Every year, for far longer than is probably healthy, I count down the days until the start of the new five-day-a-week shows on Labor Day - and pretty much every year, I have to wait a little longer for some of them because of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon. I wouldn't complain about that nearly as much if that telethon were more like the BBC's 24 Hour Panel People.
Now here's an idea: to raise money for British charity Comic Relief, comedian David Walliams takes on the challenge of appearing on twenty game shows in twenty-four hours. That's not to say he was driving from studio to studio; all the shows were done in the same studio, with stagehands changing the set to match each show and a bucketload of other talent drifting in and out as hosts, panelists, contestants, and guests. The whole thing was, naturally, streamed live on the Internet; for whatever reason, I didn't watch. I did, however, watch the five half-hour episodes of highlights shown on BBC3.
First things first: the full list of shows, hosts, panelists, etc. is on ukgameshows.com and I'm not wasting space repeating it here. Needless to say, most of them were comedy panel game shows of one form or another, but a few others did slip in. I should note that a lot of the participants (for want of a better word) said a lot of things you should never, ever say on a charity telethon - the most blatent example being during Mock The Week, when one of the categories the panelists had to provide examples of was...well, things you should never, ever say on a charity telethon. I'll leave it to your imagination; however, it was thankfully balanced out by breaks in each show for plugs about Comic Relief's work around the world.
David looked like he was going to collapse by the end, but did manage to complete nineteen shows - due to time constraints, Room 101 had to dropped from the schedule at the last minute. Most Americans would probably have never heard of most of the shows used; still, as a hardcore game show fan, I found this to be terrific entertainment.
I would promise to write about Wheel Of Fortune's Vanna For A Day episode next week, but my local station (a CBS station) is bumping it to the middle of the night to make room for March Madness basketball. I'll hopefully be able to discuss it on March 31.
If you're wondering - five months, two weeks, and five days until Labor Day.