80s British television show
fronted originally by Michael Aspel
(now the presenter
of This is Your Life
), and later by Michael Parkinson
(the bluff Yorshire chat show
man). Basically this was charades
, the traditional parlour game, but with celebrities making up the teams, in a very sexist boys versus girls manner. Una Stubbs
from Worzel Gummidge
) used to front the girls until she was replaced with Liza Goddard
(what on earth happened to either of them?). Lionel Blair
fronted the chaps' team throughout (presumably he couldn't think of anything better to do).
The original theme tune was not eerily reminiscent of the Grange Hill one - in fact, it was the Grange Hill one. When the show had a face-lift, the music was changed to a pseudo-groovy affair, with comedy lyrics: 'If you can swing it, or you can sing it, here's what you do: give us a clue! No conversation, or hesitation. One word or two? Give us a clue! With Michael Parkinson...' and so on. It was really rather funky, in a sub-Ronnie Hazlehurst sort of way (actually, thinking about it, it probably was Mr Hazlehurst).
There were lots of strange hand gestures to enable you to mime a TV show, book, play, song and so on to the rest of your team in two minutes or less. Holding the requisite number of fingers in the air at the start would tell your team how many words there were in it. Placing the requisite number of fingers on your crooked elbow would tell them how many syllables were in the current word. Putting one finger on your nose and pointing with your other hand would tell the person indicated that they'd guessed correctly - presumably the applause from the audience wasn't enough of a give away. These are the rules of the game and we abide by them to this day. Sad people at parties, presumably, can even remember all the little nuances to the rules, the codicils and the exceptions. (Even sadder people can probably remember the words to that theme tune 'cos they liked it so much they learnt it, and can sing it, too, if you ask them (sigh).)
It was all great fun at the time. And we would diligently look away from the television set when the title was displayed so that we could 'play along at home'. We would be pleased when familiar faces joined the panels - and we would worry when new faces appeared, concerned that they might not be of the same caliber as the regulars. It all sounds so pathetic, now, really. (Win, Lose or Draw actually tried to take the mickey out of it for a while - it ended up just pandering to the same rules and conventions. I thoroughly enjoyed watching that too.)
In retrospect, of course, it was utter crap.