The Generation Game was a ’70s and ’80s mainstay of Saturday night TV with Bruce Forsyth and, then, Larry Grayson, both of whom have since passed on.
With the BBC scraping the barrel beyond recognition with painful ‘search for a star’ competitions like The Voice, All Together Now and Let It Shine, they go for something a little less terrible with this family gameshow’s resurrection.
There’s intentionally terrible scripted jokes (after talk of prizes, a crashing sound is heard from the back. One says “That’s the holiday gone”, and the other completes the joke, “It must be a holiday to China”) to put us familiar territory, plenty of innuendo (a pottery section resulted in a phallic-looking object and plenty of ‘fingering’ remarks, while a sausage-making section led to talk of a ‘sausage party’ and a man looking for ‘good length and thickness’), and it also gave us the phrase that’s still in common parlance to this day: let’s see the scores on the doors… unless that’s just for ancient people like me.
So, they stuck to their original remit, the only change being that, thesedays, when the plate spinning results in breakages, everyone has to wear protective goggles. They could’ve failed contestants something better to remember the experience than a dire plaque of sorts.
I like Mel and Sue, and have done since the days of Late Lunch on Channel 4, as well as Sue Perkins’ one-series sitcom, Heading Out and Mel Geidroyc’s sketches on Sorry I’ve Got No Head, and they were also done a bad turn by ITV who cancelled their 2015 afternoon chatshow after one series, although they did bring us some classic moments such as the final show’s spanking moment, below.
One stipulation of reviewing this programme was not to publish the results of the rounds in any way, but while I wouldn’t anyway, the end result doesn’t matter any more than simply watching this. I get very cynical about light entertainment shows these days, but this one *wasn’t* terrible.
However, one aspect of this show’s return which needs killing off.. with fire, is the “celebrity panel”. They don’t have any scoring influence and they aren’t exactly Taylor Swift and Ed Sheerhan, since we have Richard Osman and Lorraine Kelly. Who cares what they think? No-one.
Johnny Vegas and Martin Kemp had a reason to be on there, but WTF was the point of splashing out for TOWIE twats Arg and Gemma Collins?
The Generation Game with Mel and Sue is only running for two episodes so far, the second one coming next week, but as this runs for an hour, what they need to do is cut it down to 45 minutes max and put it on a Saturday evening around 6pm.
The Generation Game with Mel and Sue continues next Sunday on BBC1 at 8pm, and will never be available to buy on Blu-ray or DVD. After broadcast, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 4/10
Director: Ollie Bartlett
Series Producer: Keith Cotton
Executive Producer: Nic McNeilis
Presenters: Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins
Guests: Johnny Vegas, Richard Osman, Lorraine Kelly, Martin Kemp, James Argent, Gemma Collins
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.