Catchphrase Through the years

With the news classic ITV gameshow Catchphrase is to return we dug into the ATV archives to take a look back at the previous incarnations as well as a look at the new look show.

“We’re delighted that this highly popular classic game show is returning to ITV and will once again give our viewers a chance to ‘say what they see’. – John Kaye Cooper, ITV Controller of Entertainment

A pilot for a revamped show with Stephen Mulhern as host has apparently wooed ITV bosses so much they’ve decided to run an eight-part new series of the old show.

Roy Walker hosts the TVS version in the 1980s.

The series was originally launched by Television South for ITV in 1986, before Carlton took over production in the mid-1990s. The shows format saw nine boxes covering an animated graphic, as each question was answered correctly the contestant could remove a square and guess what well-known phrase the animation was depicting. After moving to daytime the show finally dropped out of the schedules in 2002, its production base at Central Television in Nottingham closed the following year.

Original host comedian Roy Walker asked contestants to ‘Say what you see’. He currently has hosted the most successful run of the show between 1986 and 1999. Roy found fame on ATV’s talent show New Faces back in 1977.

Andrew O’Connor hosts Family Catchphrase for the Family Channel in the 1990s.
While Roy Walker continues to font the regular series for ITV from TVS, and later Carlton Television.

Carlton decided the show needed to appeal to a younger audience and Roy was dispatched. Nick Wier, a former cruise ship entertainer, was drafted in and proved unpopular with audiences. He however survived for three series between 2000 and 2002.

In 2002 the show was moved from a weekly primetime slot to a daily daytime run. Former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry replaced Wier as host. It was to be its final series as ITV slowly axed all programming from Carlton at the Central Studios which later closed. For a spell in the 1990s a version was also produced for the now defunct Family Channel, with Family Catchphrase produced, this series was fronted by Andrew O’Connor.

In 1999 the nation was horrified when Roy was dumped as host of Catchphrase.

New era: Nick Weir proved Roy was a very hard act to follow, and Nick was soon replaced with a more well known face.

Magician and former Children’s ITV presenter Stephen Mulhern takes over the show ten years after its original axing. The new look logo is an updated version of the original 1980s TVS graphic, however STV have told us it isn’t the ‘final’ version and changes from the pilot may yet be made.

“Stephen will be presenting an updated and state-of-the-art version of Catchphrase and we welcome its return to our schedules.” – John Kaye Cooper, ITV Controller of Entertainment

Former child star and Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry was drafted in to save the show, even he couldn’t save it from the axe.

Reboot to success? STV are reviving the say what you see show for ITV audiences.
Pilot Episode: The logo and set is to be changed for the first STV produced series.
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4 Replies to “Catchphrase Through the years”

  1. CATCHPHRASE coming back that is great but stephen mulhern is no good hes a rubbish magician and he will ruin the show its like having BULLSEYE without JIM BOWYN it couldnt work without him since ATV created it in 1981. Bring back ROY WALKER or dont bother as if you dont it will fail as ROY IS CATCHPHRASE as when TVS created it then it was good but CARLTON now CENTRAL were no good at all. Get it right with its original host or get ATV to make it as TVS is defunct they cant make it so itv wake up or fail with your trashy awful telly we are ATV FANS and dont take rubbish as acceptable television as LORD LEW GRADE wouldnt accept that and nor will we.

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