EVERYBODY’S EQUAL (Thames, 1989)
We quite liked this, and it ran for a couple of series. Two hundred contestants – though annoyingly they often seemed to be braying City types – were ferried in en masse and announced as such by Chris. Multiple choice questions whittled them down to a winner, at least one contestant selecting the one “silly” option and being identified and humiliated by Chris. Produced by Celador, we think, with a couple of proto-‘Naire touches: keypads for the audience, multiple choice questions with four answers, and the end round with ten contestants answering timed questions was surely the genesis of Fastest Finger First. Revived by C5 as Whittle with the great Tim Vine and yellow facemasks.
STARS IN THEIR EYES (Granada, 1989)
This didn’t even manage to get screened. Tarrant compered the unbroadcast pilot for the interminable Crowther/Kelly/M***** “tonight-I’m-going-to-be” karaokefest. The crucial difference between this try-out and the finished product was that the contestants had to frenetically assemble their own costume from frocks, hats and feather boas hanging on rails on stage, thereby rendering the effect less a glossy Las Vagas tribute show, more the final round of Crackerjack.
CLUEDO (Granada, 1991)
Poor old Chris hated doing this, and we don’t blame him. Hopeless whimsical “dramatised” quiz version of the Waddington’s in-the-library-with-the-lead-piping Christmas staple. Your suspects: Michael “Mustard” Jayston, Rula “Peacock” Lenska, David “Plum” McCallum, Koo “Scarlet” Stark, Mollie “White” Sugden and Richard “Green” Wilson. The major flaw was that there were six suspects, six programmes and every character was guilty once. So when you got to episode six…
THE MAIN EVENT (BBC1, 1991)
Perhaps the only television game show ever to be devised by an Australian footballer (Craig “The Anfield Rap” Johnston) – until Harry Kewell’s Lucky Lines gets commissioned, that is. Another one series only effort for Chris, which involved celebrities in the studio joining in games like, erm, charades with the competing families in their living rooms. Celebrities of the calibre of Gordon Honeycombe, mark you. Practically every round appeared to be nicked off other game shows.
LOSE A MILLION (Carlton, 1994)
Ah, the irony! Years before Chris struck gold with a quiz that gave away a million quid, he did this short-lived effort wherein the contestants started with a “notional” million quid and had to get rid of it as sharpish as possible. How they did this is far too complex to explain here. One series only, we reckon, the only other point of interest being that the flatmates in Shallow Grave were depicted watching it, for some bizarre reason, when they could have been out celebrating the death of Keith Allen instead.
MAN O MAN (Anglia, 1996)
How this kept getting recommissioned, we have no idea. It was made by Anglia, for god’s sake! Hideous Saturday night hen party “entertainment”, involving a baying crowd of 400 awful Lambrini girls “selecting” the “best” man out of a row of 10 sub-Blind Date cretins by subjecting them to various votes, tests and quizzes, and then pushing them in a swimming pool. Gah. Chris didn’t help by annoyingly walking around with his hand in his pocket at all times.