As I continue my walk around the televisual vaults, or rather, watch Challenge because there's nothing on, I was surprised to see them re-running the Sunday afternoon stalwart, Treasure Hunt. Two contestants in the London Studio aided by former BBC Newscaster, Kenneth Kendall, guide skyrunner Anneka Rice and her Helicopter around an area of the UK to solve and find clues that eventually lead to a "treasure". Annette Lynton "adjudicating" and timekeeping throughout using what looks like a Commodore PET and monitoring progress using a somewhat naff map and a sharpie marker pen.
Back in the 80's, Treasure Hunt was cutting edge stuff, but watching it now, it feels rather dated... the helicopter, the communications pack around Anneka's neck and of course, the clothing. Looking back, Kenneth Kendall was an interesting choice of frontman given his background in newscasting, and clearly he was from a bygone era; calling Annette a "Good girl" is a prime example of why I say this.
Nevertheless, Kendall was good at guiding the contestants towards the information they needed to solve the puzzle and even though he wasn't the archetypal game show host, he had charisma, and was a true gentleman. Kendall died in 2012, and his partner, Mark Fear committed suicide four months later after becoming overcome by grief.
Treasure Hunt was clearly a thinking man's game, the clues were Times Cryptic Crossword style puzzles that guided you to five locations in an area leading to the final treasure which tended to be something pretty unextraordinary. The prize for solving all 5 clues and finding the treasure? A whopping £1,000 in the form of a multicoloured cheque drawn upon Williams and Glyn bank.
A lot of the fun of the show was the unusual situations that Anneka had to get into; boats, trapezes, climbing towers on the island of Majorca, all chased by video recordist, Frank, and cameraman, Graham. Frequent parodies of the show were made by way of reference to the fact that probably a good 5 minutes of the show were camera shots of Anneka's backside as Graham tried to keep up.
Keith, the Helicopter Pilot still works for Castle Air, and what become of the famous Helicopter I hear you ask? Well, G-BHXU crashed into the sea north of Alderney on the 29th June 1995 after a catastrophic engine/gearbox failure with no fatalities. Apparently, it rests there to this day.
Will we see another Treasure Hunt in years to come? I fear not; imagine looking up the clues on the internet...