Coming soon, from The Land Of The Maple Leaf…

Hello, and Happy Tuesday to you! I have some cool news to share with you this week, by way of a welcome visit from our favourite Canadian guest blogger.

Serial game show contestant and aficionado Ryan Vickers has been a great friend of for ages now, having written loads of great guest posts for the site since August 2017. You can find a choice selection of Ryan’s game show-related adventures right HERE.

It was Ryan who first alerted me to the fascinating series The Search For Canada’s Game Shows, (which you can watch at

Ryan appeared in the first series of this show, and since then, he’s developed a real rapport with its producers. Could that possibly, conceivably, somehow have a little something to do with Ryan’s return today?


Let’s see, shall we? Take it away, Ryan…


O Canada! O Game Shows! Season Two!
(Yes, I’m paraphrasing Stephen’s great title from last year!)*

Hi there friends! It’s guest blogger Ryan Vickers speaking to you from slightly-getting-warmer Canada.

I wanted to share with you that The Search for Canada’s Game Shows is back on GameTV here in Canada later this month! We are rolling out a three-night premiere with all-new episodes on March 29th, 30th and 31st (and an early shout out… Happy Birthday Mom!)

Our first season focused on the origins of Canadian game shows up until the turn of the 21st century. Our second season looks at more recent Canadian game show activity and the focus on more competitive shows that have taken over the prime-time airwaves here in The Great White North. We’ll explore shows created in Canada and how they’ve evolved; the proliferation of shows that have food as their centrepiece; the progression of prizes; the role of comedy and comedians in game shows and the future of game shows here.

I look forward to sharing some neat facts about Season Two after it airs; but for now, I also need to let you know that you can catch the show at the end of March (concurrently with the television broadcast) if you don’t live in Canada – all episodes will be available for viewing at In fact, you can pop over there right now and see interview segments from this season’s episodes, as well as sneak previews of each episode in Season Two!

I hope you enjoy!



Thanks very much for the heads-up, Ryan – I’m really looking forward to the new season, and to hearing more about it from your good self. 

But hey, Ryan shouldn’t have to do all the heavy lifting in the guest post department. If you – yes, YOU! the person reading this right now – ever feel inclined to write a guest post for the site, I’m always open to suggestions. It can be autobiographical, it can be behind-the-scenes info, it can be analysis or opinion…. as long as it’s game show-related, I’ll consider it. So, if you think you may have something to offer, something that I can help share with a wider audience, just email me at You never know where it may lead!

I’ll see you next time, and yes… Happy Birthday, Mrs Vickers (Ryan’s mum). 

* Aw, shucks, Ryan… – SH

Announcing my first EXCLUSIVE interview for 2021!

Hello! Just a quick update today, to let you know I’ve secured my first exclusive interview for 2021… and it’s a Biggie! I’m really pleased to have booked a chat with a man whose vast experience in the game show industry is simply incredible. He’s held a variety of powerful positions behind the scenes, in a career that spans decades. He’s brought loads of the world’s biggest hit game shows to our screens and – on a personal note – he’s also been a great mentor to me, teaching me an awful lot along the way.

Thank you, Fry – I’m pretty sure it will be. There’s a lot for us to discuss, so I’m sure our chat will run over several weeks here on the site. And it’ll all be kicking off soon, right here at!


We’re eight.

Today, is 8 years old! How about that – who would have thought?

Probably not me. Back in 2013, when I posted the first-ever entry here, entitled Well, here goes!, I had no idea if this concept could possibly sustain a regular blog. I remember how nervous I felt as I set up the site, and how vulnerable I felt when I finally hit that “Post” button for the first time. This silly little idea of mine was now OUT IN THE WORLD. This was all new to me, and exciting – I liked the idea of a blog on this subject as a fun little hobby. I’d spent a bit of time on an online blogging course. Game show tips, information and stories was a ‘niche market’, as they say, but I figured I had nothing to lose. I knew a few people who’d been on game shows, I knew a few people who worked in the industry; maybe they’d chat to me, and this could be a place where we could share their stories, tips and hints with a wider audience. I’d share my stories, my tips and hints too, of course, and maybe some future contestant, somewhere out there, might find some of it useful. Worst-case scenario, it’d fizzle out, and I could look back on it as a fun little experiment.

