Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1980s Love Game, The

Love Game, The

1 9 8 4 (Australia)

Australian network Channel Seven produced this show to compete with the phenomenally successful Perfect Match, Channel 10’s dating game show that was one of the highest-rated Aussie programmes of 1984.

The irony for the producers of The Love Game was that they were trying to cash in on the success of something that could scarcely be called original itself. It was a format that depended on creating conditions where contestants could feel comfortable about submitting themselves to a blind date routine in the middle of a TV studio, and where an audience at home could get a voyeuristic-sympathetic kick out of it all.

It had to be cheerfully exuberant and couldn’t exhibit even a shadow of self-doubt.

Greg Evans – the host of Perfect Match – was a perfectly confident host for whom the word “brash” seems woefully inadequate. The Love Game‘s Mark Holden had the right credentials as a former soapie heartthrob and romantic balladeer teen pop star, but brash he wasn’t; embarrassed he was – and the feeling was contagious.

On Perfect Match, the contestants also had some part to play in the matching process, but in The Love Game, a panel of “celebrities” (mostly soapie stars from the network) played matchmaker. It took the show away from the contestants and put it into the hands of actors who weren’t sure how to treat the concept.

Mark Holden