Making a Splash on a Saturday Night
19 Jan 2013 3 comments. tbs.pm/1312
In the past few weeks has seen ‘Splash’ appear on screens throughout the land, opinion itself has be divided in the public domain and on social media. From it being loveable harmless entertainment to the worst thing that television has ever produced in its history. Author and Light Entertainment historian Louis Barfe when in conversation with another fellow follower, made a good point about these shows that in which they maybe seen as ‘mindless’ but when they are done well they can make for great television.
Throughout the years, shows like this have come, seen and conquered. From the Gladiators and their spandex clad antics on the rings in the 1990’s, people chucking sharp pointed arrows at a categorised board for prizes in Bullseye.
No matter how terrible they have seen, people always tuned in to see what happened in them. Amazingly the public were asked by the TV Times in the 1970’s to see what they would do for a gameshow and most of them were seemingly trying to be do-gooding from an idea of disabled people winning equipment to even people winning seemingly impossible prizes such as live animals.
That may seem implausible to some people today, but proves that ideas maybe not matter how bad they could have been used to form a basis of a show. The execution of the programme makes the difference if it will kept for the ages or would be wiped over, a host being important to make what seems like a flagging idea seem better than it is, with Strike It Lucky and later the London Weekend made Strike It Rich both fronted by Michael Barrymore, the game itself is just pot luck but without a host like him it could have just have easily failed. But a good host doesn’t always guarantee a good show, even the late, great Les Dawson couldn’t even save the game show Fast Friends. Dawson, the great host of Blankety Blank tried his best to make it work, but it didn’t quite gel.
So we’ve learned the format is king and such that the latest Saturday night offerings from the BBC and ITV of Britain’s Brightest and Splash have been successes in Germany and Holland respectively. There was a time when maybe there would have been laughter at foreign television but in the past ten years there have been more formats been imported from broadcasters from across the world, as many as have been sold back to them which have been originated in the United Kingdom.
For all the Family Fortunes and Generation Games which have came saw and taken their place at the top of the television ratings, other do not make it to these shores. Whether its just seemingly a piece of fluff in the schedules, it makes the difference if its enjoyable or not. Yet it will be seen if they next thing from The Netherlands is picked up, which is surprisingly Celebrity Ski Jumping. If ITV has used one Olympian to train celebrities to do something, you would not put it past them to use an other to try the same trick again.
Rob Williams is a writer and research of the history of Light Entertainment, the television industry as a whole. He has written for the Portsmouth News as their television nostalgia columnist and also writes on Light Entertainment and Television at his own site Boggenstrovia’s Bit