Welcome to the second instalment of my interview with Mark Humphries. And when I left off last week, Mark and I were discussing how the relationship between TV shows and their audiences has changed; how, if you didn’t like a show back in the 90s, you weren’t able to just ring up the host and tell them so!
SH: Yes, thinking about watching TV back then, it’s such a foreign idea, isn’t it? Not only to have the ability to provide that instant feedback… but to have the audacity and entitlement to want to provide – and not hesitate in providing – that instant feedback
MH: Yeah! But I came to accept that when you’re part of someone’s routine, and you are in their home… you are, weirdly, a very distant family member; you’re part of the furniture. And people get familiar with certain people and then that’s taken away from them. I do get it. But I also think there’s something to be said for reining in your rage, and targeting the right people…
SH: Yes – sometimes ideas should just remain ideas.
MH: (LAUGHING) There should be a cooling off period with tweets! Okay, so you’ve written a tweet, now maybe walk away for 10 minutes, have a think about it, and if you still want to send it… then go for it!
SH: Speaking of ‘being part of the furniture’, when you were growing up, were there game shows that you loved and always tuned into?
SH: Absolutely. I loved $ale of the Century. I used to watch John Burgess on Wheel of Fortune, and I clearly remember when John stopped hosting it and it was taken over by Tony Barber. And I remember I also used to watch Tony on Australian Jeopardy, which I really enjoyed. But speaking of John Burgess, I remember a couple of other milestones; firstly of course when he went and started doing Catch Phrase and changed from being known as “Baby John Burgess” to being known as “Burgo”… and also he shaved off his moustache. Monumental changes! I remember it being quite earth-shattering at the time. And I used to watch Burgo’s Catch Phrase, and it was quite clear that they ran out of actual catchphrases after about four nights. And it ended up just being “objects” or “words” or “things you might say”. And I also watched Burgo’s Pass The Buck.
SH: Pass The Buck? I’d forgotten that one. That it didn’t last very long, did it?
MH: I think that only lasted a season or so. I also had very fond memories of (host) Rob Brough’s curls on Family Feud…
Then later of course it was hosted by John Deeks. I used to love Larry on The Price Is Right… Now that I think about it, I watched a heck of a lot of game shows!
SH: Yeah, you did!
SH: You watched Shafted? Really?
MH: (LAUGHING) Yes, I watched Shafted. I was actually speaking about Shafted yesterday, after not having spoken about it for years. That show would just not fly today. Did you watch it? Do you remember it at all?
SH: Watch it? I wrote it!
SH: Yes, yes – I worked on Shafted for the ENTIRE six weeks. That was an early job; writing questions and little gags for Red. There will be a blog post about that whole adventure here at a later date, but I haven’t got around to writing it yet. But I must confess, I’m surprised that anybody remembers Shafted.
MH: Oh, I remember it well, and one of the things that stood out about it was that I don’t think you could do that show today, because of the element of betrayal that occurs in the final round. I think people would go absolutely ape**** on social media, and would find the contestants and track them down… there’d be so much online bullying of anyone who had lied in that final section. I mean, I thought it was a great concept, and also quite anxiety-inducing. I felt quite sick each time someone shafted another person. But I just think that today people would be absolutely destroyed by the response to it.
SH: Mm, fair point.
MH: And I was actually on a quiz show –
SH: Oh, brilliant – that was my next question!
… But you’ll have to wait until next week to hear the answer!
I was just about to write “Sorry for being such a tease”… but then I thought ‘Nah’; you know the drill; that’s just what I do here.
Until then, remember that you can follow Mark on Twitter.
… Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter too, if you feel like it.
Until next week, then!