The Big Dish


John Eccleston


TCC, mid-1990s


"Welcome to The Big Dish, the show that likes to say NO! The show where one hundred hopeful contestants come in but only one will win! Did you hear that, you tinkers? One of you will win - one of you will win, 99 won't but one of you will! Who will it be - will it be YOU or will it be YOU?' so spoke a malfunctioning, digitised disembodied head of host John Eccleston at the start of every episode. Half of his spiel was laid over the show's ever so 1990s theme tune of pounding techno rhythm and gee-tar.

100 kids start aboard a big satellite dish (for whatever reason) and compete in a number of knock-out rounds of quizzes and games in order to find that special one in a hundred.

Round 1: Lights Out (100 to 50), where John Eccleston does a short and decidedly eccentric "monologue" then we play the game we like to call "stand on a white or black circle and hope the white/black randomizer doesn't kill you". John pulls a lever and then a light underneath the 100 kids inside the circle spins around to black and white screens. If the light lands on the colour of the player's shirt, you go through while the others are eliminated and go sit in the audience seats.

Round 2: Blockheads (50 to 25), which is done in the quiz stylee. The players get split up into groups blue and red. They way to stay in is to be on the blue side and not the red.

Round 3: 75-to-1 (25 to 24). Mathematics can be such a cruel thing at times, and because 12.5 kids in round 5 would be rather messy, instead the odd child is removed via the Spiked Ball round. One player who got eliminated earlier is brought back just to help out. He or she is covered over with a biker helmet and spun around in a circle while the 25 kids are in a same circle shape. Once the spiked ball is swung and hits one of the kids, that kid is sent home with a consolation prize of some CD's but gets thrown out of the spaceship.

Round 4: War Of The Worlds (24 to 12). The remaining double-dozen split into two teams of twelve, one from the planet red and one from the planet blue. If memory serves, the game involved firing as many tennis balls onto a giant planet of their team's colour in two minutes.

Round 5: Crossed Wires (12 to 6). This challenge involves the 12 being split into six groups of two. One kid will have a pipe fitted onto his/her shirt and the team mate is inside a ball pit. They then need to bring there pipe through loops but the loops are scrambled about the play area, and the must place the pipe into the other end of the room and hit a buzzer to signal they done the task. Three teams are allowed to move on.

Round 6: Six of The Best (6 to 3). The lucky six run across a slipway, where they have to collect a piece of a column and build it to the top while the eliminated contestants from the last round spray them with, as John put it, 'foam fire-power' (silly string, essentially!) . The first three to do this correctly go through to...

Round 7: 3 to 1. The final three are in a quiz to the finish. The only way to win is to light seven lights on their podium to win, as described by mein host at the start of every episode "The Home Entertainment System. A stunning big screen TV with the fullest of remote controls, a VCR that has to be VCR'ed to be believed plus one super-stacked, stereo CD sound-system!" Try saying that in one breath!


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