Roll with It
Initial for Family Channel, 1995
Take one over-enthusiastic, former kids TV presenter. Add a legendary shouty Midlands lad from a little known band called Slade and mix with a gorgeous Birmingham female punk vocalist and...hey presto, ROLL WITH IT!
Obviously, there's more to the show than that - for a start there's a musically accomplished yet ludicrously dressed band called Sla..oops, sorry The F.B's, who played all of the music throughout the show, including its theme tune. There was also a hyped up audience in each recording, think The Price is Right crowd on valium [that's a sedative, surely? - Ed.] and you're almost there. Then, the set: a bright sky blue with the logo above Mr Chegwin, a long keyboard which looks like it was applied by a half-arsed cowboy decorator and a round stage (also with a keyboard design) situated next to the band on the right of the studio.
The show itself then is a music quiz - natch! Each team consists of two people; Noddy "It's CHRIIIIIIIIISSSSTTTMMMMMASSSSS" Holder is at the helm of one, Toyah "It's A Mystery" Willcox heads up the other. Their team-mates are usually pop stars of the Mari Wilson calibre (i.e. good and had a hit or two) or TV presenters/DJ's - in some cases, with people like Paul King (of King fame) and even Toyah herself, these people may stretch across both categories of fame. Which is nice!
There are six rounds on offer. The first is The Name Game, whereby each team captain is given 10 cards with names of bands, singers etc on them and then has 60 seconds to describe them to their partners without using any part of their name, earning a point for each one correctly guessed. So, whilst not an original round, it can actually be quite funny; for example Noddy once described Elastica, somewhat unimaginatively, as "something that holds up your knickers" while Toyah once described Squeeze as "what I'd love to do to Noddy!" At the end of the round, Keith hands over to the F.B's who announce the scores with a tune and sometimes a little (admittedly weak) comedy.
Round two changed during the show's run. Depending on which episode you watched, you either got a simple, no-frills "answer ten questions against the c]]lock" round, with a point for each right answer. Or, you got a musical [[Call My Bluff in which two different origins of a band or singers name were read out by one team with the opposing team earning points if they come to the right decision. Both distinctly lacking in originality - cue scores by band. NEXT!
Round three is the first of a trio of performance rounds. One member of each team is nominated to perform a particular song in a style chosen by Keith himself - one episode, for example, saw Noddy Holder performing Y Viva Espana in the style of Howard Keel. Chegwin will then talk to the crowd for a few brief opinions of both performances before asking them to mark them out of 5. Once that's done, it's over to the band again...spotted the pattern yet? Once more, this round offers nothing new, and is pretty much a carbon copy of a game from I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. (Also pretty much the entire premise of Rowland Rivron's Jammin'.)
Round four gives the other members of each team a chance to perform. This time, the round is called One Song To The Tune Of Another - or at least it should be since it is identical to the round from the antidote to panel games. Cue ridiculous musical combinations - no Colin Sell but as a consolation prize you get a group of badly dressed glam rockers. After the performances, Cheggers himself marks their renditions out of 5. What are the scores, lads?
Round Five is called the List Game and is the only round in the entire show with any shred of originality to it. It's even got the playalong factor, folks - not bad eh? No, it isn't, actually this round is quite good. Cheggers will give each team a subject such as Numbers or Colours and then they have 45 seconds to name as many songs, singers, bands or albums that would fit the category. For numbers, you could have "99 Red Balloons" or "76 Trombones", for Colours you could have "Blue Moon" or Simply Red - you get the idea. Throughout the round, you can see Keith with a notepad marking down each valid response (I smell a budgetary issue) and when the time is up, their score is revealed. Back to the band for a recap of the scores.
Finally we have another tribute to Humph and the guys with RTW's version of Pick Up Song. The band will start playing a song (apparently the teams have no advance knowledge of which songs) which they must start singing. At some point, the band will take five but the team are expected to carry on in an a cappella stylee (oooooh, the originality of this round is unbelieveable) until the band resume playing. Once this is done, we go over to the band who will mark the teams out of five before crooning the final scores.
So, Roll With It is, it's entirely fair to say, not the most unique, innovative game show ever made but it's strength lies in the fact that it never pretends to be. That's right, it's not Mastermind but what it is is a fun, family game show with elements of the playalong factor and the nostalgia factor for any older viewers who may have watched. Call it a D for originality but a good solid B+ for entertainment.
One episode saw Paul Ross singing "Kung Fu Fighting" in the style of The Wurzels. Not being a great singer, he wisely played it for laughs, rolling up his trouser legs beforehand. During the course of the song, his voice goes from being a weak Jethro impression into a full blown pirate, culminating in a cry of "Ooh Arr, me beauties!". He straight away apologises to the audiences at home and in the studio for any offence he may have caused. He needn't have bothered - the audience gave him the full five points anyway!
Paul Ross and Toyah Willcox duetting on "Hello Dolly!", complete with over the top gestures throughout and Toyah added lyric of "Next page!"
Annabel Giles looking distinctly uncomfortable performing "Careless Whisper".
One audience member giving Mari Wilson a measly two points for her solo performance, prompting Keith to tell the punter "She'll take off those gloves and come and see you in a minute!"
The friendly comic interplay/rivalry between Noddy and Toyah.
Come on people, Toyah Willcox is in it - you can't get a better key moment than that! [Er... if you say so... - Ed.]
The F.B's play the show's theme music which, as a piece of music is not bad at all, but - big but - the lyrics are lazy, repetitive and terrible:
Roll with it, roll with it, roll with it, Roll with it, roll with it, roll with it, You've gotta guess what it is 'cos it's a quiz, Roll with it!
Take out these lyrics and it's a nice, danceable piece of music. Good job really, seeing as how the whole studio invades the stage and starts dancing to it during the credits, with Cheggers urging the audience to "Come and have a dance, you lot!"
Questions and script written by Les Wood.