Hugo (game show)
One of many logos for the Hugo shows, this one used by Kabel 1 in 1996.
|Created by||Ivan Sølvason and Niels Krogh Mortensen|
|Presented by||Nina Klinker Jørgensen, various|
|Country of origin||Denmark|
|Production company(s)||Interactive Television Entertainment|
|Original release||September 1990 – May 1995|
Hugo (Danish: Skærmtrolden Hugo) was an interactive television show created by the Danish company Interactive Television Entertainment (ITE) in 1990. Since its premiere on TV2, this popular "live one-player multi platform interactive game show" has aired in more than 40 other countries. The show has been adapted into multiple video games as well into merchandise and other media in its extended franchise.
- 1 Original program
- 2 Licensed programs
- 3 Video game adaptations
- 4 Legacy
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Hugo was first aired on the Danish television channel TV2 during Eleva2ren in 1990, featuring a videogame that was played by the audience via telephone connection. A player would call the show where they would control a cartoon character on the TV screen in several scenarios by pressing digit keys on the phone (either 1,2, 3 or 2, 4, 6) which represented different character controls. The hit show was aired continuously for five years. Since then, various merchandise has been produced in Denmark to be distributed around the world and there were two attempts to adapt the show into an animated film, among other developments.
The show's original scenario, which ran on Danish television for a year, featured only the titular character, Hugo. Hugo is a small, friendly troll who is 220 years old (a young age for trolls) who navigates an old mine in a quest for a treasure. For the next season, the developer ITE added Hugo's family: his 180-year-old wife Hugolina (Hugoline) and their kids — Rit (TrolleRit), Rat (TrolleRat) and Rut (TrolleRut), who were aged 20–50, as well Hugo's enemy, an evil witch named Scylla (originally Afskylia in Denmark and also having other international names such as Hexana in the German version, Maldicia in the Spanish version, Maldiva in the Portuguese version, Mordana in Croatia, Skylla in Finland, Sila in Turkey, and Simla in Vietnam) who is extremely old and hideous but uses magic to appear young and beautiful when she is nearby Hugolina. (Most Hugo video games and other adaptations would drop this motif and Scylla would become always youthful by default, instead seeking revenge against Hugo, searching for an ultimate power to conquer the world, or even trying to make trolls extinct). The objective of the game became navigating obstacles in a series of scenarios in order to reach Scylla's Skull Cave lair and rescue Hugo's family from cruel captivity. Usually, several people would attempt this task to win the prize (which depended on the amount of points obtained from collecting gold along the way) during half an hour of airtime. Hugo would communicate with the player to comment on the game's progress, while the witch Scylla would taunt both Hugo and the player. Later, the show was gradually expanded with more characters (talking and regular animals that were both good and evil) and increasingly more diverse environments and gameplay, especially with the spin-off program Hugo Jungle Island (Hugo Vulkanøen) that premiered in January 1999. Another scenario, based on the video game Hugo: The Evil Mirror, was also created which aired in few countries, including Poland. 
Behind the scenes
Hugo was originally portrayed by Michael Brockdorf, who developed the voice while in the Army. Several others had since taken over the task of voicing the character, including Amin Jensen and Torben Simonsen. Hugolina was originally voiced by Louise Engell (Louise's brother, Thomas Engell, composed Hugo music for the show) while her mother Winnie voiced the antagonist Scylla.
For Hugo and its similar television program projects, ITE originally developed a designated, custom-built computer hardware system called the ITE 3000 that would convert telephone signals into control commands for the characters in the game and allow audience interaction and the action on the TV to occur without delay. The system was based on two Amiga 3000 computers combined with a new audio control system MIDI sampler, the DTMF system and some other hardware, all of which reportedly cost $100,000 to make. The ITE 3000 was later replaced by the PC-based ITE 4000, which used a real-time motion capture Animation Mask System (AMS), invented by Bjarne Sølvason (father of the ITE founder Ivan Sølvason), to transfer an actor's body, head, and eye movements and facial expressions to Hugo's character on screen. The actor providing the voice of Hugo wore a helmet which contained sensors that would capture his facial expressions and translate them to the character, but all of the characters' body movements were pre-rendered. In 1996, ITE created a new, 3D graphics system for Hugo using Silicon Graphics machines. A new technology for the real-time 3D animation of Hugo was unveiled in 2005, but was aimed only for export, specifically to Asian countries.
