Saturday, September 11, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (9/11): UK Blockbusters

The pick this week goes to a foreign version of a favorite game show of mine, the UK version of Blockbusters. The classic game that tried to answer the age-old question, are two heads better than one?

Blockbusters didn't fare as well here in America unfortunately. Bill Cullen's version ran for two years on NBC (1980-82), and 5 years later the show returned on the same network, albeit with a different format of one vs. one in 1987 with Bill Rafferty hosting. The show however lasted for a long time in the United Kingdom, from 1983-1993.

The primary object of the game stayed the same. The solo player played and connected a (white) vertical line of hexagons, while the pair connected a horizontal (blue) line. Also just like in America, the answers would begin with the letters on the game board. What really stands out for me with this version is how they managed to keep the two vs. one format and use it in their favor. No family pairs here, but sixth form students (equivalent to high school seniors in the US) made up the contestant pool. I wish the 1987 version had continued with the two vs. one format. Taking that away and making it two solo players only really took the original purpose away from the game. There were some differences in the prizes department also compared to the US versions; cash was the primary prize in the here, in the UK, money wasn't the sole thing to be won, although £5 (later £10) per question for instance were awarded, completing the Gold Run would win the players a trip. Bob Holness did a really nice job hosting the show. He almost reminds me of a British Allen Ludden, especially with the hand gesture.

Also a couple minor observations; what a lovely opening credit sequence, and who can't love the extra cheesy yet delightful Blockbusters hand jive? Those really help add to the charm of the show.

The UK Blockbusters, my online pick of the week!

No comments: