Games people play

Pandora Melly discovers the comedy and drama of television panel games
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Nerys Hughes, actress, wife and mother

My father was brilliant at games; very inventive and fun. My mother would be doing the cooking, and he'd be the one who organised all those raucous events like musical chairs and pass the parcel. In those days, we didn't watch the telly so much.

I'm not at all competitive. When I play Scrabble, I want to get good words. I don't think hugely about a high score entering into it. My family really mind about winning. We sometimes play a stock-marketing game called Wealth of Nations. It's a bit like Monopoly, but instead of hotels and houses, you buy national products such as corn or salt, and then you bankrupt the countries. I like playing it, but I'm wary because it can lead to strong feelings. It's lethal. Not a Happy Families game at all, and it goes on for ever.

As a family, we are incredibly busy, so we play games when we're together and don't have anything else to do. I love that, but it's very rare now.

I will say this: my career has been comedy and drama, very often playing harassed middle-aged women, so it's an absolute treat for me to do panel games. I know people think: "Oh my God, cookery shows and panel games," but I've done Give Us a Clue and a couple of Call My Bluffs, and I just adore it. The players are usually quite intelligent, so it's not one of your silly, thoughtless-type panel-games; you have to think on your toes.

My answer to you about games in general is that if they're stimulating and fun, and they make you laugh then I think they're wonderful. If they're mocking, then that's awful. All games have their place, even Wealth of Nations. It's a chance to muck in and have a bit of a laugh.

We have not been able to track down `Wealth of Nations' but `Call My Bluff' may be seen on BBC2 at 8pm next Tuesday. The teams will be captained by the usually quite intelligent Alan Coren and Sandi Toksvig.

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