But it didn’t fizzle out.

A year after that first post, the blog celebrated its first birthday. 52 weeks after that was birthday number 2. Another 365 days passed, and suddenly the site was three years old. March 14th 2017 saw the site turn four, and 12 months after that it was five – well, you get the idea.

For a long time, I thought I had to post every week, no matter what. Not sure why I thought that – some weeks there’s naturally more content than other weeks. A streak of stubbornness, I suppose. I’ve mellowed a bit now, and my policy is to post when I have something (hopefully) interesting to share with you.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for your feedback, your contributions, and, as always, your support.



“You are The Weakest Link.” Hello.

Hello. You may remember that a few weeks ago, I let you know about auditions (here in Victoria) for a new BBC quiz show called Quizical.

This brand new, unseen, unheard-of show, appearing out of the blue sparked a lot of questions… and quite a few rumours. Was Quizical in fact a code name for the reboot of another, more well-known quiz show?

Well, yes. Yes, it was.

It’s recently been revealed that the show in question is the classic The Weakest Link, (or, more accurately, Weakest Link, judging by the new logo), hosted this time around by Magda Szubanski.

So, if this is your cup of tea (and now that we know what we’re dealing with)… you can still apply to be on the show! The application page is right here (still at the old Quizical URL)…

I suspect they might take a tip or two from the recent US reboot of the show, hosted by Jane Lynch but of course, all that remains to be seen. The great news is that here in Australia, it’s not too late to apply! So if you’d like to test your knowledge and go up against Magda (and your fellow contestants) why not click on the link below, to start the process of finding out whether

You Are The Weakest Link.


Normal Service Has Now Been Resumed.

Yes, yes. Bender Bending Rodriguez (Bending Unit 22, Unit Number 1729, Serial Number 2716057) is right.

Mark Zuckerberg has finally, FINALLY come to his senses and restored all the posts to the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page.

I bet he was probably having sleepless nights. It must have taken a heavy toll on old MZ. He had to eventually crack; I mean, he’s only human. I bet he woke up screaming yesterday, simply unable to bear any more of the crushing, soul-deadening, bone-aching sheer MORTIFICATION

of mildly inconveniencing the 82 people who follow it.

Oh, and I guess perhaps the 11th hour deal with the Australian government and various media organisations might have had something to do with it, too.

Either way, the HTWGS Facebook page is now BACK, so you can triumphantly go there and get all the latest HTWGS news that’s just directly copied off this blog anyway…

The news that also automatically pops up on Twitter and LinkedIn as soon as it pops up here…


What was I worried about again?

Hmmm… I don’t think I’m too happy about this.

Hello, just a quick one today to let you know that Facebook seems to have removed all of my posts from the Facebook page.


It looks like they’ve decided I fall under the category of “Australian News”, and so… that’s it. Nearly 8 years’ worth of posts over there just… suddenly… gone. I guess the Facebook posts were mainly just duplicates of the information here, and it’s not as if the page has TONS of followers, but it still made me sit up and take notice. Am I, technically, “Australian news”? Maybe I am.

But am I, though?

This ongoing stoush between Facebook and the Australian media (and government) does seem to keep evolving and changing, so I’ll monitor developments and keep you updated.

What do you think? Should be part of Facebook’s blanket ban on Australian news? Is what they’ve done fair enough?

Or is it another classic example of Zuckerberg Overreach*?

Please let me know – either in the comments here, or over on Twitter. I’d love to know what you reckon!


* Zuckerberg Overreach = overenthusiastic censorship, NOT an obscure amateur mountain-climbing maneuver.

Contestants wanted for a new quiz show!


