G-g-g-go! How many people reading this that are now in their late 40’s/early 50’s remember that famous catchphrase? It was used by Mike Reid on the popular kids’ game-show: Runaround.
Runaround had started life in the USA in 1972. It first hit UK TV screens in 1975, becoming far more successful than it’s American counterpart. The show would run for twelve series clocking up a mammoth one hundred episodes along the way.
During it’s run the show had three presenters: Leslie Crowther, Mike Reid and Stan Boardman. The latter two hosts of course were among the stars of ‘The Comedians.’ Kids’ favourite Metal Mickey made his TV debut on Runaround.
In 1981 Southern lost their ITV franchise and the show came to an end. However, a spin off from Runaround called Poparound managed two series from 1985. The Runaround game was incorporated into the two seasons of the short-lived ITV Saturday morning show Saturday Banana, hosted by Bill Oddie from 1978.
Ten children from two schools (five from each school). There would be the usual questions: name, age, where from, hobbies and interests. Then it was into the game.
The host would read out a general knowledge question, to which there were three answers offered on panels at the back of the studio. He would then say “G-g-g-g-go!!”, which meant that the kids could run from their little semi-circular home base across to one of three big circles on the floor.
Having made their choice, they would have a couple of seconds (at the most) to “Runaround” by leaping into one of the adjacent circles should they wish to do so.
Whilst they ‘Runaround’ the lights would dim right down and the correct answer was then revealed by the appropriate arrow lighting up. This was coupled with an almighty computer-ish sound effect which said the correct answer.
Right answers gained you one point (indicated by a yellow ball), unless you were the only person in the correct circle (in which case you got a red, two-point ball).
A wrong answer meant you had to go into the dungeon and stay there until only one child was left. The balls were placed in clear tubes beside each contestant’s semi-circular pod.
Apart from the Q&A’s, there would be special guests to either do a little performance (e.g. a Chinese Dragon troupe) or show off a whizzy bit of kit (sports cars etc.) Further questions would be based around what you’d just seen.
At the end of the game, the balls would be counted up, and the child with the most was given first choice at the prize stand (usually the star prize of a bike or some such).
Mike Reid, 1975 – 1976 and 1978 – 1981
Leslie Crowther, 1977
Stan Boardman, 1977 – 1978
Created By: Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley
Produced By: Southern Teleivsion for ITV
Original Transmission Dates: 2nd September 1975 – 7th September 1981
Of the one hundred episodes made only 33 still exist.