The Generation Game reboot has been cut back according to reports.

“They want [Basil Brush] back on Saturday nights. We want to get the family together watching again. We’re fed up with BGT and Pointless.” – puppeteer Michael Winsor

Despite luring 1970s puppet fox Basil Brush onto the relaunched Generation Game, a tabloid newspaper has reported beeb bosses are not impressed with the production and, despite four being commissioned, only two will now be broadcast. Fronted by former The Great British Bake Off stars Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins The Sun reports that all four programmes have been recorded, but only half will be screened due to quality concerns.

“The show was initially meant to have four episodes but two of them have been now been axed at a cost of £400,000.”  – The Sun

The show was originally launched by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 1971 and went on to pull in its best ratings during the years fronted by 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 production format, rebooted by BBC Studios, boasted how it would combine the elements everyone knew and loved from the original series, whilst being brought up to date with ‘a hilarious selection of brand new games and challenges’. The programme also lured back children’s entertainment star Basil Brush, who first guested on the show in the 70s, and had become known to a whole new generation with his own revival with rebooted magazine show Swap Shop on CBBC.

“The BBC had announced four programmes, but when they saw what had been taped could only realistically air two.” – an ‘insider’ speaking to The Sun

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.

It’s not just the beeb suffering with its revivials, ITV’s Dancing on Ice has lost 1.5 million viewers since its return episode last month.


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 gameshow 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.

On RI:SE. Comedians Mel and Sue have hosted several programmes across the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The Generation Game is the latest beeb series for the duo.
Share Button