Rick Adams


Peter Burke, Emma Lee and Marsali Stewart

Nick Mercer as 'The Stoker'


BBC1, 24 July to 22 September 1995 (20 episodes in 1 series)


In essence, it's a very, very fast-moving comedy magazine cum children's game show, although that's not a very helpful description. Lots of short games are played each day on the show, and incredible numbers of running and one-off jokes fill up the rest of the live fifteen-minute broadcasts.

About five games are played on any particular day, the main ones having short graphic introduction sequences. The action takes place in three locations: the studio, the basement "of the BBC" (i.e. another studio) and in an amusement arcade.

Host, Rick Adams

The games

Treasure Hunt - Hosted by Rick in the studio. Everyone who wants to play registers in advance by phoning a number, sending in a postcard or sending e-mail to the show (gasp!) stating name, address, 'phone number and a direction: North, South, East or West. A cartoon character called Major Jump starts on a square on a cartoon island divided up into squares. He moves from square to square based on the directions given by successive registered players. Some squares are good and win prizes, others don't.

Beat the Bug - Hosted by Emma in the basement. One of those 3x3 sliding picture puzzles is jumbled up and the kid 'phoning has 30 seconds to get the picture back. If the kid keeps their cool, remembers the order the tiles moved in and what directions, doing everything backwards and correctly isn't too hard.

Arcade Challenge - Four-day event, hosted by Peter in the arcade. Each day, a kid does a lap of the course on some racing game (e.g. Sega Rally) and the one with the fastest time over the weeks wins a Playstation or something.

Computer Game Challenge - Hosted by Rick in the studio. Two callers play some computer game over the 'phone, their touch-tone pad key-presses being turned into joypad button-pushes. The one who does better in 45 seconds wins a decent prize and the other one wins a Reactive T-shirt. This can be quite good as you can see a super-console game in play. Car games work quite well on this, shoot-em-ups aren't too bad, platform games are distinctly difficult to do and beat-'em-ups are silly ("press 4 and 6 for left and right; your punches and kicks are 5, *, 0 and #").

Barcode Bonus - Phone-in, hosted by Emma in the basement. Viewers are instructed to find a specific item around the house - a bottle of shampoo or a jar of jam - then look at the bar-code on the back. If the total of the numbers in the bar-code matches a particular figure, the players can ring in and win. Interesting lottery-type idea, but loses something in the visuals.

That Sounds Stupid - Very, very silly game where viewers can ring in and do a song with improvised "musical instruments", like a half-full-of-water milk bottle or bicycle pump. A prize is won.

Stoke up the Boiler - Hosted by Emma in the basement. There is a villain to avoid, "The Stoker", who has a "zapper" (sigh... a plastic gun with a red light on the end which they can make flash). A caller guides Anna to run around the basement by shouting left, right or straight on - not that she obeys - until they blunder upon some pods which may contain a prize or fuel canisters. Emma runs around until they have four such fuel canisters, then has to be directed to the boiler room. The fuel is thrown into a "boiler" which triggers a pyrotechnic explosion. The Stoker wanders around the maze and if he arrives in-shot the caller has to scream "Activate Defence Shield" down the phone else they are "zapped" and some other controller takes over. If four canisters are placed in the boiler before a 2:00 time limit expires a prize is won. If not, the Stoker ponces around a bit, all chuffed. Emma is no Anneka Rice but this part of the show is diverting enough to watch because it's a bit frantic.

Knock Out - Hosted by Rick in the studio. Basically, it's Everybody's Equal over the phone. Twelve callers answer multiple-choice questions using the 1,2 and 3 keys on their keypads. If they don't answer correctly they are knocked out. If they survive about four questions without being knocked out, they win some board games or some CDs.


It's very, very swift and Rick is extremely good at looning around and entertaining the kiddies. Reactive pushes back (or should that be forwards?) the boundaries of kids TV a little.


A full episode.


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