Sunday, 14 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day 14 and 15) - And Our Survey Said... Game Shows at Christmas

What says Christmas more then giving away prizes? The television staple of game shows, always appear in the festive schedules and nowadays thanks to channels like Challenge we can see Christmas specials from the past. Though where now game shows used to the domain of the general public during the rest of the year, where mostly in prime time now the celebrities appear the most on them.

But back in the time before digital television and audiences in there many millions, come the festive season with the tinsel and turkey, celebrities lined up to have a go at what mere mortals would do. Though one of the most unfathomable game shows being 3-2-1, they first put the celebrities to the test in 1978. Well, actually 1979. But wait there's a reason for this, Yorkshire Television who made the programme were actually on strike over the Christmas period of 1978 and as such they could not broadcast it either leading to the Christmas Edition finally going out on the 27th of January. 

Though that's where we leave that edition, as since 1979 it has not been seen. But on the 23rd of December, Challenge TV are re-showing it again. All we know is that Jack Douglas appears with Rusty Goffe and three couples are Mike Channon teaming up with the then England women's cricket captain Rachel Heyhoe Flint, Clodagh Rodgers with Terry Wogan and Pat Coombs with Julian Orchard. Apart from that I don't even know what happens, so even it will come as a surprise to me.

Anyway for the next 3-2-1 celebrity special, we move on to 1987 with the contestants all coming from soap operas. Well, ITV and Channel 4 soaps anyway, the Skilbecks of Emmerdale Farm, the Duckworths of Coronation Street and the Grants of Brookside. Along the way, guest santas popped up to deliver the clues with former jockey Bob Champion and former swimmer Sharon Davies amongst them. Though is also notable for an appearance by voice-over man and continuity announcer John Benson at the end with the rest of the assembled cast.

There are stranger game shows though, how about Big Break? The show that brought snooker to the game show format, they were always quick to do something for Christmas. however how about the likes of Steve Davis set against the story of Alice in Wonderland? It happened in 1994, Mr Davis were joined by Marti Caine as the Queen of Hearts, Zoe Ball as Alice and Craig Charles as the Mad Hatter. Though what fellow snooker players John Parrott and Terry Griffiths thought of this is anyone's guess.

However this isn't the strangest edition, the next year they did a panto themed edition with Wendy Richard, Frank Carson and Diane Louise-Jordan as the guests and potting the balls were Ray Reardon, Jimmy White and Peter Ebdon. Cue lots of jokes about Cinderella going to the ball etc.

So when the celebrities are allowed to play anything can happen and it usually does.

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