PS The house hasn’t been built yet.

By | October 26, 2016

We were quite excited to see that the very first episode of Challenge Anneka was uploaded to Youtube last night. Provided you don’t count the very very first which wasn’t so much an episode as a happening, putting on an event on the River Thames for Children in Need in a day all played out live.


What strikes me as being quite interesting is that when you talk about reality TV (which is quite a nebulous concept in itself) and its beginnings no-one ever really mentions Challenge Anneka and yet clearly whilst the ideas have been refined over the past thirty years, many of the elements are already here. It basically invented logistics as entertainment and as such so many shows owe a debt to it, from makeover shows such as Ground Force all the way up to things like DIY SOS and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Thankfully they didn’t use Logistics With Anneka Rice as the title. It was quite interesting when ITV did a reboot they spent much more time on the human interest angle when really we all wanted more of Anneka getting a spreadsheet out and commanding trucks to go places.

Of course these days it looks a bit contrived, a bit like a lot of modern reality television (a lot of it feels very set up – just apparently barging onto Wogan!) but we were less media savvy in the 90s. It’s impressive how many companies were willing to throw in some chipboard just to get a plug on the BBC.

5 thoughts on “PS The house hasn’t been built yet.

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    The theme is basically David Mindel’s finest hour.

    Given that Malcolm Heyworth is behind the show, I wonder why Chatsworth didn’t make it?

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      Surely the best game show (etc.) theme tune written in 6/8 time unless there are other contenders?

      I heard a PPI commercial today that used the theme from Blockbusters. I hope they’re paying Ed Welch a king’s ransom.

  2. Mart With A Y Not An I

    Too busy making The Crystal Maze perhaps? Not sure exactly how big Chatsworth was (or where they were based – I have a hazy recollection they were based in a office somewhere in Dean Street just off Oxford Street) so making TCM and the logistical nightmare that CA must have been at times – may have put a strain on the company, even after going for plentyful glugs in the freelance production market.

    Or was it slightly more ‘personal’. I’m sure Anneka was – to use a phrase from the press – ‘romantically involved’ with the boss of Mentorn Productions at the time – so that may have been it.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Ooh yes, I vaguely remember that.

      Just looking it up on ukgameshows, it looks like Chatsworth *did* produce the Children in Need event.

      1. Steve Williams

        Anneka was actually married to Tom Gutteridge, head of Mentorn, at the time. I wonder if this was the first independently produced primetime light entertainment show on the BBC – I know the Beeb’s first indie LE production was the comedy series Cabaret At The Jongleurs in 1988, but that was post-watershed BBC2. It’s certainly one of the first I remember.

        I used to love The Challenge Programme, as Anneka always called it, but I went off it a bit after the first series because in that run, they didn’t reveal the task in advance and I enjoyed guessing it (I remember spitting feathers when my Gran spoiled it for me one week when I’d been in London with the Cubs and I recorded it). But in later series, it was always revealed in the Radio Times, which I didn’t like at all.

        As you say, the best thing was always the logistics.


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