Jim Davidson’s Generation Game, 1995
During Bruce Forsyth’s final season on the show he was unable to make one week due to ill health so Jim Davidson stood in for that week.
Davidson had had a troubled past, but had put that behind him and at the time was seen as the golden boy of light entertainment with the success of his snooker based game show ‘Big Break’. When Bruce decided to step down Jim Davidson was seen as the natural successor.
The Show was given a major revamp it terms of it’s grand set and new theme tune and titles (in a break from Bruce Forsyth and Larry Grayson’s versions there were no lyrics, until the final two series). There were also some major changes to the format and a new co – host in the form of Sally Meen (ex – GMTV weather girl). However by 1996 The Generation Game was in trouble, viewers did not seem to connect with the new version and rumours began to circulate that Dale Winton was being lined up to replace Jim Davidson. The BBC gave it one more throw of the dice, for Davidson’s second series it was back to a more familiar feel with a glamorous new co-host, Melanie Stace.
In 2002 amid falling ratings the BBC decided The Generation Game had once more run it’s time and it was cancelled. In 2005 a celebrity one off entitled Generation Fame was aired, hosted by Graham Norton. It was proposed as a possible series as Norton had been mooted as a possible host for a new series, after Paul O’Grady filmed a pilot, but decided he didn’t want to host, the pilot was never screened.
At the the start of each show Jim Davidson would emerge waving at the top of the set after been introduced by voice over man. After the customary quips it was time to meet the hostess Sally Meen. Then another new twist – in a dig at Davidson’s many driving convictions contestants would be driven onto set 4 at a time in a sports car. Instead of standing as had been the case in the past they would sit on a row of stools. Driving license style cards with contestants photos appear on screen, giving the traditional details whist Sally Meen reels off some background details.
The premise of the show remained the same: people competing in hilarious games for a chance in the grand final which in series one was often based on a West End Musical and the chance to win prizes on the famous conveyor belt. Consolation prizes were jackets with the show’s logo and if you lost the final there was also a pair of tickets for a West End Show.
Series Two – Series Seven
Result – Success ! Series two went back to the original format that had proved popular. A new set, a glamorous new co host in the form of Melanie Stace, more interaction with the crew, regular guest appearances by comedian Jethro and snooker player and Big Break co – host John Virgo. Stephen Lewis made guest appearances as Games Inspector – Television, even Mr Blobby made a comeback.
New consolation prizes in the form of Quivering Blokes, leather jackets for the losers of the grand final. Some of the grand finals were hilarious with Davidson and Melanie Stace getting soaked in water and flanned. The whole show was much more relaxed and very funny.
For Jim Davidson’s final series in 2002 Melanie Stace left and was replaced by Leah Christensen.
Original Transmission: 1995 – 2002