Telly Addicts is a game show that aired on BBC1 from 3 September 1985 to 29 July 1998 and hosted by Noel Edmonds. All questions were based on television programmes past and present, and generally took the form of a short clip being shown followed by a series of questions either specifically about the clip or more generally about the programme from which it had been taken. Two teams sat opposite each other on sofas. The final series in 1998 had three teams of two players.
Until 1986, the original format had two teams of four people with a winner-stays-on format. The challengers had to try to beat the champions to win and return as the champions in the next show, whilst the champions were simply playing to retain their title. This backfired somewhat after a single family, the Payne family, managed to last almost the entire series.
The format changed in 1987 to a tournament format, (most likely because of the aforementioned single family in the first series). It involved 16 teams in eight qualifying heats. The eight winning teams of the qualifying heats would go on into the Quarter-Finals; the four winning teams of the Quarter-Finals would go into the Semi-Finals; the two winning teams of the Semi-Finals would proceed to the Grand Final, and the winning team of the Grand Final became the champions.
- TV Clip: The only round to be retained in its original format for the new series. Each team was given a classic TV clip and had to answer 3 questions related to the clip with 1 point for each correct answer.
- 10 Things Associated With…: Someone who worked on a classic TV show (e.g. a writer or actor), was asked what would be the 10 best things that summed up the programme. Each team had 60 seconds to guess as many as they could, scoring a point for each.
- In The Box: A mystery celebrity was concealed inside a multi-coloured box and answering general knowledge TV questions correctly allowed for a small panel to be opened. Each question was worth one point, with three points for managing to correctly guess the mystery celebrity. If a team got the celebrity guess wrong, they are frozen out for the rest of the round. Following the reveal, the celebrity guest would ask a bonus question in return for a small prize, such as a board game. After this round, the team with the least points was eliminated.
- The Pyramid: One member from each of the two remaining teams had to stand in a small pyramid and answer question on a particular subject on TV. 1 point for each correct answer.
- World TV: Teams were shown a small film documenting the kind of TV shown in a foreign country (e.g. Spain, New Zealand) and then took in turns answering questions on what they saw. 1 point for a correct answer but incorrect answers saw the question passed onto the opposition.
- Raiders Of The Lost Archive: Taking in turns, the teams selected a category from a grid of nine and were asked a question from it, either worth 1, 3 or 5 points. The lowest scoring team after this game was eliminated.
- Stairway Of The Stars: The last remaining team were given a series of clues related to a celebrity, by moving onto their name space on the stairway, if they were right, the questions continued but if it was wrong, they move down a level. The team had 60 seconds to get to the top, if they did, they won a holiday, usually to the location shown in the World TV round but if they failed, they just won a portable TV.
The Telly Addicts format was re-used in 2002 for the UK subscription TV channel Challenge in the form of quiz shows Soap Addicts, hosted by Malandra Burrows and Richard Arnold. However, the programme was not recommisioned after its 2003 series.
Sport Addicts also existed and was hosted by Bradley Walsh and Celebrity Addicts was hosted by Lisa Rogers and Richard Arnold. Soap Addicts was when teams had to answer questions about famous soaps with clips and pictures. Sport Addicts also followed this but with teams answering questions about sports with clips and pictures and Celebrity Addicts was teams answering questions about celebrities with clips and pictures.
Although not a direct spin-off, fellow BBC game show That’s Showbusiness featured two teams of celebrities in a format very parallel to that of Telly Addicts. This series came about in part due to the popularity of the Christmas editions of Telly Addicts which typically were celebrity specials, and then-Director General Michael Checkland wishing this celebrity format be developed into a regular series.
In 2002, Noel Edmonds approached Channel 5 to revive the series, hoping to use the advent of the internet to make the series far more viewer-interactive. The proposed new series wasn’t picked up.
Three Interactive DVDs based on the Telly Addicts show have been produced so far, featuring original presenter Noel Edmonds. The first was released in Autumn 2005, the second in Autumn 2006 and the third in Autumn 2007.
A Telly Addicts video game for Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PSP and PS2 was published by Ubisoft on 9 November 2007.
In 2009, TV trivia show As Seen on TV was launched, hosted by Steve Jones. Edmonds’ company, Unique Broadcasting, was acknowledged on the credits.
Telly Addicts was adapted twice for the French market. ‘Allume la télé!’ was an adaptation of the original format. ‘Les Cinglés de la télé’ was based on the 1998 format.