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Top 10 Failed Game Show Reboots

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Robert Barnott Palin
When it comes to game shows, you just can’t beat the classics. There are some, however, that should’ve quit while they were ahead. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Failed Game Show Reboots. For this list, we’re considering classic UK shows which, when brought back, failed to match up to the ratings and success of their original run. As a result, programmes like “Catchphrase” and “Crystal Maze” aren’t on this list, because their revivals triggered a resurgence in popularity. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Failed Game Show Reboots


When it comes to game shows, you just can’t beat the classics. There are some, however, that should’ve quit while they were ahead. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Failed Game Show Reboots.

For this list, we’re considering classic UK shows which, when brought back, failed to match up to the ratings and success of their original run. As a result, programmes like “Catchphrase” and “Crystal Maze” aren’t on this list, because their revivals triggered a resurgence in popularity.

#10: “Play Your Cards Right” (2002-03)


Presented by Sir Brucey himself, and popular throughout the '80s and '90s, an attempted resurrection in the early 2000s didn’t quite go as planned. With its original form lasting on our screens for almost two decades, it came back after only a couple of years away, with Bruce Forsyth remaining as its host. However, whether expectations were ‘higher or lower’, it couldn’t make it past 12 episodes. Although slightly modernised, the format had very much dated and modern TV audiences just didn’t think it was ‘nice to see it to see it nice’.

#9: “Bullseye” (2006)


Serving as one of the most casual game shows around, Bully and his prize board made a short (and not so sweet) comeback in 2006. Fronted by Dave Spikey from “Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights”, in place of the legendary Jim Bowen, the “Bullseye” set stayed the same and the prizes on offer were only slightly updated to match modern standards. Running for a total of thirty episodes on “Challenge”, it was never going to be as popular with new audiences. But, if nothing else, it did give us a temporary blast of darts-based nostalgia.

#8: “It’s a Knockout” (1999-2001)


Big in the '60s and '70s, this slapstick fest was, in its prime, great family entertainment. It originally shut up shop in 1982, but dozens of pretty successful one-off specials aired afterwards. Ultimately, “It’s a Knockout” landed a reboot in 1999. Perhaps it should have carried on making only cameo appearances in TV schedules though, as this late-90s do-over soon became old hat, lasting around a year and a half. Despite Frank Bruno’s contagious laugh and Cheggers’ trademark antics, Channel 5 just couldn’t replicate its glory days, showing that it was, indeed, made for a different time.

#7: “Celebrity Squares” (2014-15)


Based on the American show, “Hollywood Squares”, this star-studded noughts and crosses concept had three separate runs in the UK. Unfortunately, it wasn't a case of third time lucky for this 2014 reboot. Although it featured popular celebs and comedians such as Sara Pascoe, Joe Wilkinson and the take him or leave him James Corden, and it boasted Warwick Davis as host, viewers just didn’t seem interested. The show had previously run for 8 years in the ‘70s and ‘90s, but this contemporary revamp limped towards just 14 episodes and a Christmas special before disappearing again.

#6 “The Price Is Right” (2006-07)


Joe Pasquale, lovable as he is, couldn’t successfully resurrect this teatime favourite. As the pattern for these attempts seems to be, it enjoyed big popularity in the 80s and 90s (most famously with the late, great Bruce Forsyth at the helm), but it never found the same appeal with a post-millennium audience. Maybe it was the over reliance on nostalgia that did for it, or maybe it’s just because a segment centred on yodelling no longer has a place in our society. Either way, it was cancelled after only managing to pull in around 800,000 viewers.

#5: “Going for Gold” (2008-09)


Originally a Europe-wide showdown, this ambitious game show managed to entertain us for over 700 episodes first time around, with contestants competing from all over the continent. Its reboot, on the other hand, was far less international, featuring participants from just the UK and Ireland, while its episode count fell significantly short of its predecessor. Essentially a scaled down version of its former self, “Going for Gold” immediately lacked its initial appeal – and wound up feeling more like a silver medal show, at best. Needless to say, we haven’t seen it since.

#4: “The Krypton Factor” (2009-10)


This test of physical stamina and mental ability in which the ultimate aim is to be crowned “Superperson of the year”, was highly regarded throughout its three-decade run, from the late-‘70s to the mid-‘90s. But, the past is probably where it should have stayed. Given a modern ITV makeover and presented by Ben Shephard, it lost all of what made it great before; dated graphics, bad hair and Gordon Burns. The obstacle courses and hands-on challenges simply weren’t enough to wow audiences in 2009, and it fizzled out after just 20 instalments.

#3: “Name That Tune” (1997-98)


This show harks back to a simpler time for television, when game show concepts were charmingly straightforward. “Name That Tune” asked contestants to do exactly that, challenging them to identify a pop song after listening to just a few seconds of it. Sometimes they had but a single note to work with! Alas, when it was revived in the late ‘90s – with Jools Holland presenting – it no longer struck the same chord. Despite Holland’s trademark enthusiasm, we’d simply moved on, turned off and tuned out. Nowadays, it’s pretty impossible to find any footage of the revived series - which says it all, really…

#2: “The Generation Game” (2018)


This long-running game show which put a family's pride at stake was an entertainment powerhouse in its heyday. In 2018, the BBC attempted to bring it back to life with Mel and Sue from “The Great British Bake Off” as hosts… But sadly, it fell flatter than an over-leavened cake. Only airing two episodes, the whole revival was half-baked and it drew widespread criticism. Everything about it seemed forced, from the fake-sounding laughter to the drab dependence on forced innuendo. Soggy bottom? More of a damp squib.

#1: “Gladiators” (2008-09)


The show that brought us Wolf, Jet, the Travelator and John Anderson, was the pinnacle of '90s entertainment! As the original title theme suggests, however, Sky One couldn’t ‘feel its power’. It's almost as if leotards and foam hands belong in a different, more neon era – or something? There were many differences between this and its predecessor, including new Gladiators and new music, and due to advertising requirements on Sky, the number of challenges was reduced. As a result, it lacked its notorious oomph and spectacle, and bit the dust soon after.
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