Endurance UK



Paul Ross


Japanese assistants Hoki and Koki (in reality Peter Cocks and Stephen Taylor Woodrow)

Gong bangers: Olivia Stranger (series 1), Tara O'Connor (series 2)

"Gimp man" character, credited on-screen as "Something For The Ladies": Chris Sievey (aka Frank Sidebottom)


The Foundation in association with Flextech Television for Challenge TV, 17 April to 30 October 1998 (2 series)


Endurance - the cult Japanese show that's kept the like of Clive James and Chris Tarrant on the television for years (damn it!) has sprung a UK counterpart for Challenge TV. Not that they're attention seeking or anything...

Television's Paul Ross is hosted ably by his two sidekicks Hoki and Koki (who are definitely Japanese because they wear comedy glasses, have dodgy teeth and confuse their Rs and Ls, obviously) who do their best to put off the contestants as much as possible.

File:Endurance_game.jpgBest not to ask.

But what of the contestants? Eight (five in series two) people who "think they're it" come on and try to prove their the hardest, and it's one of those shows where you often want everybody to lose!

But given the games they have to play, the winner deserves to win. We're talking seriously unpleasant here. Whoever thought up the idea of making the contestants to eat maggot quiche while wearing an eye-mask filled with maggots AND having their feet tickled simulateously must be a fairly sick individual but we shan't mention any names, Ged Allen.

File:Endurance cooking.jpgAnd that's a real Japanese banger.

Other games included being wrapped from head to toe in clingfilm and then snaking your way along a course with such delights as gravel and holly to crawl over. Mmm! And then there's the game where they get the contestants to cycle as fast as they can whilst they hold mustard powder in their mouths. Or, sickest of all, the players feet are attached by bungee rope to a winch whilst they hold on to a bar for dear life. The first person to let go loses. This game is more interesting of course when you add the winch which is winching, the Japanese gravy or molasses which is poured onto the faces of the players followed by a jug full of maggots. Yum!

OK then, this show's not for the faint hearted, and its lack of games can infuriate but there's some nice touches. In the original series they'd show clips of the Japanese show between rounds and they'd challenge a member of the audience to do something for a fiver (this is Challenge TV after all). And the in-game music, especially in series two is niiiiice.

Image:Endurance_bikes.jpgMen on bikes chase pints while holding mouthfuls of mustard powder. Obviously.

Prizes were the right to be in the final, an olive crown and a cigar. The winner of the final in series one won a round-the-world trip. In series two they'd make the hilarious joke (every episode) - namely "we thought long and hard about what to give the winner of this year's series, and then we thought... Phuket", namely a trip to the capital of Thailand. Hilarious, no? Or they could choose £5000 (and that is not bad for Challenge TV).

Key moments

Hoki and Koki are meant to refer to Paul Ross as 'Mr Ross' and if they didn't they'd get a slap. So Mr Ross got more than he bargained for when he slapped Hoki one too many times and Hoki beat him up on set, much to the delight of everyone watching.

Now who's Slap Happy?

When the winner had won (inevitably male) Paul would offer the crown, the cigar and "then maybe (insert name of gong banger here) a kiss?" and whilst we and the contestant thought they'd get a kiss from the gong banger she kissed Paul instead. Ha!


"No pain, no game!"

"Go home!"

"This time, it's US!"


Based on the Japanese programme Za Gaman.

Theme Tune

Credited to Mr Miller and Mr Porter.

Challenge TV started releasing CD singles of the show's theme music and offering them as prizes on their Prize Time competitions linked with the show. Incidentally, the real names of Hoki and Koki are given away in the credits section - 'special thanks to Peter Cocks and Stephen Taylor Woodrow'. It's worth noting that Woodrow also played Challenge TV's early mascot, 'Question Mark'! Eeeh, it's a small world innit?


An Endurance video was released several years ago and it was hosted by Keith Chegwin. Ironically. Or perhaps not.


File:Endurance group.jpgThe Series 1 gang.
File:Endurance team.jpgThe Series 2 gang.
File:Endurance_hokikoki.jpgHoki and Koki. Okey dokey.
File:Endurance_tara.jpgThe Rank Organisation isn't what it used to be


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