Hugo was licensed to more than 40 (43 as of 2007) TV shows around the world (first in Spain in 1992, followed by France). Many viewers believed that the program was native to their countries, as Hugo spoke Danish only in Denmark. Hugo never aired in South Africa because the local TV station demanded that ITE remove horns in all animations for all games, as their viewers were very superstitious and believed that Hugo would appear as a demon from local beliefs; the horns of Hugo also caused some problems in the Middle East.
|Denmark (I)||September 1990 – May 1995||TV2||Friday|
|Spain||June 27, 1992 – June 1994||Tele5|
|France||September 1992 – August 1994||France3||Monday–Saturday (season 1) Wednesday (season 2)|
|Turkey (I)||March 1993 – October 1996||Kanal 6||Monday–Friday|
|Sweden (I)||March 1993 – December 1993||Sverige 1||Monday–Friday|
|Finland||March 17, 1993 – December 12, 1995||TV2||Tuesday / Thursday|
|United States (Puerto Rico)||April 1993 – April 1994||Telemundo|
|Norway||September 1993 – May 1995||TV2||Friday|
|Israel||July 1994 – August 1997||Arutz HaYeladim|
|United Kingdom (I)||January 1994 – January 1995||ITV||Saturday|
|Germany||April 1994 – December 1996||Der Kabelkanal / Kabel-1||Monday–Saturday|
|December 1994 – December 1996||Kabel-1||Monday–Saturday|
|United Kingdom (II)||January 1995 – October 1995||ITV||Saturday|
|Slovenia||January 1995 – December 1997||TV Slovenija||Saturday / Sunday|
|Chile||June 1995 – December 1997||Televisión Nacional de Chile||Monday–Friday|
|Brazil||October 9, 1995 - 1998||CNT Gazeta||Monday-Friday|
|Thailand||March 1996 – May 1998||Channel 7||Monday–Friday|
|Croatia||April 1, 1996 – June 15, 2004||HRT||Monday–Friday|
|Argentina||September 1996 – 2006||Magic Kids||Monday–Friday|
|Ireland (I)||November 1996 - November 1997||TnG / TG4||Saturday|
|December 18, 1996 – December 13, 1997||Kabel-1||Saturday|
|Sweden (II)||January 1997 – December 1998||TV4||Monday–Friday|
|Denmark (II)||February 1997 – May 1997||TV2||Friday|
|Portugal (I)||November 1997 – June 2000||RTP1, RTP2||Saturday / Sunday, Monday–Friday|
|Russia (I)||December 31, 1997 – October 30, 1998||RTR2||Saturday / Sunday|
|Ireland (II)||1998 – ?||TG4||Monday–Sunday|
|Switzerland||January 1998 – July 1998||SF / DSR|
|Germany||May 1998 – June 1998||Nickelodeon||Monday–Friday|
|Colombia||February 1999 – January 2001||Canal Capital||Monday–Friday|
|Denmark (III)||February 1999 – December 2000||TV2||Monday–Friday|
|Austria||March 1999 – ?||ORT|
|Russia (II)||June 18, 1999 – August 25, 1999||RTR2||Monday–Friday|
|Serbia||February 28, 2000 – March 5, 2004||BK TV||Monday–Friday|
|Malaysia||May 2000 – April 2001||ntv7||Saturday / Sunday|
|Poland||September 3, 2000 – February 28, 2009||Polsat||Saturday|
|Singapore||December – January 2003||TV12|
|Denmark (IV)||January 2001 – December 31, 2002||TV2||Monday–Friday|
|Middle East||January 2001 – December 2003||ART||Monday–Saturday|
|Portugal (II)||April 2001 – July 2001||RTP2||Monday–Friday|
|Turkey (II)||May 2001 – September 30, 2002||Show TV||Monday–Saturday|
|Venezuela (I)||November 2001 – June 2002||Venevision||Monday–Friday|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||March 27, 2002 – June 30, 2005||Federalna TV||Monday–Friday|
|Denmark (V)||June 2003 – December 2004||TV2||Monday–Sunday|
|Bermuda||June 2003 – 2006||Fresh TV|
|Turkey (III)||November 2003 – October 2004||Cine5||Monday–Saturday|
|Vietnam (I)||May 17, 2004 – June 30, 2006 ||HTV7||Monday / Wednesday / Friday / Sunday|
|People's Republic of China||July 2004 – ?||Guangdong TV||Monday–Sunday|
|Turkey (IV)||September 2004 – June 2005||ATV||Monday–Saturday|
|Venezuela (II)||March 2005 – February 2006||Venevision||Monday–Friday|
|Romania||October 2005 – December 2007||Prima TV||Friday–Sunday|
|China||January 26, 2006 – ?||Hubei Province TV||1x a week|
|Vietnam (II)||2007 – ?||VTC||2x a week|
|Argentina (II)||October 2016 –||Magic Kids (YouTube channel)|
In Argentina, A Jugar Con Hugo, hosted by Gabriela "Gaby" Royfe, ran for seven seasons and 343 episodes, winning the Martín Fierro Awards for "Best Kids Show" in 2003. Hugo was voiced by César Ledesma. A paper magazine was also published for the show. Gaby Royfe returned to host the program in 2016, this time using the Internet and a mobile app instead of television and a classic telephone, when the 30th anniversary event was attended by 1600 people and watched by half a million.
