General Public

Once upon a time, the game show was the place where we saw ourselves writ large on the small screen. Members of the public would appear on game shows and do daft things and we all laughed together.

However, that seems to be a thing of the past now as most shows seem to be favouring celebrity versions… and I can’t for the life of me work out why.

Returning to our screens soon is Family Fortunes. However, it’s coming back in the All Star Family Fortunes guise, thereby making it a redundant show. One of the best things about Family Fortunes is the weird things uttered by contestants… the kind of thing only a milkman from Ipswich could come up with.

You simply wouldn’t get the answer of ‘a bicycle with wings’ for the question ‘name something that flies that doesn’t have an engine’ from a celebrity by virtue of the fact that they are just too self aware.

Shows like The X Factor have kept us on the box, but other than that, we seem to be becoming more and more absent. Come Dine With Me, Strictly Come Dancing, Ready Steady Cook and the like all prefer an established face than some person off the streets.

As such, it feels like TV is slipping away from us more than ever. Even when you look at comedy and sitcoms, there is very little in the way of new talent coming through with shows preferring to go down the route of the ’80s, with sitcoms being based on people we already recognise. Lee Mack’s appearance in Not Going Out being a classic example.

It’s worrying to think that TV is closing up the shop to those that peer in the most. Things like The Generation Game (for its sins) just don’t seem to exist anymore. Primetime television is littered with people from the exclusive club of celebrity and it’s a real shame.

I think we need to bring back the pull of The General Public (a horrible term, I know) and get them on our TV without having to audition for Simon Cowell.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1