For many homes they are immovable – firmly chiseled into the household routine.
And back in the day, when ‘streaming’ was just an educational term and smart TVs were a distant sight, you could set your watch through them.
Game shows hold a special place in the viewing habits of the British public.
Parents who have long mourned their offspring’s entertainment choices can quickly turn to something like Darth Vader’s denial of his regular schedule of “Countdown.”
Ever tried to remotely wrestle Grandma when her favorite game show host is holding court on the screen? Do this at your own risk.
Whether you’re carried along on an irresistible wave of ‘I can do better’ or are attracted by the sense of kinship generated by these programs, their appeal can’t be denied.
According to new research, the UK’s most popular game show receives nearly one million searches each year.
The study, conducted by gaming experts Mahjong Challenge, revealed the top 10, analyzing the average number of annual Google searches for over 60 game shows on UK television.
Sitting in pole position – it’s no big puzzle – is the ‘countdown’ with over 996,000 annual searches.
The Word and Numbers Quiz Challenge was the first program to air on Channel Four in 1982, and nearly four decades later the UK is leading the pack in Google searches.
ITV’s ‘The Chase’, presented by Bradley Walsh, is next with 840,000 searches per year – double the average of the top ten game shows.
The show sees contestants battle it out against a professional quizzer in an attempt to win a cash prize, some running with £75,000.
And in third place? Is that your final answer? That’s right, it’s the Rolls-Royce of the genre: ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ with 456,000 annual searches. Originally hosted by Chris Tarrant and later by Jeremy Clarkson, the show first aired in the UK in 1998.
It has since been shown in various forms in over 80 languages in over 120 countries, making it one of the most successful game shows on television.
A spokesperson for Mahjong Challenge (mahjong-challenge.com) said, “Game shows have been a staple in many homes across the UK since the 1950s and some of the most successful game shows on TV originated here in the UK.”
“It will be interesting to see how popularity changes in the coming years, as 75 percent of ‘Countdown’ viewers are in the over 55 age range, while ‘The Chase’ has a wider target audience.
“Game shows face more competition than ever to capture the attention of younger viewers, as they are accustomed to accessing endless entertainment at the touch of a button through services like Netflix and Prime Video.”
With 360,000 searches per year, ‘catchphrase’ ranks fourth on the table.
The show first aired in 1986 and is currently presented by Steven Mulhern. Contestants try to guess the correct catchphrase with the help of photos or animations.
In fifth place is ITV’s quiz program ‘Tenable’, hosted by Warwick Davis, where contestants try to find the top ten answers in a category.
And no Top Ten would be complete without the BBC’s ‘Mastermind’, whose hallmarks are black chairs and an ominous theme tune – aptly named ‘Approaching Menace’.
Touted as perhaps the most intellectual British quiz show ever, Classic celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, with question master Clive Myrie at the helm of it.
The show’s producer, Bill Wright, a former RAF gunner, drew on his experience as a prisoner of war in World War II Germany to shape the program.
His interrogators repeatedly asked him three questions – name, rank and number – which prompted the idea of asking contenders for their name, occupation and specialist subject.
First broadcast on BBC One in 1972 and hosted by former journalist Magnus Magnusson, Mastermind has become a national institution with its famous catchphrase: “I have started so I will finish.”
Rank UK Game Show Monthly Search Volume Yearly Search Volume
1 countdown 83,000 996,000
2 chase 70,000 840,000
3 Who Wants To Be 38,000 456,000
4 Catchphrases 30,000 360,000
6 Mastermind 26,000 312,000
7 empty blank 25,000 300,000
8 Tipping Point 22,000 264,000
9 Crystal Maze 21,000 252,000
10 game question 21,000 252,000