The Beeb’s answer to Bad Influence

‘Game Talk’ was the quick-fire computer and video game segment that featured as part of the magazine format, Saturday morning kid’s show, Going Live! (while I was quite fond of it, the exclamation point is part of the title, honest).

[One of these characters is Philip Schofield. Go on, guess.]

That said, Going Live!’s greatest contribution to planet earth was launching the career of Gordon the Gopher, and surely that alone is worth several exclamation marks!!!

The mushrooming adoption of gaming at the time hadn’t gone unnoticed by the show’s editor, Chris Bellinger, who felt that to stay current, Going Live! needed to mirror kid’s interests. Hence, in October 1992, the inaugural episode of the monthly Game Talk slot – produced by Joe Goodwin – aired to a highly receptive audience. The extraordinarily popular GamesMaster had already been running since January by this stage so it was hardly much of a gamble to be fair.

The show incorporated interviews with industry insiders, previews, reviews and commentary, and was hosted by the perennially good-humoured Andi Peters, who is perhaps best remembered for starring alongside Edd the Duck in ‘The Broom Cupboard’. He has since gone on to become a producer, journalist and voice-over actor, in addition to pursuing less wildfowl-oriented presenting roles.

In his most ‘out of the blue’ career deviation to date, off the back of an extremely buff appearance on the cover of Men’s Health magazine in September 2007, he became a gay pin-up icon (*shrug* I have no idea if he is or isn’t), and founded ‘Andi Peter’s Models’ to supply British muscle-rippled pretty people to the fitness industry. See if you can guess from the photos which one I am.

“We don’t have any turkeys on Game Talk, only hedgehogs and plumbers.”

Andi considered himself to be a “big gamer” before he was drafted in as Game Talk’s anchor so had no qualms mustering enthusiasm for the subject matter, and even prided himself on his outspoken approach to journalism (keeping in mind the segment was broadcast in a time slot as ‘pre-watershed’ as you could get).

“When I’m slagging a game off you don’t know I’m slagging it off. I mean, let’s take Lemmings, for God’s sake – I’d rather watch the repeats of Eldorado.”

The show’s most notable claim to fame was being the first to unveil the Sega Mega CD. Although Andi definitively uses the ‘ever’ word, I imagine this accolade was restricted to British or European TV seeing as the console add-on had already been in use in Japan for ten months by this juncture. The Japanese had TVs in 1991, right? 😉

[Those stitches in his neck are almost invisible. The wonders of modern plastic surgery never cease to amaze me!]

When Going Live! was succeeded by Live and Kicking in 1993, Andi was promoted to become one of the main hosts. The following year his video games segment was absorbed into the movies and showbiz ‘Electric Circus’ item presented by a variety of minor celebs.

Andi’s stint with Live and Kicking lasted for three years, at which point he left to focus on a topical music news show called ‘The Noise’.

Personally my most resilient memories of Game Talk revolve around its ‘Game Exchange‘ service, most likely because this is an aspect of the industry that has long since died out on a one to one basis.

Explaining a concept so simple it probably doesn’t call for explanation, viewers would write in to the show (via snail mail on a stamped postcard no less!) with details of the games they own, and the titles they’d like to swap them for. Andi (or his backroom staff at least) would pair up any correlating matches and make the arrangements for the games to change hands.

It was an anachronistic throwback even then, given that second-hand game shops weren’t exactly an endangered species. I know I had an independent one on my doorstep when I lived 5 miles outside of Manchester’s city centre.

Amiga Power towards the end of its run (when the team were grateful for any filler material they could lay their idle hands on) plugged the same gap towards the back of the magazine, alongside a pen pal and goods for sale column.

[Maybe Anthony and Samantha should have written to each other. They’d have saved the price of a stamp what with living in the same house!]

I’ve since tried offering my palship services to some of these lonely Amigans via the magic of Facebook – sadly none of them have taken up my offer so far. You don’t think I’ve left it too late, do you?

2 thoughts on “The Beeb’s answer to Bad Influence

  • February 2, 2017 at 3:55 am
    Permalink

    Now you're poking the old memory box. I'd completely forgotten about that one! I think it was on at the same time as GM and BI so didn't have a hope in hell of gaining much traction. I've got to check out what's on YouTube now.

Leave a Reply