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Monday 21st September, 2020

Bizarre Thought for the Week, w/c 14th May 2007
Tony Dobson

Hi all,
What I really wanted to do this week was a review of the classic quiz "Going for Gold". However unfortunately when I was off last week I had an unpleasant surprise. Out of all the channels available on Sky it wasn't on!

Not on UK Gold, not on Challenge, not anywhere else that I could think that it might pop up on. Still, the show provided enough memories - why not work from them?

Herer gprs... (sorry, I'll return to typing without crossing my fingers)

Memory no. 1 - The Theme Music
Cheesy titles, late 1980s graphics, all the gold moving towards each other to reveal the title "Going for Gold" and then the music really kicked in. Doesn't everyone know the words?

"The heat is on, the time is right,
It's time for you, for you to play the game.
'Cause people are coming, everyone's trying,
Trying to be the best that they can,
When they're going for... going for... Gold."

Enough to make you squirm that you recognise it, isn't it? Needless to say I had to search on YouTube for it, where I discovered two things:

i) The contestants waving was as awkward and force as I remembered (only "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" has come close to matching it), and,
ii) Apparently the theme music wasn't just written for the show. It exists as a full song, with more than one verse. This was actually too horrendous for me to contemplate and I couldn't click on the link for fear of being emotionally scarred, but it is there if you want to look for it yourself.

Memory no. 2 - The language barrier
Maybe it is just my recollection of it, but it seemed that every time they got to the final show of the week most of the contestants through to the final stages were from the British Isles. Let's be honest, if there was a European quiz show that was filmed for French, German or Spanish television would we expect British contestants to do well? Of course not, because the competition not being in our natural language puts us at a disadvantage!

You actually have to applaud those mainland European contestants who came over to compete, especially the ones who did well. I'm sure enough of the British contestants had difficulty understanding Henry Kelly, so who knows what the mainland European contestants thought of him.

Memory no. 3 - The host
Of course never mind what the contestants thought of Henry Kelly. To those of us watching he seemed genuine, jovial, pleasant and behind each and every one of the contestants. He always seemed to be immaculately attired and a hair was never out of place.

That's isn't to say he was perfect. Every time he began a question with the words, "Who am I?" I would have to be a juvenile and say, "You're Henry Kelly." It still seems worth saying today, nearly twenty years after the show first graced lunchtime television.

And don't forget the "first round proper". How can you have a "first round proper"? Something is either a first round or it isn't. You can't have a first round and a first round proper! It's just daft.

Memory no. 4 - The big prize
Actually this only relates to the first year that the show was on, when the gold theme extended to the winner's prize. A trip to the Olympic Games... in South Korea.

Now I have nothing against Koreans, but of all the places in the world to visit would you really want to go to South Korea? I've known several friends who have travelled around the world, and while several places seem to be common among them (Australia, China and New Zealand to name just three) I've never heard of anyone going to visit South Korea for anything other than work.

And don't get me started on the Olympic Games. I think I've voiced my opinion on that more than enough times. However Seoul, South Korea stands out a bit in the following list:

Montreal, Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens.

If I went on a worldwide tour of Olympic cities of my lifetime I think Seoul would be the one where the itinerary would mention "we are only spending one day here".

(Cue masses of hate mail from domains ending .kr.)

Memory no. 5 - The plungers
Probably the overriding memory of "Going for Gold" were the plungers that contestants would press if they wanted to answer a question.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the production staff referred to these as "magic mushrooms" and apparently they were incredibly unreliable. I actually liked it when they were pressed and didn't work, although this was due to people beating them to press their own plunger and answer a question in the opening round, first round proper and the final (when players ran out of time and still plunged before realising to their frustration that they no longer had control).

As always, if there's something my memory has missed feel free to e-mail it to me via the feedback page, and I'm sure we'll feature it in the coming weeks (along with Peter Andre's acting lessons, which I don't have space to talk about this week).

Have a good week!

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