Game Shows

Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt was a Sunday Afternoon StalwartAs 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.  


Fifteen to None

As an avid fan of TV Gameshows from the 80s, 90s and early 00's, Fifteen to One (along with BlockBusters and Countdown) was staple fare after getting home from school/college/University. Fifteen contestants battling it out against each other over three rounds.  Two quick fire questions in round one, and then nominations throughout round two until the fifteen contenstants had been whittled down to just three.  After a commercial break, host, William G Stewart would spin through 40 general knowledge questions until either all three contestants had lost their respective three lives or the question set had been exhausted.

The no-nonsense approach of Stewart with minimal "chat" with the contestants made this a fast paced game with difficult questions being fired one after another for the duration of the show.  It was a "geeky" show for geeks, but with an all-round appeal that attracted a wide audience.

Axed in 2003, I've never felt that Channel Four has managed to replace this show with anything near the substance or staying power that Fifteen to One had, and despite rumours of a return, nothing ever materialised until yesterday. 

I noticed on my Freesat box that Fifteen to One had been scheduled, so I set series record.  On the "information" screen, it said that Sandi Toksvig would be hosting the revival.  Sandi Toksvig has also been pretty regular entertainment consumtion for me, she was in Number 73, Call My Bluff and I love to hear her on the Radio 4 "News Quiz", but even I was surprised and perplexed that she had been chosen as a replacement for William G Stewart on Fifteen to One.