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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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Been a fantastic run of shows recently and we’re particularly thrilled to see this episode, one of those we’ve been waiting to see since the repeats began. As you’ll have seen from his dynamic entrance last time out, it’s the first episode presented by Andy Peebles, but it’s also the last he does for three years, and because it was never shown on UK Gold, and very little of it appears to have been shown on TOTP2, we’re absolutely fascinated to see how he does. Presumably, he didn’t much enjoy it. As fate would have it, his appearance also coincided with the height of the ITV strike which means this is the highest rated episode of all time, pulling in a whopping 19.7 million viewers. Better yet, that enormous captive audience were met with a brilliantly eclectic line-up, one of the most diverse ever, heralded by the Dooleys’ silliest record – and therefore by far their best.
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Points of View
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- In 'Break in the Sun', Austin Maxi says: "The theme music to ‘Break In The Sun’ was John Renbourn’s ‘Reflections’."
- In 'Six English Towns/Six More English Towns/Another Bloody Six English Towns', Graham says: "Alec was born in 1907 and died in 1985 at the age of 77. He was a great historian and the..."