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I'll have a 'C' for comeback please, Bob

The 1980s' teatime quiz Blockbusters is heading back to TV – but this time without the school pupils
  • @adamsherwin10

It was the teatime quiz show that made "Can I have a P please, Bob?" a playground catchphrase. Now Blockbusters is set to return to our screens.

The letters-based general knowledge quiz – which pitted one youngster against a team of two others – ran for a decade on ITV from 1983.

Presented by the avuncular Bob Holness, it saw sixth-formers try to chart a horizontal path across a hexagonal board to compete for a top prize in a bonus round, the Gold Run.

Now Blockbusters is coming back with a revamped series made by TalkbackThames, the company behind The X Factor. But instead of young students, now only over-18s will take part.

TalkbackThames announced it was seeking "outgoing people with good general knowledge and bags of enthusiasm to take part in the show that proves or disproves that two heads are better than one." A host has yet to be named to replace Holness, 82, who suffered a serious stroke in 2002.

A company spokesman said: "We are looking for contestants for a return of Blockbusters, but it is early days."

BBC2 briefly revived the show – a US import devised by the team behind The Price Is Right – in a 1997 series presented by Michael Aspel. Liza Tarbuck fronted a Sky remake in 2000.

Blockbusters established teatime as the home of brain-teasing game shows.

The Weakest Link, launched in 2000, brought a harsher edge to the genre, but with the BBC set to drop it next year, a space may be left for Blockbusters to reclaim its crown.

Blockbusters produced memorable moments. When asked, "What 'O' is the generic word for any living animal or plant, including bacteria and viruses?", one contestant answered "orgasm" instead of "organism". Holness replied: "There are reasons, which I won't go into, that I can't accept that answer."

Golden run: Blockbusters' famous contestants

Based on the American game show of the same name, which began in 1980, it was first broadcast on ITV on 29 August 1983. Including Champion Blockbusters specials, more than 1,500 episodes were broadcast over 18 series. The show was picked up by the BBC in 1997.

Contestants have included a young Stephen Merchant, who lost against a team of two women in 1997. When the comedian co-wrote The Office with Ricky Gervais, they created a character who had taken part in Blockbusters. Later, he compared his experience to competing for a comedy award against the duo Mitchell and Webb. "It reminds me of when I was on Blockbusters on my own versus a team of two. I never had a chance," he said.

The Perrier Award-winner Daniel Kitson appeared on the show and said he wanted to be a comedian, while the television presenter Konnie Huq also appeared in 1992 in a team of two and lost. Correct answers were awarded just £5. This was upped to £10 for the final round.

In a famous outtake, Bob Holness asked the question: "What K is a Chinese ceremony of abasement?" A contestant replied "Kama Sutra" as opposed to "kowtow". Its last appearance on UK television was a one-off special in 2007, hosted by Vernon Kay.