Type of site
|Owner||David J. Bodycombe|
|Created by||Chris M. Dickson|
UKGameshows.com is a website dedicated to British game shows. The site currently provides information on more than 1,500 British game show formats from 1938 to the present day, over 500 mini-biographies of hosts, along with numerous other background articles.
The site hosts over 4,000 articles, including a weekly news and reviews column "Weaver's Week", written by Iain Weaver, which launched in 2001.
The UKGameshows.com website was originally called The UK Game Show Page, a small section of game show fan Chris M. Dickson's personal website. This was set up in 1996 as a spin-off from his popular email discussion list, ukgs-l (since succeeded by a Yahoo Groups list). The page consisted of rules sheets for some game shows of the time, as well as "Chris Compares" programme reviews and various links of interest.
From October 1998, game show consultant and puzzle writer David J. Bodycombe co-founded with Dickson a fuller version of the site, using a list compiled by TV fan Jez Rogers as a basis. The site was updated manually using standard FrontPage software.
With the explosion in the popularity of game shows, and rapid increase in the number of British digital TV channels, the site was relaunched using MediaWiki software in 2004 so that volunteer editors could keep the database up-to-date.
The site covers game shows made in the United Kingdom. Imported programmes are not included unless they have significant UK input, such as the Eurovision Song Contest. The site's definition of "game show" is wide-ranging, taking in such diverse styles as pre-school observation games (e.g. The Shiny Show), traditional quizzes and panel games, reality television, and talent shows such as New Faces and Opportunity Knocks. Regional shows (including those made in languages other than English) are included, though typically in less detail than those broadcast nationwide. The oldest programme featured is Spelling Bee from 1938, which is believed to be the world's first television game show.
Traditionally the site has included only television shows, but this has now changed and a number of the more notable radio shows are included as well.
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UKGameshows.com has polled its readers on the subject of the greatest British game shows and game show hosts on a four-year cycle. In 2010, the poll was styled "The Gameshow General Election" and timed to coincide with the real UK general election, with the voting window running from the dissolution of Parliament on 12 April to the close of polls at 10pm on 6 May.
|Year||Greatest UK Game Show||Greatest Host|
|2002||The Mole||Bruce Forsyth|
|2006||The Crystal Maze|
Poll of the Year
Two further polls were carried out in January 2006 asking readers to select the best and worst new game shows of the previous year. Another poll was added a year later, dubbed "The Golden Fiver", for the best game show of the year overall (not restricted to new formats).
|Year||Best New Game Show||Worst New Game Show||Golden Fiver
(Best Show of the Year)
|2005||Deal or No Deal||Celebrity Love Island||category not introduced until 2006|
|2006||PokerFace||The Mint||Deal or No Deal|
|2007||Golden Balls||For the Rest of Your Life|
|2008||Duel||The Kids Are All Right||Only Connect|
|2009||The Cube||The Colour of Money|
|2010||The Million Pound Drop||101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow|
|2011||Secret Fortune||Red or Black?|
|2012||Breakaway||The Bank Job||Pointless|
|2013||Five Minutes to a Fortune||Take On the Twisters|
|2015||1000 Heartbeats||Freeze Out|
UKGameshows.com was one of five websites shortlisted in the "TV" category of Yahoo UK & Ireland's "Finds of the Year 2005" awards.
In 2006, a screenshot from the site was altered and used in a piece on the satire site BS News which was also widely circulated as a spoof email,  in which it was purported to show a contestant named Kathy Evans on the US version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? failing to answer a simple $100 question. In fact the screenshot pictured 1999 UK contestant Fiona Wheeler answering a different (and harder) question. Far from failing at the first question, Wheeler won £32,000.
In the 2005 book ITV Cultures, published by the Open University Press, UKGameshows.com is used as a case study in the chapter Who Wants to be a Fan of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" by Matt Hills. Hills discusses the site's methodology at length, and uses the site (in particular its entry for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and the results of its 2002 poll) as an example to support his argument that big money game shows can be appreciated on an aesthetic as well as a commercial level.
- Yahoo UK
- "Filling Richard's shoes" from Guardian Unlimited: Culture Vulture
- Arts The Times
- Who Wants to be a Millionaire? UKGameshows
- snopes.com: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
- Hills, Dr. Matt: "Who Wants to be a Fan of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?: Scholarly television criticism, 'popular aesthetics' and academic tastes", in ITV Cultures, edited by Rob Turnock and Catherine Johnson, pages 177-195. Open University Press, 2005. [ISBN 0-335-21729-X]