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Fun House

The real wacky show where anything will go, Fun House was a British children’s game show produced by Scottish Television and based on the American show that aired on CITV from 24 February 1989 to 29 December 1999.  It was hosted by Pat Sharp, replete with his trademark mullet, who was also aided by twin cheerleaders, Melanie Grant supporting the red team and Martina Grant supporting the yellow team. Pat Sharp had a very busy 1980s. From his pop career with Pat & Mick, scoring hits such as “I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet” and “Let’s All Chant” to hosting this children’s quiz show. (The other guy who was up for it was John Leslie!)

Each episode featured 2 teams each consisting of a boy and girl representing schools from around the UK. There were 3 rounds in each episode.

Round One

The opening games were referred to as messy games and typically used gunge as opposed to food. One game would be for the two boys, another game for the two girls and a third game for all four players, though the order would vary from episode to episode. In later series occasionally all games would be for all four players. One of the three games would be a “key game”, in which the losing team would get the same points as their score in that game. As in the original American version, a question would follow each game, to the value of 25 points if answered correctly.

Round 2 (The Fun Kart Grand Prix)

 The Grand Prix was run in red and yellow coloured go-karts and lasted for two (later three) laps. Teams race round the track picking up tokens to add to their score, alternating drivers with each lap. The first lap was for “10” tokens for 10 points, the second for “25” tokens for 25 points, plus 25 points for winning the race. Tokens that ended up on the floor were null and void. The tokens were later dropped into appropriately coloured boxes and added to the team’s current score.

Round 3 (The Fun House)

In the UK version of the show, to actually win the power prize, they not only had to grab the tag, they also had to answer one question (often multi-parted) correctly within 10 seconds. Also, the only prizes in the Fun House were non-monetary because of a law in Europe stating that children cannot win money on game shows. 

Fun House obstacles were as follows…

Wild slide – A very steep and fast tube slide (Series 4–11)

  • Sneaky slip ‘n’ slide – Another tube slide opposite the wild slide but less steep and fast. (Series 4–9)
  • Skelter Belter – A helter-skelter like slide which leads to the bottom ball pool of the Fun House (Series 4–7)
  • The flying fox – A zip line which went from one end of the fun house to the other (Series 4–11)
  • The ball run – A long ball pit at the back of the fun house (Series 4–11)
  • Fireman’s pole – A long pole similar to a fireman’s pole to slide down from the top of the fun house to the bottom. (Series 4–11)
  • Crawl tube – A big plastic tube to crawl through. (Renamed the Tumbling Tube) (Series 4–11)
  • Balloon Tunnel – A tunnel filled with balloons (Series 1–11)
  • Monster Maze – An area at the front of the fun house filled with monsters (Series 4–9)
  • The bob sleigh – A bob sleigh which goes down a large slide from the top of the fun house which leads to the sneaky slip ‘n’ slide. (Series 4–11)
  • The danger net – A net bridge which leads to the wild slide. (Series 4–11)
  • Hole in the wall – A wall with holes in, the tag hides behind one of the holes (Series 5 only)
  • The Crazy Cuckoo – A giant birdhouse with a green bird puppet inside (Series 6 only)
  • Machine Room – A room full of cartwheels, where the prize tag hides in one of the petals of one of the cartwheels. (Series 6 only)
  • Angular triangular – A box with two triangle-shaped spinning shelves inside (Series 8 only)
  • The turning twister – A box, oppose to Angular Triangular, with spinning circles (Series 8 only)
  • Connections Wall – A wall with snakes inside, and the player had to make the right connection to that snake in order to grab the tag (Series 6 only)
  • Magic curtain – A foam rubber curtain which you could walk through (Series 8 only)
  • The trash cans – 3 rubbish bins filled with rubbish, the tag is hidden inside one of them. (Series 5 only)
  • The bully – A giant head of a bully with giant teeth, you have to punch his teeth to get the tag. (Series 5 only)
  • The tall tower – Very large tower with a ladder to climb up (Series 10–11)
  • Snakes in a box – A box filled with snakes. (Series 9–11)
  • Jungle Jump – The fireman’s pole in the 7th series with jungle like tree leaves on it (Series 7 only)
  • The A frame – A climbing frame in the shape of a capital A (Series 9–11)
  • The sunken well – 4 long narrow tubes with ropes inside, the tag is attached to one of them (Series 10–11)
  • The climbing net – A net to climb up (Renamed the Net Ladder in earlier versions) (Series 4–11)
  • The big leap – A big fireman’s pole (Series 10 only)
  • Stone faces – Hawaiian like stones with holes in their mouths, and the player had to punch out the right hole of that stone face to grab the tag (Series 7 only)
  • The giant steps – A giant staircase (Series 8–11)
  • Gong crazy! – A large box with a polystyrene gong at the front, smash it open to get the tag. (Series 9 only)
  • Pullovers – An closet like area full of long sleeved Clothes with a tag hidden in one of the sleeves of that cloth (Series 7 only)
  • Hungry Burgers – An area with 2 cheeseburgers, and one of the burgers has the tag hidden somewhere in its patty (Series 7 only)
  • The big drop – A zip-line seat built to carry the player from the top of the Fun House to the bottom ball pool (Series 11 only)

Now after 16 fun-less years the ITV children’s game show is set to make a minor comeback, with original cast members Pat Sharp, along with twins Melanie and Martina Grant, returning as hosts. Family pub and restaurant brand Fayre & Square has teamed up with children’s play centre Wacky Warehouse to bring back the 90’s TV sensation for one day only. The event won’t be televised but who knows maybe it will catch on and we’ll all get a chance to “Re-run the Fun!”

 

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Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

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