Yes, it’s been the first day of the holidays ( not a day too soon either, thanks for asking ) and so I began as I mean to go on, checking out whether Challenge had anything decent on during the day. Not entirely sure whether this show quite fits within that category or not, but it wasn’t without a certain fascination.
The show gained a certain reputation during its original incarnation, which lasted for about 9 years, I believe, but in case you never caught it, or don’t remember it, basically it was a pan – European ( well, Western European – the Cold War was still on when it started )show, with contestants from different countries. I remember that the 4 home countries were all counted as separate countries. Basically it involved numbers of contestants answering questions to progress through to the next round, with one dropping out each time. IN the last round of the show, and this really was its trademark, a set of clues were given to the identity of a famous person. Contestants would take it in turns to guess. The first contestant could answer in the zone for 4 points, but if the answer was wrong, then it went across, and the opponent had what was left of the 4 point zone, and all of the three point zone. If that sounds familiar, well it should. Very similar games have been used since on other shows – I think of Battle of the Brains to name but one.
Why I watched it today was that a couple of days ago I was talking to Gail, who is Brian’s wife - that’s Brian from the rugby club quiz, you understand. She mentioned that it was on, and said that it was the first series they were showing, because the prize was an expenses paid trip to see the Seoul Olympics. She also mentioned that she’d seen Daphne Fowler ( then called Daphne Hudson ) on one of the shows she’d watched. I’m afraid that I rather blotted my copybook by telling her that indeed Daphne did go on to win that series. Not that I saw any of it myself, being as it was daytime, and I was in my first year of full time teaching. However I distinctly remember that I read an interview with Daphne somewhere, where she mentioned that she’d learned from playing against Australian contestants in another quiz that if you want the prize badly enough then you’ve got to be prepared to work for it. An admirable attitude which I can recommend to anyone embarking on their first TV quiz appearance. Putting in the time and effort won’t guarantee success, but if nothing else it will make you feel more confident, and on TV that can be more important than you might think. Daphne knew that you have to win that Who Am I round to win the show, and she learned details of a good couple of thousand famous people.
The show received its fair share of criticism in its time.Henry Kelly was renowned for his overpronunciation of the most innocent words, and his dedicated use of 10 words where none would have sufficed. Also it never seemed quite fair that everything was in English, even though this was not the first language of many contestants. More power to them, then , that several of the series champions were actually from continental Europe. I’ll be honest, like a lot of daytime quiz shows it didn’t really deliver quite enough questions for my liking, but then I’m hard to please. Whatever I think doesn’t matter, since it was popular enough to last for almost a decade anyway. I don’t think that the revival a couple of years ago ever really caught on. However, out of interest , when I was in France a couple of years back I did catch a couple of editions of a show called “Questions pour un Champion “ _ which even my poor French knows means Questions for a Champion. Now, I can’t swear that it was a version of Going for Gold, but I have to say that it bore a remarkable resemblance, down to the Who Am I round.