For people of a certain generation, it was one of the defining shows on television. Regularly pulling in more than 20 million viewers on a Saturday night, it became a national institution with instantly recognisable catchphrases such as “Didn’t they do well?”, “I hope you’re playing this at home” and “Nice to see you, to see you … nice!”
Now The Generation Game could be back with actor, writer and comedian Miranda Hart taking over the helm from the likes of Sir Bruce Forsyth and Larry Grayson. The BBC confirmed it was in the early stages of talks with Ms Hart about a new series.
Ms Hart described the programme as “one of the greatest game shows ever” when she interviewed Sir Bruce about his career last year. “Bruce is too modest to say this, so I am going to say it for him: During the 1970s, The Generation Game was getting over 20 million viewers every single week and my family was one of them,” she said. “I loved it.”
However, Sir Bruce suggested the show “may be a bit old hat”. He ceased hosting the show in 1994, to be replaced by the presenter Jim Davidson until 2001 when the series appeared to be retired.
Ms Hart seems a suitable choice to revive the show. Despite having detractors, she is popular with a large, mainstream audience for her parts in period drama Call the Midwife and her sitcom Miranda.
The original Generation Game, based on the Dutch programme Een van de acht, or One of the Eight, had four couples compete in various tasks. This would often include watching a professional performing a dance, making pottery or icing a cake, before having before to do the same themselves, often with comical results.
The show included a form of quiz, such as identifying music, with two couples going through to a major set-piece showdown, when they would have to perform in a play.
But the climax of the show involved the “conveyor belt” on which consumer goods would pass by one of the winning couple, who would then keep anything they could remember immediately afterwards. “Microwave oven, fondue set, cuddly toy!” were such common entries that they were at times all the flustered contestants could remember as the clock ticked down.
The news of a possible comeback saw fans take to Twitter, urging the BBC to press ahead.
However, Daniel Chapman was among those less than impressed with the idea. “Good grief – the BBC cancel Silk and Ripper Street and consider commissioning Miranda Hart to revive The Generation Game,” he said.
Ms Hart, who has 1.5 million followers on Twitter, was staying quiet during the current burst of interest.
The BBC also stressed it was only an idea that might not actually come to fruition.
A spokesman for the corporation said: “It’s in the early ideas stage at the moment. Nothing is confirmed and no series planned.”