Yorkshire Television first aired in July 1968 and over the last 54 years this regional station has been relied upon to broadcast all the latest news and weather affecting ‘God’s Own County’. It’s also played a huge role in bringing fun and laughter to our television screens through many popular gameshows and quizzes, which have been produced within Yorkshire Television studios.
Locals in Masham will have missed the chance to catch them recently, although a new mast has been fitted to improve signal in this North Yorkshire town since the Bilsdale Mast was damaged. And don’t forget the thousands of pensioners that lost their free television licenses across Harrogate and Knaresborough back in 2020.
If you’re one for nostalgia and celebrating this county’s fine heritage, read on to discover some of Britain’s best-loved television gameshows that originated from Yorkshire TV’s production sets.
The Price Is Right
The Price Is Right has often been regarded as the most engaging television gameshow in the UK, entertaining viewers and contestants alike. This classic of American TV successfully transcended the Atlantic divide and appeared on British screens back in the mid-1980s. Perhaps its biggest success, however, was in the mid-1990s when it was hosted by supreme entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth for six years.
The show had a hiatus lasting around a decade in the 2000s but returned from 2017 hosted by comedian Alan Carr. Contestants were picked at random from the audience, with multiple people selected to appear on ‘Contestants Row’. Each player took it in turns to guess the correct retail price of an item.
Countdown is an institution for gameshow viewers across the UK, but its origins are rooted in Yorkshire Television. It was devised here as a simple but effective gameshow format, with Richard Whiteley fronting the series. He would go on to do so for a staggering 23 years, even after the show’s switch to Channel 4.
It’s a simple format, with words, conundrums and mathematical calculations helping players to rack up points in order to win the game. Its simplicity is one of its strengths, helping it to endure through generations. It’s the longest-running gameshow ever, but it has one or two counterparts that have also stood the test of time during the 2000s, most notably Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Deal or No Deal. The latter was up there with Countdown as one of the longest-standing gameshows in the 21st century. Sadly for fans, the Endemol UK-created show aired for the final time in December 2016, after well over a decade at the top.
However, there is talk of a resurgence in 2023, with popular presenter Stephen Mulhern assuming the role of Noel Edmonds in a reboot. The game remains in the national psyche and has stayed part of popular culture since 2016 thanks to the emergence of Deal or No Deal games on and offline. It’s now one of the most popular live casino games, providing an immersive, fast-paced experience akin to being a contestant in the television studios.
Through the Keyhole
Through the Keyhole was another institution on our screens, running from 1983 through to 2019. It started out hosted by iconic British presenter David Frost, who was later replaced by Leigh Francis AKA ‘Keith Lemon’.
It was a unique gameshow, bringing together celebrities to correctly guess which house the host was exploring. Viewers were given a string of clues within the homes of famous people and the trio of panellists then made their choice. The show spawned the iconic catchphrase, “Who’d live in a house like this?”.
Winner Takes All
Winner Takes All was one of the longest-standing television gameshows produced by Yorkshire Television. It first aired in 1975 for a single series, before returning the following year for another 12 years and 13 series. The first 11 years saw the show hosted by comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, followed by Geoffrey Wheeler for a brief stint in 1987.
Winner Takes All saw contestants begin the show with 50 points. Each contestant was then asked five questions and they were required to wager a minimum of five of their points on each correct answer to try and boost their total. The answers were assigned odds of 2-1, 5-1 and 10-1 based on their difficulty.
Later in the show, the top contestants competed to try and convert their points into cash prizes. The highest cash prize was landed in 1986 by contestant Michael Dixon, which was the top payout until the show’s one-off resurgence in 1997.