In Brazil, the Hugo show on CNT Gazeta (later Hugo Game) peaked with 500% above the expected rating level, with 1.8 million callers on a single day. Hugo was presented as a duende and played by a robotic puppet voiced by Orlando Viggiani.
In Chile, Hugo was a success and was quickly extended from a 15-minute segment to 30 minutes in the latter half of 1995, eventually receiving a daily one-hour time slot on Televisión Nacional de Chile as La Hora de Hugo ("Hugo Hour"). The winner of the daily editions would meet in a weekend finale and a "Hugo van" traveled around the country to meet the program's viewers. The show was originally hosted by Ivette Vergara and later by Andrea Molina, with Sandro Larenas voicing Hugo.
In Finland, where Hugo was introduced by game journalist-turned-producer Pekka Kossila in 1992, two different, 30-minute Hugo shows were aired at the same time by Yle TV2, one for adults and one for children, achieving an 18% market share by 1996. The programs were originally presented by Taru Valkeapää, who was chosen from among 45 candidates, and later by Marika Saukkonen, while Hugo was voiced by Harri Hyttinen. Merchandise included the music CD DJ Hugo, which included dance hits of 1993.
In France, the program was titled Hugo Délire ("Hugo Madness") and Les Délires d'Hugo ("Hugo Delusions") and was presented by Karen Cheryl on France3. The popular show achieved a cult status among the children of the 1990s.
In Germany (and at first also Austria and Switzerland), Die Hugo-Show was scored with techno music and was drawing up to 200,000 phone calls every day at its peak. It used a virtual reality-like studio and the "Hugo-mobile" for live broadcasting all around the country, becoming a cult show for some. The German version of Hugo won the Golden Cable award in 1995 for the "Best Children's Program". There were several musical guests on the show, including Masterboy. A 1996-1997 Kabel 1 spin-off program titled Hexana-Schloss ("Hexana's Castle"), was hosted by a live-action version of Hexana (German name for Scylla) played by Julia Haacke and sponsored by PlayStation. German presenters included Minh-Khai Phan-Thi, Yvette Dankou, Tania Schleef (Schleefstraße) and Judith Hildebrandt, while Sonja Zietlow hosted the spin-off program Hugo & Hexana. Hugo's voice actors were Michael Habeck, Oliver Grimm, Oliver Baier and Sven Blümel. The country also had a Hugo magazine and a wide variety of merchandise, including numerous music CD releases.
In Israel, Hugo (הוגו) was a 30-minute show on Arutz HaYeladim (The Children's Channel) and quickly became the channel's most popular show. The show inspired a three-hour spin-off, Hugo's World (עולמו של הוגו), in 1996, in which children used a large step-on number pad to enter character movements. From 1997 to 2001, Hugo starred in a children's electricity safety campaign by Israel Electric Corporation and the show offered a contest related to this campaign in 1997. The program's presenters included Tal Berman. In addition to various merchandise, the show was adapted into a comic book series and a musical stage show.
In Poland there was the main show, and two spin-offs, all of which were shown on the Polsat network. The spinoffs, Hugo Family and Hugo Express, were the most popular children's programs for years. Hugo was originally hosted by Wojciech Asiński and Andrzej Krucz, and later by Piotr Galus, while Aleksandra Woźniak hosted Hugo Family. Hugo was voiced first by Andrzej Niemirski and later by Mariusz Czajka. There was a monthly magazine and many types of locally produced merchandise, similar to Germany.
