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Hosts
Bob Holness (1983–1995)
Michael Aspel (1997)
Liza Tarbuck (2000–2001)
Simon Mayo (2012)
Announcers
Andrew Lodge (1983–1986)
Peter Tomlinson (1987–1994)
Susan Rae (1997)
Dan Strauss (2000–2001)
Simon Mattocks (2012)
Broadcast
Blockbusters 1983
Blockbuster
ITV: 29 August 1983 – 4 June 1993
Blockbusters 1994
Sky One: 18 April 1994 – 17 February 1995
Blockbusters 1997
BBC Two: 31 March – 8 August 1997
Blockbusters 2000
Sky One: 30 October 2000 – 23 March 2001
The All New Blockbusters 2012
Challenge: 14 May – 3 August 2012
Packagers
Central in association with Talbot Television and Goodson-Todman Productions (1983–1995)
Fremantle UK (1997)
Grundy (2000–2001)
Thames (2012)

A game of skill and strategy, where the game board was a honeycomb filled with letters. This show was played with teenage contestants (ranging from sixteen to eighteen years, inclusively) and it pitted a solo player (who played white) against a team of two players (who played blue (purple in the BBC version)) to see if two heads really are better than one.

GameplayEdit

A 4x5 board of 20 hexagons was presented with a letter in each hexagon. A letter was chosen at random to start a game. The answer of the question would begin with the letter chosen (the only exceptions were X and Z, which were not featured on the board at all). For example, if the letter T were chosen, a sample question might be: "What 'T' is a sport made famous by Serena & Venus Williams?", in which case the correct answer would be "Tennis". The player who buzzed in first would get a chance to answer the question. If correct, the space was marked with their colour. If they were incorrect, the opponent(s) get(s) a chance to answer (should the solo player miss, only one half of the team could answer, with conference). If nobody answered correctly, another question was asked whose answer began with that same letter. Each correct answer also won £5 (in case of the team, both players would each receive that amount of money).

The object of the game was to make a connecting path from one side to the other. This was classified as achieving "Blockbusters." The solo player would have to connect from top to bottom (white to white), which could be done in as little as 4 correct answers. The team would have to connect side to side (blue to blue) in as little as 5 moves. When a side was close to winning the game, their appropriate coloured hexagons flashed; sometimes, however, all the earned hexagons flashed; this situation was called "Blockbusters either way" (in later series, this was renamed a "mutual space" on the board). The first side to make the connection won the game, and the first side to win two out of three games won the match and went on to play the "Gold Run". If the team advanced to the bonus round, only one of them could play (alternating turns with each additional match won).

Gold RunEdit

The winning player had to connect from left to right (gold to gold) in 60 seconds or less. The difference here was that the hexagons had multiple letters on them (2 to 4 letters), and naturally, they represented an answer of more than one word (eg: "CT", First host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: Chris Tarrant). Correct answers would mark the chosen hexagons gold. There was no penalty for incorrect guesses but passes put up blocks and the player had to work around them. If the contestant could make the connection, they won a prize; if they couldn't, they would receive £10 for each correct answer. If he/she was blocked out, the contestant could still continue and try to build up the money for every correct answer until time ran out. Win or lose, the host would go over any missed and/or passed questions, and another match would begin.

Gold Run prizes increased with each new attempt by the same champions, and were based on how many of them were played to that point; not how many they won. (i.e. contestants who won the last Gold Run won the major prize guaranteed, regardless if they lost any previous Gold Runs).

Championship FormatEdit

Defending champions could keep going for up to five matches undefeated, in order to win a major prize. From the seventh ITV series, it was reduced to three, so that more contestants could take part over the course of a series. In the first Sky One series this was changed back up to five matches and reduced to three again on BBC Two. In the second Sky One series, it increased to five again. For the Challenge series, the maximum amount remained at five matches.

PrizesEdit

In the first two series, all contestants who appeared on the show received a Concise Oxford Dictionary and a sweatshirt (both having the show's logo on them). By the third series, the computer game based on the show was added. Within a year, the sweatshirt was replaced with a cardigan (again, with the show's logo on it) in a choice of colours, and an embossed filofax (later an electronic organizer) accompanied the dictionary. In the first Sky One series in 1994, it was changed to a Blockbusters Encyclopedia and T-shirt. In the BBC Two 1997 series it was a fountain pen. In the second Sky One series it was a Blockbusters Dictionary and a CD ROM. In the Challenge series the players received an Elonex E-book reader.

TriviaEdit

Starting in 1986, at the end of every Friday programme, everyone in the studio (including host Bob Holness) did a dance called the Hand Jive. This is because five programmes were recorded every day, and a future contestant got bored waiting his turn for several shows a day; so they did this dance before they went home. The way the dance went was as follows:

Knee-clap
Hand-clap
Hand-over-hand (x2)
Potato-hands (x2)
Elbow-point-twirl (x2)
(Repeat x3)

Knee-clap
Hand-clap
Clap in the air.

The Hand Jive was dropped when the show moved to the BBC in 1997.

From 1987–1990, a spinoff show called Champion Blockbusters was produced, and ran for four series. It was played similar to the original version, except that the contestants were former champions who had all won Gold Runs and/or reached the five-match maximum.

Blockbusters did not just feature teenagers as contestants. In fact, the BBC and Challenge versions had adults as contestants, instead.

MerchandiseEdit

Blockbusters spawned a number of items of merchandise. 12 quiz books were released from the show[1] which also led to a spin-off: "Blockbusters Gold Run Volumes 1-5" being produced.[2]

In 1986, Waddingtons created a board game version of the show, which was named Game of the Year in 1986 by The British Association of Toy Retailers.[3] This led to several successful spin offs; a "Gold Run" Card Game, a Junior Blockbusters board game (a children's edition) and a Super Blockbusters board game (essentially, a second edition standard game with its own set of "Gold Run" cards).[4] A computer game version of the show was also created for the Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum.

In 2006, a DVD Interactive Game version was released with Bob Holness reprising his position at the helm. The DVD is based on the same format as the TV show, with virtual set design and game graphics matching the original version of the programme.[5]

GalleryEdit

MusicEdit

Theme: "Quiz Wizard" by Ed Welch

NOTE: Although the theme was updated as the years went by, the BBC version was the only version that did not use it. Instead, it used a similar sounding theme (presumably it was the same theme, but with changes in the notes).

InventorEdit

Based on the American game show of the same name by Steve Ryan.

Additional PagesEdit

List of Blockbusters episodes and specials

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://discover.nls.uk/default.ashx?q=Blockbusters&search-box-submit=go&searchtype=1&cx=004988112283334510717%3Alqhse3e39qi&ie=UTF-8
  2. http://web.archive.org/web/20100709095407/http://www.80sactual.com/2009/01/blockbusters.html
  3. http://web.archive.org/web/20051229071806/http://www.toyretailersassociation.co.uk/toty/80.htm
  4. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_AzT5pruwnbg/RsNfiv8AotI/AAAAAAAAB2s/1EAUnhbJy1o/s1600-h/blockbusters4.jpg
  5. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000HN32D2

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