"The show without a host" - in reality, the voice of Robin Houston
Melinda Walker (100% Gold)
Reg Grundy Productions for Channel 5, 1997 to 2001
Ultra-cheap, stripped-to-the-bones quiz. Three contestants answered 100 multiple-choice and True-or-False questions posed by a (ahem) "computer". Every few questions the category of the questions changed, but started and ended with plain general knowledge. (Originally it was general knowledge all the way through.) The person whose scored closest to 100% pocketed £100 and could return the next day.
There were a few innovations here, the main one being that the contestants were told the scores after every 20 questions but they did not know which score was theirs. (This was originally the case throughout the show, but they later changed this and revealed who had which score for the first fifty questions only.) The modern outlook was also commendable, and they later revised it in order to prevent it from becoming stale.
The one major problem is that the interest of the questions was rather arguable. A typical question might be "On which day did Shakespeare die? - A) April 23, B) May 23, or C) June 23." In fact it was April 23, but who gave a damn? Another one might be "The Australian wild beaver generates over 20 pints of milk a day for its offspring - true or false?". Same comment applies.
100% featured Channel 5-friendly 20- and 30-somethings, but the more mature viewer was catered for via the more retrospective spin-off programme 100% Gold, which to us sounds like a vitamin supplement.
Clearly devised to chip away at Channel 4's Fifteen-to-One in the same time slot. This was the "quick crossword" of quiz shows - you'll watch it if it was part of your routine, but neither was it particularly engaging unless you made the effort to play along. However, it was impressive that they managed to fit 100 questions into the time available.
Highlights included the daft gag answers in questions, returning champions with impressive strings of 30 wins or more under their belt, and the comical Halloween and Christmas Specials. (The latter featuring The Fairy On Top of the Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, and Scrooge.) Lowlights included the widely-criticised Princess of Diana special.
Devised by Tom Atkinson.
Ian Lygo (known on the show as Ian from Hemel Hempstead) had to be asked by the producers to step down as an undefeated champion after 75 victories in 1998, because the producers were worried that Ian's dominance on the show was affecting the ratings. The rules of the programme had to be changed especially to accommodate this extraordinary event. He also holds the highest score on an ordinary show (87%) and was the only contestant to appear on both sets of the programme - the original orange one, and the later chromakey 'blue sky' one. Ian was particularly annoyed because he felt that retiring after 100 shows would have been in more keeping with the show. It's believed he is the world's most successful ever quiz contestant: even 2004's Ken Jennings phenomenon on the US version of Jeopardy! only managed 74 victories (failing on his 75th show).
The highest ever score on any 100% show was 94% on a special show about Queen. The second highest was 93% on the Prisoner Cell Block H special.
There were many other themed editions, including but not limited to: Magic, Rock, Harry Potter, the 70s, the 80s, Elvis, Alcohol ("100% Proof"), Halloween, Abba, Sci-fi, Disasters, James Bond, Chelsea FC, and Christmas. There was also a series of millennium specials, 100% Gold was a lunchtime version for older players, and 100% Sex was a late-night series.
In the event of a tie, another question was asked, with the winner being the contestant who answered the quickest.
Future Egghead CJ de Mooi won a DVD player on 100% Sex.
For a reason known to a select few - towards the latter part of the show's run, Robin Houston was allowed to namecheck himself whilst signing-off.