Today is brought to you by the letter…I

It’s day 10 in the Big Blog challenge. (Yes, I may well have typed that in the style of Mar’us Bentley of Big Brother Voice over fame!)

Anyway, I’m back at work tomorrow, and behind on my Sunday evening back to school regime, so I really will make this one a short one today. But for the letter I we have a real blast from the past, one many people may even have forgotten existed.

Today I is for…

Interceptor!

No, no not THE Interceptor, just Interceptor; the 1989 Treasure Hunt style show hosted by Annabel Croft.

Surprisingly, and I had no idea until I did some research, there were only ever eight episodes of Interceptor made and one series aired in 1989 when I would have been 13. I thought it was on for years and years! Evidently not.

Anyway, Interceptor was a game show, kind of like Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt. However,  instead of two people solving clues and being all intelligent, reading maps in a studio whilst a ‘sky-runner’ (Anneka Rice or Annabel Croft)  zipped in and out of a helicopter trying to find the next clue, leading finally to the treasure and the £1000 prize cheque, in Interceptor it was the contestants who had to do the running around from place to place. Much fairer I’d say.

The Interceptor (Sean O’Kane) and Annabel Croft

In Interceptor Croft was no longer the runner, as I say, instead it would be her making radio contact with the two contestants to help them reach each other.

At the start of each show the two contestants would be dropped off at different locations from each other via helicopter. Each wore a very cumbersome looking back pack with  five infra red circles on the back. Locked in one back pack was £1000 in cash, whereas the other was empty. The contestants didn’t know who had which. The aim was then to find each other’s key to the backpack (hidden somewhere) and then meet up with each other within 40 minutes. Very much like Treasure Hunt, but…

This had a twist…and the reason no doubt why I liked this quite silly game show. In this one the contestants had to avoid the Interceptor, a ridiculous pantomime villain dressed from head to toe in black leather, whose job it was, oddly enough, to intercept the contestants. He would do this by zapping their backpacks with this infra red gun. If his ‘gun’ hit one of the circles on the back pack it would lock it and the key, even if found, wouldn’t work and the contestants wouldn’t win the cash.

One of the ‘backpacks’ but did this one contain £1000 cash? 

Wow! What a concept! Really quite cool if you think about it. I mean what is there these days that compares? Everything’s done in a studio with soft play mats. The funniest thing about the show of course was the Interceptor himself. He was ridiculous, swooshing about in his long black coat out as though he were an evil cartoon villain spreading his cloak and evilness about. He made silly screeching noises and jumped out on the contestants just as they thought they were getting somewhere. It was so funny, and ridiculous (though I suspect quiet scary for anyone who came across him during filming!) Especially tense and hilarious was the fact he and the contestants would often have to commandeer any old transport they could possibly get their hands on, though the Interceptor, I recall, had his own cool looking black motorbike and his own helicopter.

And that was pretty much it. Like Treasure Hunt there were helicopters involved. They really did spend a lot of money on game shows in the 1980s, didn’t they? Perhaps why it never made a second series as the recession of the early ’90s hit. Or maybe it just wasn’t quite as good as Treasure Hunt!  Hmmmmmmmmm?

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