WEEKEND NIGHTS ARE the preserve of celebrity chat shows and talent competitions now, but they used to be the nights we would gather to watch other people failing miserably at absolutely ridiculous tasks. (Not so different, then.)
As you’re settling down in front of the telly tonight, cast your mind back to these amazing 90s game shows, and wonder if we’ll ever see the likes again.
The Crystal Maze
Probably the ultimate 90s game show, our favourite incarnation of The Crystal Maze was hosted by the inimitable Richard O’Brien.
Very rarely did you see someone actually win the game. More often than not you’d be screaming at the TV as yet another contestant failed to secure a crystal, while the others yelled absolutely useless advice at them.Source: Bruise Violet/YouTube
“COME OUT COME OUT COME OUT!”
“Guy Number One, what’s your name and where do you come from?”
Blind Date was cringe, yes, but it had a heart of gold. We do miss the time when Our Cilla was the queen of Saturday nights, matching up completely incompatible singles with the aid of a sliding door.
Here’s a full episode that’s available on YouTube. You know you want to.Source: jamie Last/YouTube
TV3 are bringing it back this winter with Lucy Kennedy filling Cilla’s shoes. We’re not entirely convinced.
The Lyrics Board
This RTÉ show was a favourite of the music nerds among us – the celebrity contestants were obliged to sing songs containing words that were slowly revealed to them on a game board.
Originally hosted by Aonghus McAnally, Eurovision darling Linda Martin took the reins when it was rebooted in the early 2000s. You can still watch classic episodes on the RTÉ Player.
How all of us longed for a Blankety Blank cheque book and pen.
Family nights were often spent quietly giggling at the unashamedly double entendre-laden questions. “Did you catch a glimpse of that girl on the corner? She has the world’s biggest ‘blank’.”
If you didn’t dream about going on Gladiators during the 90s, who were you, really?
If you were a lad, you looked up to Ace or Hunter; if you were a girl, Jet or Lightning were the coolest.
Could you have beaten the Gladiators? Back then, even as a weedy 9-year-old, you were convinced of it.
Blackboard JungleSource: John Murphy/YouTube
It was like University Challenge, but for Irish secondary schools. Almost all of Ireland was a contestant on it, in the hopes of winning a portable CD player or TV for your bedroom.
The grand prize, though? A minibus for your school, and eternal glory.
The Generation Game
Nineties kids will remember this best with Bruce Forsyth and Jim Davidson at the helm – the contestants usually had to make a fool of themselves in some way by dancing or even making pottery.Source: dancingduade/YouTube
The most important thing about The Generation Game is the final memory game, where the prizes passed by the victors on a conveyor belt. It was all about the conveyor belt. And the cuddly toy.
Who has never fantasised about dashing through a supermarket, throwing items into a trolley at random? This fantasy came true in Dale Winton’s Supermarket Sweep, the king of the daytime TV game shows.
Getting the inflatable bonuses and ticking off items on the Shopping List was KEY. Also, those fetching sweatshirts the teams got to wear. Nice.