that really liked this)
      The Exit List
      The Whole 19 Yards
      Beat the Brain

  10. Chris M. Dickson

    We’re so far through the list that there is an element to which criticising shows that you like so much feels like an attack on your personal taste; I’m enjoying the series so much that I’m reluctant to do so. However, part of the fun of this is just talking about game shows and reassessing them, so here goes.

    The games on Friends Like These were often not very spectacular. We’ve had many minigame shows over the years, and the best have had some reason for the games to be there, some sense of character and context surrounding the games. Most of the games of The Crystal Maze were really well themed. The games on The Cube improved a lot over time, while keeping some old favourites, but towards the end took advantage of the context of the environment of the titular Cube; the “you may be able to perform nominally easy task, but can you do it in The Cube?” catchphrase also really worked. At another angle, the games on (e.g.) 1950s-1970s Beat The Clock and more recently Minute To Win It made virtues of using household props and, in some cases, being things that people could practice at home in advance.

    In comparison, I don’t remember the games on Friends Like These (and, for that matter, Dog Eat Dog) being any more than “here’s a game with no particular reason for its existence or placement in the show”, though I would be delighted to be wrong. If there was a reason for the game selection that was that it sometimes pandered to stereotyped gender roles, that’s worse than neutral. Case in point: the game that always springs to my mind from Friends Like These, that felt like it cropped up several times, is the game where contestants had to thread five needles as quickly as possible, which was irritating by virtue of there being no way to see contestants doing it – either you see them about to do it, or having done it, but the middle step is missing.

    The Moment of Truth indeed has a smashing theme; to go back to a recent thread, has a low-key disappointment glissando upon failure that still rings through my head – and, now I’ve mentioned it, probably yours. To fire a shot at the show, its memory challenges were needlessly unimpressive. There’s a reason why the memory challenges on You Bet! worked so much better and reflected much more accomplishment on the part of the challengers: the items to be recalled could appear in any order, and there was an element of recognition to them, whereas recalling a list of items (or knight’s moves) would be the same thing every time. Going further, the quantity of information to be memorised just wasn’t particularly great, especially in the timeframe permitted.

    You want to see a truly impressive memory feat? Watch Ben Pridmore memorising a pack of cards and recalling them. That video is ten years old and the record has fallen conisderably since then, but for showing the whole procedure, it’s as good as it gets. Ben Pridmore, the subject, has since done a version of his thing on Epic Win (where he lost) and on Britain’s Got Talent (where he happily joined in with the panto at his own expense). Ben is also famously lovely and self-effacing in a way that you might not expect.


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