Listography – Top 5 80’s and 90’s Game Shows

I’m feeling very honoured to be hosting Listography for Kate this week and I’ve chosen a topic which is very close to my heart. It’s no secret that I’m a massive nerd, but my geekery has been present even since my earliest days and as a child, I was never happier than when I was watching some sort of quiz show on the TV, testing my mental boundaries and picking up plenty of useless general knowledge along the way. So, in honour of a lifetime of game show watching, I give you my Top 5 80’s and 90’s Game Shows:



Watching BlockBusters is one of my earliest ever memories – I was definitely under the age of 5 when I used to watch this as I still lived with my Dad at the time, and I remember sitting in the kitchen, watching it on my Mum’s little portable TV. It used to frustrate the hell out of me if people chose illogical ways to get across the board and I remember thinking that if I ever got to go on BlockBusters when I was older, that I’d be really good on The Hot Spot. Bob Holness was my hero when I was little, like a kindly Grandad who fed me knowledge and I still miss that show, to this day.

Krypton Factor

Krypton FactorAh, Krypton Factor – the ultimate combination of brains and brawn! When I was little, my ambition was to join The Royal Air Force and become a pilot, and I genuinely think it stemmed from watching people use the flight simulator on The Krypton Factor. I loves the assault course round of the show too, it was always so exciting watching them swing across muddy pools on ropes – I vaguely remember feeling a real sense of peril watching them do that, although looking back now it was probably all very safe!

The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze was always on TV around the time that I was supposed to be going to bed, so I used to put it on the TV in my bedroom as quietly as I could, and then sit with my hand on the button so that I could turn it off if I heard my parents coming. I was absolutely blown away by the set designs, which seemed so sophisticated to me when I was a kid (even though I’ve seen it again as an adult and they don’t look anywhere near as slick as I remembered) – my favourite ‘zone’ was either Aztec or Futuristic and I used to get SO cross that no-one seemed to do very well in the dome at the end. I also spent many years coveting one of those uniforms (obviously, I’d get the pink one…) and I far preferred it when Richard O’Brien presented it – Ed Tudor Pole just never did it for me.

Whose Line is it Anyway?

Whose Line is it Anyway? started as a radio programme before it came to British TV in 1988 and I think it’s where my love of comedy started – to this day, I adore so many of the comedians who starred on the show – Greg Proops, Stephen Fry, Tony Slattery, Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie – they’re all geniuses as far as I’m concerned. I also loved Josie Lawrence and found it so refreshing to see a woman on a show like this (see, I was a feminist at the age of 5!) – I was far too young to have been watching it, but I was allowed to watch TV late on a Friday night, which is when this was usually on. I was absolutely in awe  of their ability to ad-lib and be funny on-demand, and although it’s not a ‘points win prizes’ traditional quiz, it’s still one of my faves and has firmly paved the way for shows like 8 out of 10 cats that are so popular today.


Bullseye Jim Bowen

Bullseye ran from 1981 to 1995 and I remember watching it like it was yesterday. Jim Bowen was an awesome host, low-key but always there with a sarky comment when it was needed, and the premise of the game was so simple that it used to amaze me how people could be so crap at it! The prizes seemed out of this world to me (I caught a repeat on Challenge a few weeks ago and they gave away a caravan!), althought what I always coveted was a Bully statue and set of personalised Bullseye darts. It baffles me that someone managed to make a gameshow out of a game of darts, but it obviously worked as it ran for 14 years, and I bloody loved it!

There are so many more shows I could have mentioned (Catchphrase, anyone?) but I have to stop somewhere, so now it’s your turn. What game shows from the past do you love? Do you wish Bob would give you a ‘P’? Was Michael Barrymore more your cup of tea? Did Family Fortunes float your boat? Write your list and link up below.

Thanks again to Kate for allowing me to host Listography this week.

16 thoughts on “Listography – Top 5 80’s and 90’s Game Shows

  1. I never admitted to it at the time (in the same way as I never admitted quite how good I though Duran Duran were), but Blind Date would have me stuck to the screen.
    University Challenge. Great hairdos, and bizarrely brought back to me when I bought a book on Cuba when we were there which was written by ole Bamber.
    Give us a Clue. Always watched with my sister.
    But saddest of all, I used to love watching It’s a Knockout. Gutting to see that ‘jolly’ old Stuart Hall who made everyone laugh with his uncontrollable laughter turns out to be an abuser.

  2. Great list. Not sure if supermarket sweep had been invented then but I was a contestant in the 90s. Got the lurid pink sweatshirt but sadly failed at the trolley dash due to inability to find the fly spray.

  3. Great list, I agree with all of these. Richard O’Brien was so cool on The Crystal Maze, and didn’t Who’s Line is it Anyway kind of invent that concept that many modern quiz shows have now, of it’s more important to be entertaining than actually win the show? (Buzzcocks, QI etc)

  4. I would have exactly the same list except for number 4 which would likely be Fun House. Always wanted to be on Blockbuster myself.

  5. Pingback: Listography- Top 5 Game Shows Of The 80's & 90's.
  6. Bloody brilliant choices. This is one of those Listographys where I can’t think of many myself, but I will read everyone else’s and leap from my chair shouting Yes! Yes! when you all jog my memory. My only entry that you haven’t included here would be Countdown.

  7. Ooh great list, i reckon mine would probably be nigh on identical! I loved The Crystal Maze, and had quite the crush on Richard O’Brien. I always have had strange taste in men though…

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