Hey, if you’re in Melbourne, there’s a new quiz show coming up that’s looking for contestants right now! They’ll be shooting the show – Quizical – in April and May, but details about the show are a little vague at this stage. It’s being made by BBC Studios Australia, and they’re looking for “individuals who aren’t afraid to have some fun, have a friendly but competitive nature and who can answer quiz questions or have a good time trying. The only thing we ask you to bring is a positive attitude and be ready to have some laughs.”

Applications are open until April 9th, and you can apply RIGHT HERE.

… And the very best of luck to you!

Now, here’s a great new podcast!

Hello! Just a quick post this week to heartily, heartily recommend a new podcast created by two young friends of mine; the brilliant comedy writers and performers Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall.

It’s called The Pop Test, and if you’re in Australia, you can listen to it on ABC Radio National, and if you’re anywhere else in the world, you can listen to it as a podcast. (You can listen to it as a podcast if you’re Australia too, obvs.)

The Pop Test is a fast-paced – and very funny – half-hour quiz show covering various subjects in science. The questions are difficult and often abstruse, but Andy and Alasdair’s brilliant gag-writing and improvisation make the time fly by, and there are always a lot of laughs to be had. Each week, they welcome a different group of comedians, and a lot of the fun comes from listening to these guests struggle to answer the tricky, esoteric questions – or at least come up with amusing bluffs or tangents.

I suspect this is very much an ‘iceberg show’ – I’d estimate that nine-tenths of the work is below the surface. The breezy half-hour swings by so quickly that you don’t always realise just how thoughtful, surprising and expertly crafted Andy and Alasdair’s jokes are. The way they formulate the questions, the way they reveal the answers, the way they introduce the players and the way they explain the game… if you listen carefully, you’ll realise just how well written these elements are. You’re never more than a couple of seconds away from a really clever gag. And when you add the hosts’ great improvisational skills, and that panel of funny people in the contestants’ seats, you’re onto a real winner!

So there you go. The Pop Test; on ABC Radio National, or wherever you get your podcasts. Do yourself a favour. Along the way, you might even learn a thing or two about science that could serve you well in future quizzes…

Aaaand that’s it for this week. (I told you it was a quick post.)

See you next time!

A free eBook for you?

Quite possibly, my friend… quite possibly!

The cover of my debut novel ‘Symphony Under Siege’!

If you’re in the US or Canada, and you’d like to get your hands on a free eBook copy of my novel Symphony Under Siege, I’m running a GoodReads Giveaway where I’m giving away 100 copies. Winners will be drawn at random on February 5th, and all the details are right here…..

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Symphony Under Siege by Stephen Hall

Symphony Under Siege

by Stephen Hall

Giveaway ends February 05, 2021.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Thanks for your time, and I’ll be back next time with proper game show-related news (I promise).

Oh, and one more thing, 007…

Good luck.


What can we say about 2020? Well, to quote my favourite self-published author*…

Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed – and will continue to change – Everything As We Know It. But I’m not going to talk about that here today; you can read more about that…

Well, pretty much everywhere, as it turns out.

As I look back over the year here at, I see there were a few wins…


What I DIDN’T do in 2020 was finish my second, more autobiographical eBook: Tales From The Shiny Floor. I’m so sorry about that. I know I promised it ages ago. Next year, for sure.

I’m afraid that this year, all my authoring and self-publishing energy was devoted to getting my first novel Symphony Under Siege out into the world. But now that’s done, and out there, I can turn my attention to delivering on my promise to you.

And speaking of Promise… I hope that, wherever you are, 2021 fulfils its promise to you.

I hope it’s a safer, saner, healthier and kinder year than 2020. In short, I hope that 2021 is better than 2020. (Let’s face it – it couldn’t be much worse…)

But whatever 2021 may bring, I’d just like to take this opportunity now to thank you so much once again for your support of this site, and wish you and yours a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

See you next year!


* Did you know that Charles Dickens actually self-published A Christmas Carol (one of his biggest hits)?

Well, he did. And I’ve always found that fact (along with the fact that he wrote most of his novels in serialised form, publishing the chapters in monthly magazines before officially publishing the full bound volumes) profoundly inspirational.

(Because… you know… that’s what I did.)