Mel and Sue are bringing The Generation Game back to BBC One.
Sir Bruce Forsyth became the longest-serving host on the show, 1971-77, 1990-1994 and 2007
“Bigger and better than ever before, the much-loved family gameshow The Generation Game is returning to our screens for a four episode run with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins running proceedings.” – BBC
The show was launched by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 1971 and saw its best ratings during the years fronted by late comedian Larry Grayson in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The series was revived in 1990, again with Sir Bruce hosting, before Jim Davidson took over in 1995 for its final run ending in 2002. Brucie returned to the format in 2007 for UKTV series The Generation Game: Now and Then. It mixed new games with classic clips.
The classic format, to be produced by BBC Studios, combines elements everyone knows and loves from the original series, whilst being brought up to date with a hilarious selection of brand new games and challenges for families of all ages to play in the studio and enjoy watching at home.
The show saw eight competitors – in teams of two – battle it out across the hour. The teams were usually made up of family members, mother and son and so on, which gave the challenges often more humour.
In the first two rounds, two couples would compete against each other in two games. The tasks were mixed with often the first involving the need to construct or perform something, such as the infamous potter’s wheel. The second game usually involved more of a quiz element, such as identifying pieces of music. At the end of each of the first two rounds, the couple with the lowest score was eliminated. The two highest-scoring couples then competed against each other with the winner going on to the conveyor belt segment, which required the pair to remember the prizes they’d seen pass them on the belt, all the ones remembered were won.
Pairs of family members across generations will battle it out in a series of fun performance and task-based games with the ultimate goal of facing the legendary conveyor belt and taking home an array of fabulous prizes.
Larry Grayson, pictured on ATV’s Crossroads, took The Gen Game to its best ratings.
All the telly family pairs will start the show in the studio audience and only find out which game they’re playing when Mel and Sue get them from their seats. There’s no time for rehearsals in this game show, so anything could happen on the night. Mel and Sue are joined by a panel of star judges, there to score our family pairs after each game and ultimately decide which pair faces the conveyor belt. Furthermore, special celebrity guests will be getting involved in the action along the way.
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins said: “It’s a cuddly toy, it’s a toaster, it’s a circular power saw, no it’s MEL AND SUE DOING THE GENERATION GAME! We can’t believe it, we are so excited!”. The former hosts of The Great British Bake Off decided to stick with the beeb when the show, owned by production company Love Productions, defected to Channel 4 with a big money offer. Mel and Sue found television fame on the sketch show French and Saunders before launching their own television series with Light Lunch and later Late Lunch on Channel 4.
“We’re so thrilled to be bringing back this much loved show to BBC One. With the marvellous Mel and Sue at the helm, it promises to be a real treat for all generations.” – Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning
Guest hosts on the original run of the Generation Game included Roy Castle who filled in when Brucie was ill. A pilot episode was recorded several years ago with Paul O’Grady, but it never went to series. A one-off hosted by Graham Norton, entitled Generation Fame in 2005, was a celebrity version which failed to engage viewers. In 2014 the beeb went as far as to announce a new version to air in 2015, ‘reimagined for a modern audience’, fronted by comedian Miranda Hart, however, nothing came of that project.
Mel and Sue will be pleased they didn’t chase the cash and defect to Channel 4 with the Bake Off.
Bruce Forsyth had three stints as the host, first from 1971 to 1977 then from 1990 to 1994 and again for a retrospective series in 2007. He’s also hosted game shows Play Your Cards Right and The Price is Right for ITV. Brucie came to television fame on ATV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the 1950s.
Roy Castle was a guest host in the 1970s. He also appeared a number of times as a guest judge on the Gen Game. Here Roy and Brucie appear together on LWT’s You Bet! Roy was best known as the main presenter of Children’s BBC series Record Breakers.
Larry Grayson became a telly star thanks to several appearances on ATV’s Saturday Variety series. He became best mates with lead Crossroads actress Noele Gordon appearing in the ITV soap several times. He took over the Gen Game in 1978 and saw its ratings rocket. He quit in 1982 while the show was still popular. Here Larry is pictured on his own ATV series, Shut that Door!
Jim Davidson took over the show from Bruce Forsyth in 1995 having previously guest-hosted the show. His run ended in 2002. During his time with the Gen Game, he also hosted a special anniversary edition celebrating earlier episodes; including those hosted by Bruce and Larry. Other shows include as presenter of snooker game show Big Break and as a regular guest on ATV Saturday morning children’s series Tiswas.
Blind Date host Paul O’Grady recorded a pilot of The Generation Game for the BBC, but it failed to be picked up as a series. Paul was best known for many years as drag act Lily Savage fronting shows such as Blankety Blank and her own chat show Lily Live.
Graham Norton hosted a one-off celebrity special of the show entitled Generation Fame. The 2005 airing was hoped to become a series but failed to resonate with viewers. Graham is best known for his chat shows on both the BBC and Channel 4.
Comedian Miranda Hart was announced as host of a new version of the Gen Game in 2014, but the series never aired.