The Noel Edmonds Saturday Roadshow


Noel Edmonds


BBC 1, 3 September 1988 to 15 December 1990 (48 episodes in 3 series)


Noel Edmonds then. No, let's not go there. Despite what anyone says, everyone will have watched one of his shows avidly at some point, despite the shirts. This pre-dated Noel's House Party but post-dated the Late Late Breakfast Show, but in essence these were variations on the same theme.

The show would come from a different place every week (magically, in the same London studio) so you couldn't get bored with the set. The very first show was set in the construction yard of the (then topical) Channel Tunnel.

The Gunge Tank game was one of the highlights (?) of the show. Members of the public would attempt to win prizes and avoid the gunge. They'd choose to find 3, 4 or 5 names within 90 seconds with bigger prizes depending on how many they think they can name. To do this, Edmonds would try and describe words to a celebrity guest. When they got it, the word would fill one of the boxes. Now here's the clever bit: if you were to read the words quite fast in your head you'd get a phrase, like a sort of verbal Magic Eye thing. Mike-Halo-Stack-Anne would be Michela Strachan. Sort of. And of course, if they didn't match their bid - or even sometimes if they did, it was fun-hilarious-Saturday-night-prime-time remember - then the punter would get covered. Hurrah! Sometimes if the celeb was really awful they'd gunge the celeb instead though. Double Hurrah!

"Embarrass your parents" quiz Wait 'Til I Get You Home also appeared, where parents would try and predict what their kids will say when asked questions like "What's your Dad's most disgusting habit" and such like.

Beadle-style practical jokes played on celebrities called the Gotcha Oscars happened every week too. The American Academy took offence to the Oscar bit, so for House Party they were reduced to Gotchas. Interestingly, Noel always got gunged and won an Oscar at the end of the series because of the evil production crew. In this sense, and this was true with House Party too, it was always worth watching near the end of the series for the inevitable Noel-gets-his-comeuppance episode which was usually genuinely funny. And to build up to the event, the crew would play practical jokes on him all the time. Such is the fun of live television! The thing with the Gotchas though is that they tended to use the same actors every week. Obviously celebs never watch the show!

Let's not be too harsh on this show - it set out to do something and it succeeded. If there's one criticism we can level at it, it was that rather than replacing features they tended to be strung out too many times.


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