ATV Preview: Catchphrase

ATV Today has taken a peek at the all-new version of classic ITV game show Catchphrase, and here’s what reporter Mike Watkins made of it all – without giving too much away.

The music is more dramatic, although the opening titles pay homage to the more famous 1990s version, yes things certainly have changed to Catchphrase since it was last on ITV screens a decade ago. But unlike some revamps, it isn’t a change for the worse.

While Roy Walker proved to be a hard act to follow with Mark Curry and Nick Weir failing to live up to his legacy when taking over towards the end of the original sixteen year run – enough time has now surely passed for Stephen Mulhern to make the show his own.

Early on Mulhern is keen to make it clear the show’s format may be slightly different in places but some relics from the old days remain such as the famous Mr Chips who was ditched towards the end of the original Catchphrase.

Now with the first change. Instead of two players there are three in play for round one. Each player is colour coordinated with Red, Blue and Yellow competing to guess the visuals depicting phrases.

The game graphics have greatly improved from the original series, with a more 3D The Sims look rather than the basic 2D drawings of old.

Another change sees the contestants in the first round not playing for money, instead each contestant has to get three catchphrases right to go through to the second game. The two who do this first go onto round two.

The second game takes the format of the original series first round, where each catchphrase is worth money. The bonus catchphrase, behind the nine squares, is exactly the same format as in the old series and remains to be guessed after every correct catchphrase to win more money.

Stephen proves to be a warm presenter, which allows for slightly cheeky comments and occasional expressions of despair when guesses go wayward.

In the third round there is now a theme connecting all the catchphrases and the bonus catchphrase, the format of acuminating money remains the same with the regular catchphrases worth £200 and the bonus worth £1000.

The forth round also takes the form of the old third round, the quick fire buzz-in round.

The final game, super catchphrase, is worth £50,000 and takes a totally new form from the Roy Walker days with the square lettered grid replaced with a numbered pyramid.

All in all the show is funny and entertaining, the changes to make the show longer to 45 minutes from 30 haven’t really harmed the format with most of it similar to the original series so shouldn’t offend old time fans and with Mulhern it should appeal to the much-sought younger viewer.

The new game graphics are a welcome addition, the theme tune may have a touch of the X Factor style to it – and isn’t as good as the 1980s version – but it thankfully keeps to the familiar score.

It isn’t as faithful looks wise to the original as say the Bullyseye remake was for Challenge TV – however there have been worse revivals and the new set is very fitting for the show with illuminated speech bubbles.

Stephen Mulhern says of the return, “I’m delighted and excited to be hosting the new look Catchphrase, a show I grew up watching. It’s a dream to present but I warn you now, if your family is anything like mine, it can get very competitive when you play along at home!”

Catchphrase is produced for ITV by STV at the London Studios. The first episode airs next Sunday the 7th April at 6.45pm.

Catchphrase through the years:

Original host Roy Walker who asked contestants to ‘say what you see’ between 1986 and 1999. The show was originally produced by Television South.
After Television South lost their ITV broadcast licence for the south of England the show moved to the Central Television studios, produced by Carlton-Central for the rest of the shows run. Roy remained until 1999.
1990s Sky version, the Family Channel aired their own take on the series with Andrew O’Connor as host.
In 1999 a youth-aimed revamp saw Roy leave with Nick Weir taking over as host. The titles, music, set and logo all were dumbed-down.
The show, like Family Fortunes, left its prime time weekly slot for a weekday daytime run, former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry took over for the final series.
The revival has changed somewhat since the pilot, recorded last year, as the picture originally issued by STV of Stephen Mulhern shows. The pilot edition won’t be transmitted.

One comment

  • CATCHPHRASE why Stephen Mulhern the failed magician and former host of trickytv why cant ROY WALKER come back as this will be absolute trash yet again itv commits to make RUBBISH as if it was popular before change it so its SHIT so why cant they give mulhern the boot and BRING BACK ROY WALKER.