House of Games (1)



Mike McClean


Sid Waddell (commentator), Lucy Arrowsmith (fitness instructor)


Zigzag for Challenge, 2 to 23 August 2004 (16 episodes in 1 series)


The show is set in a "typical" family house. It's so typical that it looks remarkably like the house from Channel 5's Back to Reality. Mike McClean hosts the show, he has the looks of Harry Enfield's creation Smashie (or was it Nicey?), and he has the cheese factor and the cliches of Alan Partridge. He's joined for commentary by Sid Waddell, formerly of the darts and at least one episode of one of the lottery shows. Lucy Arrowsmith, a fitness instructor, is also involved.

File:Houseofgames team.jpg"I'm telling you, it's Smashie. Or is it Nicey?"

The events are loosely based on genuine sporting events, but with a slight and subtle twist. Actually, that's not quite correct. The twist is large and not at all subtle. All the games are played using household equipment.

File:Houseofgames curling.jpgSeriously, why isn't all curling like this?

For instance, rather than having a weightlift using weights, the weightlifting event is played using a broom-handle and plates. The swimming takes place in the garden pool, while the cycling uses children's bicycles in the garden. Plant pots are putted, rather than heavy metal balls, while the ski-jump takes place on the stair banister. The final event is the obstacle course relay, where the usual metal baton is replaced by a rolling pin. And so it goes. Each show features four different games from a selection of about ten, meaning that there isn't too much repetition between the episodes.

File:Houseofgames pool.jpgThis is roughly our standard.

Perhaps the closest comparison is with Channel 5's International King of Sports. That show also took the standard sporting events, but presented them with a twist. Then, the twist was the unusual nature of events - the hopping hurdles, or the standing high jump, using regular equipment. Now, the events are usual, but the apparatus has changed.

File:Houseofgames shed.jpgA gnome.

In the final analysis, House of Games is light, fluffy entertainment, it doesn't take itself at all seriously, and every show ends with a very good sight-joke during the closing credits.

Theme music

Paul Farrer

Web links

Bother's Bar Review

See also

Weaver's Week review


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