TV

OPINION: Did the BBC slash The Generation Game to two episodes after realising it’s dreadful?

Classic BBC1 gameshow returned on Easter Sunday

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Just a few minutes into The Generation Game, with Mel and Sue, and all became clear why the BBC decided to slash its revival to just two episodes.

They must have taken one look and come to the only obvious conclusion: it’s dreadful.

The best thing I can say about it is that it’s like the 1970s have never gone away.

The worst thing? It’s like the 1970s have never gone away.

Contestant Lyndsey struggles with her sausages (Credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

We may have collectively lapped up fun games such as plate-spinning, clay-throwing and dodgy dancing in comedy costumes back in the day, but TV has evolved and, sadly, this game-show dinosaur is a dusty relic.

And I say that with the uncomfortable knowledge that The Only Way Is Essex and all those other woeful “structured reality” shows it spawned have become a staple of modern-day television.

Read more: Will Mel and Sue prove Jim Davidson wrong on BBC’s rebooted Generation Game?

Speaking of which, Towie’s Arg and Gemma Collins, who network execs remain baffingly convinced have something to bring to the party, made a cameo appearance, along with 70s throwback Basil Brush and 80s throwback Martin Kemp.

Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp (Credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Plus, guest expert demonstrators “sausage-making sensation Gary McClure” , “the world’s greatest plate-spinner” and comedian Johnny Vegas who, to be fair to him, has a third-class degree in pottery.

All the laughs rested on phallic symbols (gripping bangers suggestively and moulding clay teapot handles).

Just call it Carry On Generation Game and be done with it.

The brutal truth is we’re not in the 1970s any more, a fact driven home by the fact that, in the “no win, no fee” litigation era, contestants can no longer even spin plates without being made to wear health-and-safety goggles.

Contestant Sue spins plates (Credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

If the games were ropey, the jokes, from writers with such prestigious credits as Don’t Scare The Hare and Lip Sync Battle UK, were awfully clunky.

Exhibit A, Mel Giedroyc: “Backstage we’ve got tons of family pairs, from sons and mothers, uncles and nieces, to second cousins twice removed.”

Sue Perkins: “Well, they WERE just cousins but we had them removed — twice.” (Boom-boom.)

Sir Bruce Forsyth they ain’t, although it doesn’t look like the BBC is going to abandon its conviction that this pair have a glittering primetime future outside of the Bake Off tent, a belief that no one has satisfactorily explained to me.

Mel and Sue watch Johnny’s pottery class (Credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Almost unforgivably, Mel’s habit of condensing the names of TV shows (“The Gen Game”) spread to Sue and the celebrity panel of Richard Osman and Lorraine Kelly, who was “looking forward to being entertained”.

She had more hope of that if she’d stayed home and tuned in to Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away over on Channel 5.

More unforgivably, though, the winning contestants actually managed to forget the show’s USP, the cuddly toy, during the conveyor belt prize round. Sacrilege, frankly.

Gary McClure demonstrates sausage-making (Credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

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But it was Pointless co-host Richard who had me worrying most when he said after the Spanish holiday-themed Club Tropicana round: “It makes you wonder why they cancelled Eldorado, doesn’t it.”

For the love of all that’s good and pure, Richard, don’t give the BBC any more bad ideas.