In Portugal, the show's presenters included Alexandra Cruz, Fernando Martins, Pedro Mendonça, Pedro Pinto, Joana Seixas and Susana Bento Ramos, and the voice actors were Frederico Trancoso (Hugo), Grace Ferreira (Hugolina), and Mónica Garcez (Maldiva/Scylla). Hugo won a Troféu Nova Gente award in 1999. The show was later revived by the daily program Hora H ("H Hour").
In Serbia, Hugo was the highest ranking children's show for over 4 years. It was hosted by Ivana Zecevic (m.Golubovic) and Sandra Vlatkovic.
In Spain, 25% of the population tuned in to watch Hugo hosted by Carmen Sevilla on Telecinco, a viewing figure that has remained unsurpassed since 1994. The success of Hugo prompted the launch of Hugolandia, a spinoff program presented by Beatriz Rico, Luis Alberto Vazquez, and Roma and Eva Morales, and directed by Sebastian Junyent. Pepe Carabias voiced Hugo.
In Turkey, Hugo became the highest ranking children's show and achieved a 12% share of the total market when the country was new to private channels. The program was enormously popular, especially in 1993, when it was watched by millions of children, thousands of whom would compete to play. The show was hosted by Tolga Gariboğlu. There was also a theatrical show and locally made merchandise. The popular character Scylla (cadı Sila), gained a motivation for kidnapping Hugo's family as she needs to drink troll sweat for eternal life and beauty.
In Vietnam, Vui cùng Hugo ("Fun With Hugo") became one of the highest rated shows by 2008, receiving 20,000 phone calls per episode. The program became a household name and a favourite among both children and many adults. It was hosted by Hoang Thuy Linh, Le Duc Anh (Duc Anh Hugo), Ngoc Linh and Thanh Van (Thanh Van Hugo), with Hugo voiced by Quach Ho Ninh.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2016)
- In Croatia, Hugo was presented by Boris Mirković, Ivana Plechinger and Kristijan Ugrina, with Hugo voiced by Ivo Rogulja. The show was highly popular, running for eight years, and the taunt used by the witch Scylla (Mordana in the Croatian version of the show) in the dungeon became iconic: Hajde, izaberi jedan broj, sigurno ćeš pogriješiti! (Go on, choose a number, you will surely fail!).
- In the People's Republic of China, Hugo was known as a "European troll" and the show could not be interactive because a 30-second delay was required in order to allow authorities to cut off the feed if anyone said anything negative about the ruling regime.
- In Ireland, Hiúdaí won the Oireachtas TV awards' "TV Presenter of the Year" in 2001 and "Personality of the Year" in 2004.
- In the Russian program Позвоните Кузе ("Call Kuzya") hosted by Inna Gomes and Andrei Fedorov, Hugo was voiced by Aleksander Lenkov and Dmitry Polonsky. Hugo was first renamed to Max (Mакс) and then to Kuzya (Кузя, possibly after Kuzya the Little Domovoi, the hero of a Soviet cartoon series), while Scylla was voiced by Aleksandra Ravenskih.
- In Slovenia, Hugo was hosted by Gregor Krajc on TV Slovenija. It became the #1 entertainment show by 1996, reaching 38% TV ratings.
- In Sweden, the TV4 version of the Hugo show went on to become the best-rated children's show ever in 1996. The show's merchandise included a board game.
- In the UK, Hugo was played on What's Up Doc? and The Shiny Show, reaching up to 38% TV ratings on the latter.
Video game adaptations
Skærmtrolden Hugo, Hugo: Wintergames, Hugo: Jungle Island Series, Scylla's Revenge, Hugo in the Hut, Hugo: Quest for the Sunstones, Hugo: Black Diamond Fever, Hugo: The Magic Oak, Hugo: The Bewitched Rollercoaster, Hugo: The Magic Journey, Hugo: The Secrets of the Forest, Hugo: The Forces of Nature, Hugo: Heroes of the Savannah, Hugo and the Animals of the Ocean, Hugo in Space, Hugo: RunaMukka, Hugo: The Evil Mirror, Hugo Frog Fighter, Hugo: Smakkaball, Hugo: Bukkazoom!, Hugo: Cannon Cruise and Hugo: Penguin Battle. Agent Hugo is a Series of Reboot Hugo video game adaptations.
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