Six much loved TV game shows from the 90s

The glorious 90s were wonderful for many reasons. Shell suits, New Labour (eh?), Brit Pop and women with short hair all played their part. But simmering away under the radar, the Saturday night TV schedule was keeping us all stuck to our screens, ruining the revenues of pubs across the country and ensuring the rise and rise of takeaway food. Here are some of the crème de la crème of 90s gameshows:

The Generation Game

Programme Name; Brucie's Generation Game Now And Then

What’s not to like about watching a load of random household items float past on a conveyer belt and then taking home all the ones you can remember? Sounds like good craic to me. In 1990 Bruce Forsyth returned to relaunch the show after an eight year gap from our screens. The legendary host had been the original presenter between 1970 & 1977 before handing over to Larry Grayson who went on to have a four year stint. After four more years, Bruce handed over to Jim Davidson in 1995 and the comedian and his cheeky brand of presenting continued to make the show a family must-watch on Saturday nights.

The Price Is Right

Another entry for our Bruce who brought back another old classic in the form of The Price Is Right in 1995, just a few months after his departure from the Generation Game. Guess the price of the item or items was the name of the game, with the last player standing getting a once in a lifetime chance to win rather good prizes like speedboats, cars and washing machines if they can value it all fairly accurately. I’m A Celebrity Get me Out Of Here winner Joe Pasquale had a very brief crack at keeping the show in the public eye back in 2006 and it has just been announced that Alan Carr will be the next man to try and reinvent the show, with a pilot show due to be aired this year.



An absolute classic which brought two of Britain’s most popular past-times together: Darts and Quizzing. Hosted by the much loved but ultimately awkward Jim Bowen, the format involved normal human beings teaming up with darting superstars to try and wrestle a few quid back home to the family. More often than not the professionals let their humble masters down which left a frosty atmosphere easily identified through the old TV set. Basically, it was great viewing. The brand has had plenty of outside success, too, with big-selling board games, pub quiz machines scattered around the land, and even an online slot machine of the great game itself, which can be found at various online casinos, amongst others.

The Crystal Maze

Dramatic scenery, a bunch of geeks trying to win crystals, and a follicly challenged madman leading it all. The group dashing from zone to zone and risking the possibility of being locked in a room should their time expire on an allotted game. The Crystal Maze really was a breath of fresh air when it burst onto our screens in 1990 with the eccentric Richard O’Brien at the helm. It was the beginning of a very successful five years for the show which have spawned board games and apps galore since. The show returned to our screens both this year and last for one-off specials and will no doubt become a hit again in the future, such is the genius behind it.

Big Break

If you want a masterclass in game show hosting then the dynamic we witnessed week-in week-out between the consistently witty Jim Davidson (featured above in The Generation Game) and the totally uncharismatic John Virgo is a good place to start. How the duo ensured a game show focusing on snooker would run for eleven consecutive years is a mystery in itself but the show was seriously popular at its peak and its legacy lives on, having achieved cult status among many. Featuring a weekly trick shot from John Virgo himself and, a la Bullseye, teaming up professional players with contestants, the format was solid if unspectacular and the viewing public just kept on coming back for more.

Strike It Lucky (Strike It Rich)

The list wouldn’t be complete without an entry for Michael Barrymore, a man who probably isn’t remembered as much as he should be for his TV talents. Strike It Lucky (or Strike it Rich as it was called between 1996 and 1999) was based on a US show on the same name and ran for thirteen consecutive years here in the UK under Barrymore’s stewardship. Decent prizes were on offer for avoiding the hot-spots and many a Saturday night were spent shouting ‘Top, Middle or Bottom’ from our sofas. Another fantastic show to die out with the advent of reality TV but is another from where countless board games, apps and online games have spawned.

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