By | January 30, 2023

I’ve been watching a fair amount of old Catchphrase on Youtube lately. The original started in January 1986, meaning that the show is *almost* 40 years old, yet the original set design in all its space pink and blue neon glory still looks great, Ed Welch’s music package is still great and particularly those titles – imagine how hard (and probably expensive) it would have been to render that 3D world so smoothly in the mid-1980s, especially when you consider the graphics of the actual puzzles – I still think those titles were more impressive than the ones that followed when Carlton took over. Then there’s the pure adrenaline-fuel of someone hitting the big money in the moneychase only to then solve the bonus in one go rather than clean up. The excitement that we might see a different colour flashing light in subsequent rounds – ah to be seven again.

Anyway Catchphrase was great, and really these days other than the 3D puzzles sometimes being a bit Full Of Stuff, it basically still is. Who turns over when they see Catchphrase is on? A psychopath, like the first 3D iterations of Mr Chips. There are people in their early 20s who won’t understand the significance of why he is called Mr Chips, think on that.

Anyway the point is I came across a Youtube vid of a VHS called Catchphrase For All The Family! Which is just two-and-a-half hours of puzzles, 500 in all. A link to the answers is in the video description. Enjoy.

8 thoughts on “Riiiiiiiggght!

  1. Brett Linforth

    Electronic Arts were responsible for those glorious titles yet, from memory, were only credited on screen during Series One. Catchphrase has always been my favourite game show (Blockbusters being my favourite quiz show) and, while it’s sad that we’ll likely never see the original TVS version broadcast again, at least we have the VHS copies on YT which will only be taken down should the uploaders close their accounts.

  2. Steve Williams

    The first series of Catchphrase was a real favourite in our house – it was on Sundays at 7.15 in those days and I have fond memories of watching it after having a bath and listening to the Top 40. In the first episode of the second series on YouTube Roy says that it was the most watched game show on telly in 1986, so clearly we weren’t alone in that regard. The other thing I know about the start of it was that the pilot was a complete technical disaster but that turned out to be good news for Brian Conley who was the warm-up and coped so well it made his career.

    In later years, of course, it shuffled around all over the place and episodes were shown months and years after they were made, and they were still showing “new” episodes with (c) TVS 1992 at the end as late as the autumn of 1994, long after TVS had gone pop. And then the first new Action Time/Carlton episode was shown just seven days later, which was a bit of a culture shock (a bit like when BBC1 went from old 7 Network Neighbours to new 9 Network Neighbours overnight).

    It’s fascinating to look at the US version which is almost identical to the UK one, right down to the fountain screensaver and the rotating structure, although only one person got to ride it on the US one. There’s also on YouTube the 1989 Christmas show, which I vividly remember watching at the time, where there are four celebs and they all have to hold on to the rotating structure like grim death.

    One thing we never worked out about the Roy era was whether “five seconds, here we go” referred to the five seconds they got to guess it or the five seconds accompanied by the deedle-deedle-dee tune it took to reveal it.

    1. Brett Linforth

      Thank you, I always wondered what that graphic was on the screen – I thought it was a flame, personally!

  3. Chris M. Dickson

    That’s a lovely share, thank you very much. I particularly like the clean cuts of the catchphrase jingles, even if we only get about 10-12 seconds of each one, and it feels like the last 10-12 seconds of each jingle when we’re more used to hearing the first few seconds (until Roy talks over it, or someone buzzes in).


    1. Brett Linforth

      My mate Chris Toone uploaded it – like me, he’s a big gameshow fan. I bought this video mistakenly thinking it was a collection of 5 episodes! Still, it had the excellent Telstar ident so not a total disappointment!

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        I salute you both, Brett and Chris. Thank you!

        Incidentally, there’s a whole playlist of Mark Curry Catchphrase at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcyDiZWTpN8ybfxuRdmRbDSzFvRInyxfq so we can take a look at what Catchphrase UK looked like as a daily show and how quickly our catchphrase quality did, or didn’t, wear out. The theme music is probably the worst or second worst of all the Catchphrase themes there’ve been, and yet it’s still probably in the top 20% of all themes outright (admittedly, mostly for reminding us of the even better ones).

        1. Brett Linforth

          Mark was a good host but his version of the show sucked. The deliberate omission of any mention of points and/or pounds was a decision I’ll never understand. To me, it’d would’ve been better if they went back to the early TVS-era cash amounts.

  4. Brig Bother Post author

    The OFFICIAL Catchphrase Version Ranking:

    1) The original TVS one.

    2) The modern Stephen Mulhern one. Surprisingly close to the spirit of the original, if not the exact letter.

    3) The Roy Walker Carlton years – I mean it’s fine, and it’s nice they play for more money, but the more you look at it the more it feels like a bit of a cover version. The set lines are surprisingly harsh – if the original is the Neon Space Future, this is the Industrial Nightclub Zone. Also introducing Walker basically having to tell them what the answer is as a hint.

    4) The Nick Weir Orange Age

    5) Mark Curry.


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