PAN-CONTINENTAL LATE 80s joke, mainly thanks to ludicrously ambitious Euro-harmony raison d’etre, and much-derided sub-Wogan compere HENRY KELLY. Original incarnation offered holiday to Seoul Olympics as first prize (cue animation of Olympic mascot swirling a ribbon thing on his head), later series strained to maintain golden theme, hence much ballyhoo about trips to pan for gold in the Australian outback, mentioned by Kelly about seven times a show (and repeated the next morning). Bland as hell, how-many-cliches-can-we-fit-in theme: “The heat is on, the time is right, it’s time for you, for you to play the game, people are coming, everyone’s trying, trying to be the best that they can, when they’re going for, going for GOLD!” The hapless Kelly usually blathered about the 28 nations taking part (handily splitting Britain into England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle Of Man) but no-one ever seemed to mention that the Brits had the built-in advantage of having English as their mother tongue. Perennial, never-changing format as follows: seven multi-national contestants span round on rotating desk for elimination round, perched behind seemingly metaphorical mushroom-shaped buzzers. Klaus from the Cafe Hag commercial (“Ah, Henry Kelly! Schmells good!”) turned up every day. First four contestants to get a question right progressed to the “first round proper” (eh?), the detritus spinning off to try again tomorrow. Inevitable Wednesday afternoon battle for final place between two remaining contestants invariably cast xenophobic “come on Malcolm, beat the kraut/wop/frog” air across living room/hall of residence/sixth form common room. Four qualifiers bantered uneasily with host: “I am big fan from Imran Khan” quoth one Eastern European cricket fan, while Kelly vouchsafed that “Going For Gold is so popular in Belgium”. Quite. Remaining contestants answered questions worth one, two or three points, with first three to eight progressing to one-minute “specialised subject” round: “I am not so good with the geoh-graf-ey!”. Best two went”head to head” in absurdly complex final, featuring celebrated “Where am I? I am a river in northern Africa” questions as time ticked away “in the big four zone”. Daily winners went on to Friday final, and the whole thing went on for months and months and months. Shown as part of Reg Grundy double bill after NEIGHBOURS in early daytime schedules, while no-doubt huge airfare bill for BBC was mitigated by pathetically cheap perspex trophy for daily winners. Effect on European brotherhood deemed negligible. Kelly went on to mispronounce composers’ names on Classic FM before being ousted by Simon Bates and his gossip network.Read More
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Friday, 19.30, 00.30, BBC4
Yes, again, though while this one doesn’t match in quality last night’s episode, it’s certainly fascinating because there’s another strike on! That means again we wheel out the videos and repeats, though it’s been intriguing to see how the links have progressed, from Peter Powell out of vision in a toilet through to Simon Bates with the Rubik’s Cube and some fake applause. This time we make use of the magic of CSO to make it look a bit more like Tommy Vance is standing in a proper studio, though it’s still quite obvious, especially when we’ve seen more or less all the clips several times before. Still, a bit of a novelty, isn’t it?
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Points of View
- In 'Potty Time, Michael Bentine’s', Scott McPhee says: "The obligatory Christmas episode. Jingle Bells parody; “Oh what fun it is to ride in a super sonic sleigh.”"
- In 'Play School', George White says: "Yes, that’s right, he is. Australia is a small world."
- In 'PICK OF THE DAY', Richard Davies says: "It sounds like it’s worth writing a feature on the rise of stand-up comedy over the last 20 or so years."
- In 'Play School', David Smith says: "Don Spencer is also, in one of my favourite pieces of telly trivia, Russell Crowe’s father-in-law."
- In 'Play School', George White says: "Don Spencer is “Australia’s No 1 Children’s Entertainer” A. Because he took permanent residence in Australia. B. He’s..."