Game for a Laugh
In any tense situation, there is always the possibility of laughter.
Often embarrassment can be at the root of it. Like the time you grinned when you were being told off, or sniggered at the seemingly dignified woman who didn’t know that her skirt was undone or had got tucked into her knickers.
Game shows, with the added pressure of being recorded and replayed on ‘It’ll Be All Right on the Night’ are prone to hysterical breakdown or, even better, an attempt at suppressing the laughter followed by an uncontrolled release.
Some of the best moments are worth re-calling. Who can forget the Catchphrase graphics for Snake Charmer when for once we were hoping the contestant would not rush in with a ‘say- what- you- see’ guess.
More recently, Eggheads host Jeremy Vine was crying with laughter when the first option to the question “Which world leader was photographed bare-chested in Siberia in 2007 fishing in a river and again in 2009, riding a horse” was Angela Merkhel.
General geographical knowledge doesn’t seem a strong topic for one American contestant in a quiz show. “Which European country has Budapest as a capital?” The contestant’s first thought was that Europe itself was a country and then was just about to coming to conclude that France was the answer when her 5th grade team mate saved the day. The shrieks of amazement that Hungary could be the name of a country have to be heard to be believed but in the contestants minds it was as likely as Turkey being one so all was well.
There is something about the restrained format and quiet respectability of Countdown that makes the programmes funny moments all the more memorable. You should check out the time Richard Whiteley was hosting two vicars and the random choice of consonant or vowel spelled out a rather graphic and risqué description of female anatomy. The fascination in watching the situation develop is a mixture of the delicious and the excruciating, given additional spice by imagining the studio audience and the horror of the vicars’ congregations as the word unfolds. Whether real or contrived, the result is a classic of its type.
By the way the answer to the bare-chested question was Vladimir Putin.
The beauty of these games, the tension, and the hilarity can now be recreated online. Paddy Power offer online games allowing you to create your own classic moments. I would recommend Catch Phrase as it never fails to entertain my childish side.