The Pyramid Game
Steve Jones (1981-90)
Donny Osmond (2007)
Voiceover: Robin Houston (1978-84)
As part of Bruce Forsyth's Big Night: 1978
As part of The Steve Jones Games Show: 1979
As standalone programme:
LWT for ITV, 5 September 1981 to 10 August 1984 (46 episodes in 3 series)
TVS in association with Chapter One and Talbot Television for ITV, 9 January 1989 to 6 April 1990 (80 episodes in 2 series)
Sony for Challenge, 7 May to 15 June 2007 (30 episodes in 1 series)
Steve Jones, when not being a voice-over to every Awards ceremony ever, occasionally could be found in his spare time hosting this. Two celebrities, of the A-and-a-half list variety, would attempt to match minds with two contestants. But not before the distinctly average synthesiser theme tune.
Taking pride of place in the middle of the studio would be a bank of six screens structured in a pyramid shape. On each one would be a title. These would usually be cryptic clues to the topic of conversation but failing that, they'd just be poor puns.
In the first round, the celebrity would first pick a title which would then reveal the subject. The celebrity would then have to describe, as best as they can, to the contestant seven words connected by the subject within thirty seconds. They could use as many gestures and words as they liked but they couldn't mention anything that sounded vaguely like the word being guessed. If they did they would get a humiliating "honk" noise from the judges and they would have to move on. A little bit like Password, in fact. They scored one point for every correct answer. The other team then did the same thing. Afterwards, this would be repeated but with contestant describing to celebrities and back again in round three.
Whoever had scored the most points after round three would go through to the Winner's Circle. Here, the celebrity would have sixty seconds to convey six subjects, this time by way of lists. For example, if the subject was "Chemical Elements" they could say "Hydrogen, Oxygen" etc... until the contestant got it, they passed or an inappropriate clue was given (cue the aforementioned "honk" if the latter occurred). Of course, the subjects were usually sillier than "Things Not to do with a Kettle" which usually appeared in earlier rounds. The first three were worth a whopping £25 each, the next two £50 and the final one a bank-breaking £100. If they won the Winner's Circle both times, the cash would be augmented to £1,000. One notable point here is that miming was not allowed during this round within either version of the show - in fact, in the Osmond version, the celebrity had to put his/her arms into the straps provided in order not to do so.
The whole process was repeated after the break with contestants swapping celebs so as to give a fair crack of the whip to each contestant. The player who had won the most money that day had the dubious pleasure of doing it all again the next day. Celebrities stayed for each of the five weekdays.
In 2007 Challenge TV decided to make their own version with heart-throb to women of a certain age Donny Osmond, who had recently hosted the show in the US, at the helm. The set is more chrome-y than before but the game is pretty much unchanged - although we wish Osmond wouldn't keep referring to inappropriate clues as 'illegal clues' - that seems like a harsh way of putting it and certainly an annoying one. The money is a bit bigger though - the categories in the Winner's Circle now being worth £50, £75, £100, £125, £150 and £250, augmented to £1,000 if they get all six. What's more if they do it again in the same show they win an additional £2,000, and provided you get to the Winner's Circle twice in the same show you qualify to come back for the next one and add to the winnings.
Behind one of the subjects each day was a 'Lucky 7' symbol, which had its own distinctly average sound motif. If they could get all seven correct within the time they'd win the "lovely" Pyramid Clock - or, in later series, a random prize, such as a TV or a weekend break.
(Donny Osmond): "Give me 30 seconds on the clock".
"Ready - go!"
"...You gave an illegal clue..." (yes, that's the annoying phrase).
"Will you please join me at the Winners' Circle?"
Based on the American version, originally entitled The $10,000 Pyramid, created by Bob Stewart.