“Millionaire” and “Blockbusters” Returns to UK TV Today
It’s a pretty exciting week for our UK readers and for game shows in general. Two shows are returning; one after a short break and one after a long celebrity run.
First, Challenge’s Blockbusters returns after a few weeks off tonight at 8:00PM UK (3:00PM ET). This series will air the final twenty episodes of the first 40 episode batch. Starting off this series is a celebrity match including Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, Fatima Whitbread, Keith Duffy, Alex James and Konnie Huq. Last series two groups, one solo and one pair, managed to become five-day champions and win the grand prize of a foreign holiday. Simon Mayo returns as host. Blockbusters returned to 250,000 viewers in May 2012.
The first series was a lot of fun and one of the more pleasant game-watching experiences in a while. It had no big frills, no tacked-on tension, and no pretensions. It was a calm and laid back throwback, and it worked well. Hoping we can see some more episodes later.
Also tonight is the return of civilian episodes of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. ITV will bring Millionaire: The People Play live tonight at 9:00PM UK (4:00PM ET). Regular people will be back in the Hot Seat playing for £1,000,000 for the first time since October 2010. This will be the first time that civilians will play live against the clock. The big new feature this series of three episodes is the live play-along game that lets people at home compete and see how they’d do in the Hot Seat. Host Chris Tarrant will, of course, be sure to mention the exceptional players. Think of it along the same lines as how The Million Pound Drop handles it. You can click here to play along from anywhere in the world.
Why do we get excited for civilian Millionaire to return? You get a much different reaction seeing a person who could genuinely use the money than a celebrity playing for charity. I’m not saying that the celebrities don’t care or that charities don’t need cash. They obviously do. But it’s a very cool thing to see someone sit in the seat and win a much-needed £20,000. It’s been a very long time since a big win. We’d love to see one.