Saturday Showdown



Stephen Mulhern

Holly Willoughby

Michael Underwood (2004)


As Ministry of Mayhem:

Carlton and The Foundation for ITV1, 10 January to 30 October 2004 (43 episodes)

Granada and The Foundation for ITV1, 6 November 2004 to 24 December 2005 (60 episodes)

As Saturday Showdown:

Granada and The Foundation for ITV1, 7 January to 4 February 2006 (5 episodes)

ITV Productions and The Foundation for ITV1 and/or CITV, 11 February to 1 July 2006 (21 episodes; see Trivia)


After SM:TV Live came to the end of its life in 2003, ITV's replacement was Ministry of Mayhem, an attempt to revive Tiswas and compete with the gunge-filled Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow. A number of formats were tried during 2004 and 2005, none of them lasted for more than a few months. But there were a couple that we thought stuck out as the most memorable ones.

The first one was called Name That Tone where two kids, one assisted by Willoughby and the other by a star guest, are asked to identify hit songs from ringtones. There's also a random oriental bloke, Mr. Lee, who sings one of the mystery songs, for no very good reason (But random oriental blokes are just automatically funny, right? Well no, not always...). This one also got lifted straight from the parent show and received an afternoon repeat in the middle of the week. Presumably the idea was to put out a five-minute segment as an extended trailer, and thus entice people to take a look at the main Saturday morning show. We said at the time that if this was the best showcase they could come up with, they didn't stand a chance, and in retrospect we'd have to say: told you so.

The second one was called Supermarket Sneak, which we think has got to be one of the most imaginative children's TV segments since, well, the last one. This involves a presenter and a kid trying to sneak six items into another shopper's trolley, starting with something small, like an orange, through the ever-present french stick to something huge like a TV. Grannies beware... This is actually quite funny to watch, but it seems like the producers stuck their head together and said "Can we come up with something even more anti-social than Bogies?"

In a last roll of the dice, the format was tweaked into a boys versus girls competition, set in the flat shared by Holly and Stephen. Any resemblance to Dick 'n' Dom was surely a coincidence. Games were typically played for just a few weeks, then discarded, and the show never missed an opportunity to fling around muck when nothing much was happening.

Key moments

During a sketch on the fifth episode, while Michael Underwood was going to the door Holly Willoughby was in, Holly enthusiastically opened the door and rather unexpectedly knocked Michael down on the floor.

Theme music

2004-05: Ministry of Mayhem by The Noise Next Door


A simulcast of Saturday Showdown was the very first programme to be shown on the CITV channel when it launched on 11 March 2006. While the show ended at 11:30am on ITV1, it continued to midday on CITV, the additional 30 minutes being imaginatively titled Saturday Showdown Xtra. This arrangement continued through 3 June 2006. ITV then decided to air cookery programmes on its main channel on Saturday mornings, rather than the traditional children's programming, and so the final four episodes of Showdown (10 June to 1 July 2006) aired exclusively on CITV.

The puppet hyenas from the show later got their own spin-off, Scratch 'n' Sniff's Den of Doom.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

SM:TV Live


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