Pump it Up

File:Pump it up title card.jpg



Andy Collins with:
Julia Bradbury (1999)
Fearne Cotton (2000)


Voiceover: Richard Webb (Series 2)


Carlton for ITV, 26 February 1999 to 31 March 2000 (26 episodes in 2 series)


YEAH! MAD! CRAZY! EWHGEGHE! ZAMMO! Yep, it's the unmistakable sound of kids telly on Friday afternoons. So, it looks like Fun House is dead, we need a new show that will fill the gunge gap. That show, it would appear, is going to be Pump it Up - whether you like it or not.

Two teams battle through four rounds of inflatable fun and then attempt to brave the final obstacle course in order to win... something. Each team has four members in it and each show plays four games out of a large pool of several and there is the final Obstacle course which happens at the end of each show.

Games were played such as...

Dodgy Geezer (Geyser?) where players must make it over the inflatable hills (with water spurting up from the top of each hill - hence the geyser) grab a bit of capstan, bring it back to the start. When all four people have done it, they can construct the capstan and use it to open a valve which will inflate the big Dodgy Geyser bloke.

Blown 2 bits that game where the players roll and run about inside a giant inflatable sausage thing. Easy to run forward, difficult to turn. Harsh.

File:Pump it up blown to bits.jpgThe rejected trial round from Robot Wars.

Grand Prizza a game slightly copied off "Fun House" one member from each team drives around the studio on electric scooters and deliver a pizza to Andy and Fearne before crossing the line and switching contestants.

File:Pump it up grand pizza.jpgDue to budget cut backs, we can only afford scooters.

Fireball The contestants are tied together in pairs (like a three legged race) and must go over an inflatable obstacle course, get to the end and then both teams must tie themselves together into a group of four and then get back over the obstacle course, not easy when the obstacle course is covered in gunge. First team to get back, hit a button releasing a fireball.

Arch Enemies two contestants from each team must pass large building blocks across some scaffolding over the the third member of each team who then hands it down and passes them to the fourth member who has to build an arch, when the arch is fully constructed, the contestant has to climb up and pull a chain which sets off an explosion.

Anyway, most of these games involve giant inflatables (hence the title of the show). However, despite being a game show they don't score conventionally - oh no - that's because... "Scoring is boring!" a clever little catchphrase and shockingly witty for a Friday afternoon. Instead, by winning a round the team can make the final end game more difficult for the opposing team.

The final obstacle course was the The Big Blow Out in Series 1 and The Gunge-A-Thon in Series 2, an obstacle course by numbers with added gunge. Climb up netting, go through holes, cross bridge, don't fall in the gunge blah blah yaddah yaddah.

Winning games in Series 1 added more obstacles to the other teams course, this was changed to deactivating a "gunge zone" for your team in the second series. The Gunge zones involved one hill in the centre of the course called 'Gunge Gulley'. The hill is split into four sections with two gulleys across it for the respective teams to cross - flat, uphill, downhill, flat - and each section represents one gunge zone. If the players haven't turned off a gunge zone then when they enter the area they get dumped on. This apparently makes things a bit more difficult but you'd be hard pushed to notice truth be told. It's meant to make things a bit more slippery at any rate, and people completely covered are going to find climbing up the giant inflatable hill end obstacle (not seen since, ooh, Run the Risk?) that little bit more challenging. The winning team are the first to get all four members up to the top of the giant inflatable hill at the end.

File:Pump it up gunge gulley.jpgA bridge filled with gunge! EWW!!

OK, so it's a bit unoriginal and predictable but it does make up for this in terms of set and production values. The studio is huge, lots of industrial looking lights, dance style game music and a computerised voice counting down from five to zero (with subliminal graphic effect!) for each game.

And the hosts aren't too bad either, even if Andy Collins has become more annoying since hosting Games World.

Key moments

Andy and Fearne doing the Gunge-a-thon themselves during the final episode.


Devised by the Chatterbox Partnership.


10 years after the show ended, Pump it Up was mentioned on Celebrity Juice (where Fearne Cotton is a team captain) and no one in the audience remembered it!

Web links

Wikipedia entry


Original line-up of Andy Collins and Julia Bradbury


An edition from Series 1

An edition from Series 2


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