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DTMark

Bring Back Blockbusters

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You know when you come across something from the past - a moment, an experience, and wish you could recreate it now?

Except you can't. Because you're not the same person you were back then if enough years have elapsed. Things are often not quite as big, as grand, as great as you remember them being.

Flicking through the channel guide the other day Challenge TV were showing reruns of Blockbusters so I set the computer to series record them. And today I burned some of them to a DVD and put it on the TV.

Not only is it precisely as I remember it, but it's perhaps better than I remembered.

That theme tune has to be one of the most iconic 80s/90s themes ever; anorak maybe but I seem to remember the show started with quite a slow theme and a dull sequence, and later on the title sequence changed to a really cool CGI flythrough of a city and the theme got quicker.

That board - today it would be on a screen but it looks like someone spent ages with some plastic perspex, some light tints and a whole load of electric bulbs. Looks great.

300px-Blockbusters_bob_foldedarms.jpg

The set has some kind of majesty to it, and the whole thing - while just on the verge of appearing a bit, well, twee perhaps (in the present day), has a delightful naiivety about it - maybe kids didn't grow up quite so quick then? (Alright, they're college students/6th form so not really kids, but you know what I mean...)

Bob Holness. What a man. I can't actually think of anyone who could replace him. Those side glances at the more nerdy contestants ;)

I know the show has come back at least once with Liza Tarbuck and I have a feeling there might have been another crack at it, but they lacked all the bits above. It really was spot on the first time. And so original too.

Some nostalgia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0-S8pU1E7k&NR=1

Apart from the Star Trek Next Generation shades of brown on that set, it all still looks great.

Have a look at the comments on that You Tube page.

Am I just reminiscing (I haven't had anything to drink, I should say) romantically, or is there something to this - I find it odd that something so iconic and legendary (5.35 on ITV every weeknight was it?) hasn't been brought back when so much other crap has.

By the way it's on Challenge on weekdays in the afternoon :)

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I agree. Give me an "E" Bob.

LOL,that's the naiivety blown :) I bet that connotation didn't arise until about 1989 - I do remember the "I want a P please Bob"....

Have come across the Sky one version. The set is a little more modern (looks like the board did indeed go flat screen), but I can't help thinking that the old series from ten years before looks much more modern overall, certainly the titles still stand up well today.

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Turn it down a bit for the first few seconds, it has an horrendous digital glitch at the start.

Really struggling to think of a presenter to bring it back with. Maybe that's most of the problem, it was "Bob's show". The closest I can think of is Alan Davies.

This comment interested me... (from the above)

The original huge game board was a mechanical affair, apparently created using an array of slide projectors, each responsible for beaming a different hexagon onto the grid. Computer graphics would never be able to evoke the same mood (and I imagine the original board was long gone) so I don't think they'd ever have re-created the original Blockbusters magic, even if they had tried (which they´╗┐ apparently didn't).

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Wasn't there a Block Busters dance? There's some hand jive clips on YT, but I thought there was a proper dance...unless I made that up...

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Wasn't there a Block Busters dance? There's some hand jive clips on YT, but I thought there was a proper dance...unless I made that up...

I think that was the dance.

Can anyone remember: is it my imagination, or did there used to be 5 gold runs (the 5th one being the top prize) and that later changed to only three?

Just watched today's two episodes, my 7pm - 8pm slot is covered each day now, it's back to 1992 time :)

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I think that was the dance.

Can anyone remember: is it my imagination, or did there used to be 5 gold runs (the 5th one being the top prize) and that later changed to only three?

Just watched today's two episodes, my 7pm - 8pm slot is covered each day now, it's back to 1992 time :)

Ah...this is it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGmS_SqjliA&feature=related

There's another one where they sat down and did it, lightweight bloody students..

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Was it 'Baker Street'? B)

I've been thinking about that for days now and still don't get that reference :)

Not sure why I wrote Alan Davies above as a possible presenter, I meant someone else who I've forgotten now.

Fiona Bruce?

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I remember a reader's letter in Viz. Said 'Whenever Henry Kelly asks "What am I?', why doesn't one of the foreigners just answer 'a w@nker'? He'd be right every time"

Priceless.

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Bring back "It's a Knockout", I say!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8YTw0ahBLo&feature=fvst

Or international "Jeux sans frontieres" with the winning country getting a bailout.

Did they have to wait for Bob to die before they could recommission Blockbusters?

Edit to add: I should have looked at the wiki first!

The EBU announced plans to relaunch the series in summer 2007 with Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Italy thought to be participating countries. However due to financial setbacks, the plans were put on hold - originally for 12 months but later abandoned altogether.

Even more reason to give the winning country a bailout!

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I've just actually watched the first episode - after looking forward to it, I forgot it was on last night.

(If you want to see the first episode again, it might be repeated in the 5pm slot on Challenge today)

They've kept the title theme and intro sequence (more or less, just changed a bit but same principles), Mayo has retained the custom of finishing the question after an interruption so viewers can hear what the question was in full, the board looks good (not quite as iconic as the original perhaps) and overall it's as if people have sat down and listened to all the criticism about prior attempts to bring it back, and acted on it.

And Simon seems a great choice for presenter.

So I'm pretty happy with it :)

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Worked it out yet? B)

No :( Beyond "Baker Street" being a song by someone like Gerry Rafferty and covered in the early 1990s by a group called "Undercover" IIRC. But I don't see the connection and can be dreadfully naiive at times so I'm probably on the wrong track there.

Second episode was on tonight. Does seem odd with adults instead of students, but Mayo does seem like a quite inspired choice for presenter.

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I thought this was about the video shop but it still could be. I remember video shops much like Kate Winslet and spending hours going through the tapes. There are a few years way back when, when I can honestly say I saw every film out that year. Funnily enough I never joined Blockbusters as there wasn't one near us but oh I did love those video shops.

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No :( Beyond "Baker Street" being a song by someone like Gerry Rafferty and covered in the early 1990s by a group called "Undercover" IIRC. But I don't see the connection and can be dreadfully naiive at times so I'm probably on the wrong track there.

Second episode was on tonight. Does seem odd with adults instead of students, but Mayo does seem like a quite inspired choice for presenter.

OK I'll put you out of your misery. Someone - reputedly Stuart Maconie in the New musical express, started the urban myth that Holness played the saxophone solo on Rafferty's "Baker Street".

Holness evidently liked the joke and was known to 'confirm' the false rumour on occasion.

I am too old to have paid much attention to Blockbuster, but when he died recently I noticed that there were many fond obituaries from the general public. He sounded like a good bloke.

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OK I'll put you out of your misery. Someone - reputedly Stuart Maconie in the New musical express, started the urban myth that Holness played the saxophone solo on Rafferty's "Baker Street".

Holness evidently liked the joke and was known to 'confirm' the false rumour on occasion.

I am too old to have paid much attention to Blockbuster, but when he died recently I noticed that there were many fond obituaries from the general public. He sounded like a good bloke.

Cheers for that!

I think he came across as possibly the most likeable person ever to appear on TV. It's probably also related to why the show has never succeeded when brought back before - it was "Bob's show" to a degree. That said, I think Mayo will fit in well.

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