Classic game show Blockbusters set for return

Classic Central Television letters game, Blockbusters, fronted by Bob Holness, is set for a revival by the company behind The X FactorTalkback-Thames Television.
Mark Goodson and Bill Todman devised the format of Blockbusters initially for American audiences with the series running in the USA from 1980 to 1982 with a short-lived revival in 1987. The UK version proved to be much more successful running for over a decade with a couple of relaunches in recent years.

Produced for ITV at the ATV Elstree studios initially, now the home of EastEnders, the show became a popular part of teatime viewing across Britain. The game board consisted of 20 interlocking hexagons, arranged in five columns of four. Each hexagon contained a letter of the alphabet. A contestant would choose one of the letters, and would be asked a general-knowledge trivia question whose correct answer began with the chosen letter. The first to get across the board from one end to the other won the round.

The original series was hosted by Bob Holness with the legendary “Can I have a P please Bob?” still fondly recalled today due to its “pee” connotations.

The ITV series ran for over 1000 editions and a decade before moving to Sky One for a further 220 programmes, the last 100 episodes saw Bob step aside with Lisa Tarbuck taking over hosting duties.

Between the two Sky series, the BBC attempted a ‘grown up’ version of the format, ditching the university student participant requirements and opening the show up to all ages. Michael Aspel presided over this less successful attempt in 1997, which ran for just 60 episodes.

The Blockbusters format is owned by Thames Television’s parent company, Fremantle Media, who also own the rights to Grundy Television’s back catalogue which boasts game show formats such as Going for Gold as well as other Goodson and Todman productions including The Price Is Right and Family Fortunes.

Thames are reported to be “on the lookout for contestants to take part in a brand new series” of Blockbusters which last saw new episodes produced in the UK back in 2001 for Sky.

“We are looking for outgoing people with good general knowledge and bags of enthusiasm to take part in the show that proves or disproves that two heads are better than one! You can play as a solo contestant or as a pair with a friend or relative.” Thames say in their quest for new participants. Clearly the new series won’t be true to the teenage UK original with the requirement that all applicants are over 18.

The production company have yet to state who will host the show or which broadcaster the new Blockbusters will be transmitted on, although fans of the show believe it is most likely to return to Challenge, which has repeated the ITV version recently. Challenge also revived another former ITV classic, the ATV and Central produced darts game show Bullseye which aired for a new series in 2006, eleven years after the show was dropped by ITV after a 14-year run.

One comment

  • BLOCKBUSTERS could fail its been revived by both the BBC and SKY they were short lived as CENTRAL had considered reviving it but didnt as id revive BULLSEYE on a sunday as created by ATV in 1980 it was a huge hit and ran till CENTRAL axed it in 1993 its sad really as id love to see THE GOLDEN SHOT revived as that would work so come on ATV lets bring all those classics back.