Pump it Up
Andy Collins and Fearne Cotton (2000)
Voiceover: Richard Webb
Carlton for ITV, 26 February 1999 to 31 March 2000 (26 episodes in 2 series)
YEAH! MAD! CRAZY! EWHGEGHE! ZAMMO! Yep, it's the unmistakable sound of kids telly on Friday afternoons. So, it looks like Fun House is dead, we need a new show that will fill the gunge gap. That show, it would appear, is going to be Pump it Up - whether you like it or not.
Two teams battle through four rounds of inflatable fun (it says here) and then attempt to brave the final obstacle course in order to win... something. Each team has four members in it and each show plays four games out of a large pool of several and there is the final Obstacle course which happens at the end of each show.
Games were played such as...
Dodgy Geezer (Geyser?) where players must make it over the inflatable hills (with water spurting up from the top of each hill - hence the geyser) grab a bit of capstan, bring it back to the start. When all four people have done it, they can construct the capstan and use it to open a valve which will inflate the big Dodgy Geyser bloke.
Blown 2 bits that game where the players roll and run about inside a giant inflatable sausage thing. Easy to run forward, difficult to turn. Harsh.
Grand Prizza a game slightly copied off "Fun House" one member from each team drives around the studio on electric scooters and deliver a pizza to Andy and Fearne before crossing the line and switching contestants.
Fireball The contestants are tied together in pairs (like a 3 legged race) and must go over an inflatable obstacle course, get to the end and then both teams must tie themselves up into a 4 and then get back over the obstacle course, not easy when the obstacle course is covered in gunge. Then hit a button which sets off the fireball.
Arch Enemies two contestants from each team must pass large building blocks across some scaffolding over the the 3rd member of each team who then hands it down and passes them to the 4th member who has to build an arch, when the arch is fully constructed, the contestant has to climb up and pull a chain which sets off an explosion.
Anyway, most of these games involve giant inflatables (hence the title of the show). However, despite being a game show they don't score conventionally - oh no - that's because... "Scoring is boring!" a clever little catchphrase and shockingly witty for a Friday afternoon. Instead, by winning a round the team can turn off one of the 'gunge zones' on the final obstacle course. A useful advantage, or at least it would be if it seemed to do anything significant.
The final obstacle course was the "Gunge-A-Thon", an obstacle course by numbers with added gunge. Climb up netting, go through holes, cross bridge, don't fall in the gunge blah blah yaddah yaddah. However, the Gunge zones now come into play for one hill called 'Gunge Gulley'. The hill is split into four sections - flat, uphill, downhill, flat - and each section represents one gunge zone. If the players haven't turned off a gunge zone then when they enter the area they get dumped on. This apparently makes things a bit more difficult but you'd be hard pushed to notice truth be told. It's meant to make things a bit more slippery at any rate, and people completely covered are going to find climbing up the giant inflatable hill end obstacle (not seen since, ooh, Run the Risk?) that little bit more challenging. And the team are the first with all the members up the top. Hurrah!
OK, so it's a bit unoriginal and predictable but it does make up for this in terms of set and production values. The studio is huge, lots of industrial looking lights, dance style game music and a computerised voice counting down from five to zero (with subliminal graphic effect!) for each game.
And the hosts aren't too bad either, even if Andy Collins has become more annoying since hosting Games World.
Andy and Fearne doing the Gunge-a-thon themselves during the final episode.
Devised by the Chatterbox Partnership.
10 years after the show ended, Pump it Up was mentioned on Celebrity Juice (where Fearne Cotton is a team captain) and no one in the audience remembered it!
An episode from the year 2000.