6 DECADES OF GAME AND QUIZ SHOWS IN THE UK
Gala Bingo takes you on a nostalgia trip through UK game and quiz shows: The ultimate TV format that has outlived trash and reality TV.
We picked some of the most memorable shows and added a list of classics at the bottom, available on streaming services. Long live whacky TV game shows!
UK Game Shows from the 1970s
3-2-1 was THE GAME SHOW of the seventies and was aired on prime-time, Saturday evenings, for over a decade. Did you know that the show was based on a Spanish version called “Un, Dos, Tres… Responda Otra Vez” (very catchy!). The numbers in the title refers to the three stages of the game, with number one being a quiz stage, number two an elimination round, and in the third round, a “take it or leave it” decision had to be made.
The Krypton Factor
Is Superman living in the UK? An original UK TV show that started in 1977 and aired up until 1995, with 2 revived seasons in 2009-2010. Based on Kryptonite from Superman, contenders would accumulate a Krypton Factor (score) through both physical challenges and mental games. The series has announced an annual, Superperson of the Year, for the 20 years the series has been running. Here is what the intro to the show looked like in 1987, the year the show won the prestigious Spanish entertainment award Premios Ondas.
UK Game Shows from the 1980s
The Price is Right
Guess the price of an item. Simple concept, yet so entertaining. Try and watch the show without coming up with your own guess. In company, try to not shout out your guess – That’s a challenge!
The Price is Right was based on an American show, but the UK version has survived Television and its audiences for over 4 decades. Yes, that is right, but in various formats:
- and finally 7 episodes in 2020.
The show probably has the most comebacks in the ring out of any show, and it is hard to knock out the fun out of it. It is easy to say that this show has made its mark on many generations and the question is when we will see it again?
The Adventure Game
Aliens (looks like dinosaurs?), diamonds and space travel. It might not sound like it, but this is in fact a game show, disguised as a space quest. This was an original UK show that aired 1980-1986. 3 participants per episode were challenged with various tasks, to obtain crystals needed for their spaceship.... Sounds confusing? Take a look at this clip:
UK Game Shows from the 1990s
Legacy TV show! One of the simplest ideas on this list, but who would not love to participate in this show? A child’s dream to race down the isles at your local supermarket, and adults dream to fill the cart to the brim, without having to pay for it. What would you pick?
The original American version first aired 1965, and it is safe to assume that a lot of whacky game shows has taken inspiration from this show.
The UK version debuted in September 1993 and ended in September 2001. The show was revived in 2007, with 2 follow up seasons between 2019-2020.
HE IS GOING FOR THE HAM! Do you get nostalgic by watching this clip (posted by Netflix)?:
The most original show on this list? The title explains the show perfectly! Teams build robots that will go to battle, with sports commentary on top. One might think that this is a re-make of a Japanese show, but the UK version is the original and was in fact developed by Mark Thorpe, a designer at LucasToys (a subdivision of LucasArts). The show ran between 1998-2005 and was revived 2016-2018.
Here is a top 10 list of the coolest house robots:
UK Game Shows from the 2000s
Hole in the wall
Based on a Japanese show called “Brain Wall” and copied over to national TV stations all over the world. Many of us will think of the mid 2000s when thinking back on this show, but it was in fact aired between 2008-2009.
Put on your SSSS… Silly Sparkling Spandex Suit, matched up with a colourful helmet (helmet was most likely added for the not-so-great, goofy looks of it, rather than protection), and you are ready to go!
As a viewer, you want the contesters to be able to clear the hole in the wall, just as much as you want to see them fail and get knocked into the pool. Brilliant concept!
BBC has put together a 1 minute “top fails of 2009” clip:
The ultimate game show? Gameshow Marathon can at least be seen as a tribute show to the history of game shows. The show recreated classic game shows, including the sets, one show per episode, and had celebrities accumulating a cash mountain, that viewers could win by phoning in.
The shows that where re-recreated in the first season: The Price Is Right (1984), Take Your Pick! (1955), The Golden Shot (1967), Sale of the Century (1972), Play Your Cards Right (1980), Bullseye (1981) and Family Fortunes (1980).
UK Game Shows from the 2010s
Trivia meets pure luck. The idea is so simple, yet mesmerizing. The game show is really a combination of 2 classics: Trivial Pursuit (who doesn’t love playing TP with the family), and those 2p machines that used to taunt you in the arcade halls. Contenders gets asked a question and if they answer correctly, they get a chance to tip some of the coins over the edge, for their winnings.
The show is turning 10 years in June 2022 and is one of our top picks for game show ideas. It would be hard to think that anyone could have guessed that this would be a decade long favourite amongst the UK audience.
Keep It in The Family
A combination of competitive families in clumsy suits: slapstick moments guaranteed.
The show only aired for 2 seasons (2015-2016) but became popular and are nowadays considered a classic.
The 2-minute clip “Mr Chips Causes Chaos” sums up the show’s hysterical intensity, in a fun way:
This list could go on forever as there are endless of whacky game shows to choose from, but we decided to give you the option to pick your own favourites.
Do you remember any of the shows below?
When taking a break from playing online bingo games, why not have a glimpse back in the past and be nostalgic?
We have listed some of the classic shows for you to enjoy, that are available to stream on various platforms.
Game and competition shows available on Netflix in the UK.
- Wheel of Fortune (1983)
- Ready Steady Cook (1994)
- Men on a Mission (2015)
- Naked Attraction (2016)
Game and competition shows available on Prime Video in the UK:
- The Challenge (1998)
- Fear Factor (2002)
- The Block (2003)
- 8 out of 10 Cats (2005)
- Would I Lie to You? (2005)
- Wipeout (2008)
- 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow (2010)
- Million Dollar Money Drop (2010)
Game and competition shows available on Disney + in the UK:
- Danger Decoded (2015)
- The Big Fib (2021)
- Race to the Center of the Earth (2021)
- Brain Games: On The Road (2022)
Game and competition shows available on Britbox in the UK:
- The Adventure Game (1980)
- Jungle Run (1996)
- Lip Sync Battle UK (2016)
Game and competition shows available on BBC iPlayer in the UK:
- Ask the Family (1967)
- Bob's Full House (1984)
- Friends Like These (1999)
- QI (2003)
- My Kind of Town (2005)
- Race Across the World (2019)
Game and competition shows available on Channel 4 in the UK:
- Countdown (1982)
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1988)
- Banzai (2001)
- Distraction (2003)
- Big Fat Quiz (2004)