Don't Forget Your Toothbrush
Series 1: Rachel Tatton-Brown
Series 2: Jadine Doran
Ginger Productions for Channel 4, 12 February 1994 to 25 February 1995 (26 episodes in 2 series)
The show responsible for the best bits of British television in years, this is the original late, live 'n' loud game show. Hosted by Chris Evans while he was still good, this show was about two things: a holiday and a hero (with a few stunts and cash/prizes games in between). The hero would be a pop star who would sing live several times on the show and would hang out in Superstar Corner.
However, the show was also about a holiday. There would be two on offer but to qualify you needed to have a passport and you needed to have "the next seven days off work, you don't work OR YOU DON'T CARE IF YOU GET THE SACK!" (which would get a cheer from the audience) because if you won, you'd leave that evening straight after the show. But more about that later.
There was more than that on the show of course. This is the show that asked the deeply philosophical questions "Can you play Golf with food?" and "Is Joe Normal as good as Joe 90?" and then they would proceed to answer these questions through experiment. Can you play golf with Chicken Tikka Masala? The audience were about to find out... And then there was A Game In Our Lift. And 300 People Whistling All At Once. And getting covered with flour. And then there was Drop Your Teddy. And then that moment they took round a closet Take That fan around London in a closet and let him out on a stage in front of thousands of Take That fans. And, and, and...
The fact is there were so many good moments from Toothbrush we can't do it justice, but amongst the best things they've ever done is the "throw things out your windows" game. So simple, yet so brilliant. A camera was hidden outside somebody's house. If when they cut to the camera, that house was flashing their living room lights they'd be a huge cheer because they were going to play the game! For £1000, all they had to do was chuck the correct ten things out of the correct ten windows within two minutes, often ending with "and for £1000, throw your ironing board/vacuum cleaner/television out of the big bedroom window!" This was live television at its best. Both fantastic and hilarious.
But back to the holiday. Before the final ad break they'd bring on the detonator and when the star pushed the plunger, one of the chairs in the audience would 'explode' randomly. The person sitting in that chair would then be asked a question about tomorrow's papers and if they're right they'd go on stage to play Light Your Lemon. If they were wrong they would explode another chair and that person has a better chance of getting it right. Anyway, they would keep exploding chairs until someone got it right.
Light Your Lemon was a simple affair but the prizes weren't. If they won they'd go somewhere nice and hot, if they lost they'd spend the next week somewhere in Britain. "Where d'ya want to go? SEYCHELLES! Where don't ya want to go? Bognor Regis." or something. The couple would be asked up to nine questions and for everyone they get right they light up one section of their cocktail glass (ding!) and if they lit up five sections of their cocktail glass, thereby Lighting Their Lemon then they would go to the good place. If they got one wrong however they'd light up one section of their ice cream (splurgh!), and if they get five wrong they'd Flash Their Flake and spend their next week at the seaside. They go that evening, remember. The questions would be fifty-fifty things based on the country of choice and the audience were of no use whatsoever as they shouted conflicting answers. Often the first five questions would take a good while as Evans does his pre-Tarrant "Are you sure?" routine and then they'd be running out of air time so they'd whizz through the last few.
The show gave out two huge prizes in its short history. The first was a trip to EuroDisney - for the entire audience. Imagine the euphoria.
The second, the show's last ever prize, was a Ferrari which a man won - luckily, they avoided the booby prize of a fish finger! He needed treatment for shock backstage after the show had finished. According to staff on the show, he kept asking "Is it mine? Is it really mine?!"
"Let's talk to the people at home." (boom, boom, boom, bom-bom-bom BOM)
"Or if you don't care if you get the sack"
Toothbrush won the Rose d'Or (generally considered the world's most prestigious award for light entertainment) at the 1995 Montreux TV Festival, the first time a gameshow had ever won the top prize.