We Love TV (But We Don't Love We Love TV!)

Basically, more or less everything about We Love TV was just plain wrong. A light-hearted quiz show about all things televisual, it ran on Friday nights on ITV between 1984 and 1986, and is sometimes described as ITV's 'answer' to Telly Addicts. If it was, then the question must have been 'how can we do a show that's essentially the same as Telly Addicts yet the exact polar opposite in terms of quality, wit, imagination, choice of archive clips and overall enjoyability?'.

We Love TV adopted the same sort of baffling yet widely-accepted 'TV=Fifties' stylistic trappings as Telly Addicts - a conceit that would doubtless appeal to mouth-frothing 'opinion-makers' now, providing they continued to enjoy blissful ignorance of the fact that for most of the fifties television was on for about three hours a day, two hours and fifty nine minutes of which were that London To Brighton On A Potter's Wheel thing followed by about three seconds of Billy Cotton introducing Neddy The Dancing Horse - with opening titles featuring Alexandra Palace-evoking newsreel-esque transmitter-based graphical antics and cut price suspiciously session musician-sounding Beverley Sisters types chirruping "No doubt about it/can't do without it - We Love TV!" over the top. It then promptly dispensed with these trappings entirely by cutting to a none-more-eighties pastel-shaded set and questions with a suspiciously heavy slant towards recent ITV big hitters. It featured two teams of ordinary everyday members of the public paired up with vaguely television-affiliated celebrities of some description, but normally this description could be summed up as 'couldn't really care that much one way or the other about anything that they're being asked questions on', leading to a memorable for all the wrong reasons incident in which a post went-to-Thames-at-the-end Ernie Wise was asked "In The A-Team, what does B.A. stand for?", and spluttered "Big 'Ead" in response. Above all, it was presented by Gloria Hunniford, who would surely have been more at home posing questions about films that are for your eyes.

We Love TV wasn't quite the worst of the surprisingly large volume of eighties entertainment/nostalgia-based quiz shows, but it came close. So, what was the worst? Well, here's a clue courtesy of a certain all-too-familiar public figure, based on a round in Ben Baker's new TV Quiz Book Remotely Interesting (which you can get from here, and which has a foreword and a bonus quiz round by me, if that helps persuade you). Answer at the end of this article...

Surprisingly, but not exactly sadly, there seems to be very little of We Love TV out there on the Internet, although the few rogue clips that have escaped feature such taxing posers as "Do you know what show J.R. was in before Dallas? And what was the surname of The Flintstones' neighbours?". Even on the basis of this fractional amount of evidence, it isn't difficult to see why nobody can really remember anything about it beyond the last couple of bars of the theme song. There is no real interaction or even sometimes correlation between the clips and the actual questions, the uneasy combination of traditional contestant who just wants to be on any game show and celebrity who just wants a couple of quid for not really having to do much results in them not really engaging with the questions or the clips, and although Gloria is a likeable and competent host, her factual summations of the question-inspiring programmes have that distinct aura of someone else's words being read off a card despite not having been written with actually being spoken in mind. More to the point, there's no real form or identity to any of the rounds. Telly Addicts on the other hand carefully selected teams of people who at least showed some competence and aspiration towards wanting to be on there, based questions directly on the fragments of archive footage, relied on quips from Noel Edmonds - both pre-prepared and spontaneous - to enliven the historical detail, and above all else took the actual quiz element entirely seriously whilst not actually taking itself seriously in any way whatsoever. The difference could not have been more marked. There was no doubt about it - we could do without it. We didn't love We Love TV.

Once a regular sight in every bargain bin in every now defunct newsagents chain, the semi-official tie-in quiz book Gloria Hunniford's TV Quiz Challenge, published in 1988 and inviting you to "take on Gloria in a 100-quiz contest of TV-viewing knowledge", was a densely-packed eye-hurting collision of all too obvious questions and weird newsprinty iconographic renderings of the likes of Paul Shane, 'Lofty' from EastEnders and the legs from the end credits of The Bill. Hilariously, you needed to score between 1700 and 2000 to 'outpoint' Gloria, though in all honesty, while probably nobody has ever actually made it all the way through it, this might not be as difficult as all that. For example, there's a round on shows with four main characters that asks you to name all of The A-Team. Well, that's easy - Hannibal, Murdoch, Face and Big Ad.

The answer to the presidential poser was A Question Of Entertainment, a deservedly forgotten BBC1 one-series wonder from 1988 in which a group of severely mismatched celebrities sat on a semi-circular couch and steadfastly refused to acknowledge anything that host Tom O'Connor said to them. If you're looking for a better kind of television quiz, here's that link for Remotely Interesting again...