TIM FANNING MY VIEW
The $64,000 question is, ‘What is the worst TV game show of them all?’
ad television shows never die, but unlike good soldiers, they don’t simply fade away. Instead, TV executives pull them kicking and screaming out of hibernation, give them a quick shower and throw them onto our screens – about a decade after they’ve passed their sell-by-date. So it is that cult (and I mean cult in the sense of absolute rubbish) show
returns to UTV this evening. The original version made a star of Belfast comedian Roy Walker – and his animated buddy Mr Chips. For those readers lucky enough never to have seen Catchphrase, Mr Chips looked a bit like the plastic thing that holds the toy inside a Kinder egg – but with less charm. Contestants on the show had to guess a phrase from the shenanigans of Mr Chips, while Roy delivered such memorable catchphrases as ‘say what you see’ and ‘it’s good but it’s not right’. But as bad as Catchphrase was (and I don’t hold out much hope for the new version), there have been worse game shows on Irish TV, as shown below.
RTÉ tried to incorporate some cutting-edge technology into this Mike Murphy-hosted show from the 1980s. Aside from the creaky graphics and the fact that nobody (including the producers) knew how to use a computer back then, just what did the name mean? One of the great mysteries of Irish TV.
Twink and Brendan Grace playing charades with assorted guests, essentially. Host Ronan Collins tried to bring some dignity to proceedings, but it was all too much like watching your drunk auntie and uncle at a wedding. Derek Davis took over the men’s team when it all became too much for Brendan.
This show, in which celebrities tried to guess songs from one of its lines, has been exported around the world and was responsible for resurrecting Linda Martin’s career. Enough said.
The great Bunny Carr had the reins of this much-loved show. Famous for Bunny’s catchphrase ‘Stop The Lights’, the show featured lucky contestants being asked questions in order to win cash prizes averaging about 10p. That’s 12 cents, kids, and, yes, it was a real programme… For me, Mad Men is by far the best drama currently on TV – and it saddens me that it’s now tucked away on a subscription channel, rather than showing on terrestrial TV. But here it is, back again, with a brand-new sixth season – after which, there will be one more before the show’s creator Matthew Weiner pulls the plug. Season five saw big shifts of power at the advertising agency, as scheming Pete (Vincent Kartheiser, above left) advanced himself ruthlessly, while Joan (Christina Hendricks, second left) secured her future, Roger (John Slattery, right) seemed to rise above the fray, and Don (Jon Hamm, second right)… Ah Don, who ever knows what he’s up to? Is he happy with that new wife of his, or is the marriage crumbling? We’ll soon find out…