1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 4 (UK)
19 x 30 minute episodes
This outdoor puzzle-solving romp from BBC1 sent two teams (initially Oxford vs. Cambridge, latterly Brits against the Yanks) stumbling across overcast hillsides, surviving on badly-cooked rabbit and applying logical brainstorming to such tasks as retrieving a Land Rover from a swamp with nine yards of rope, a milk bottle and a house brick.
It was based on army survival games of the type which had lately been adapted by some wily entrepreneurs and flogged to corporations as staff ‘team-building’ exercises, and Bernard Falk sat snugly in a presentation studio, watching and reprimanding the contestants’ windswept fumblings with all the sarcasm at his disposal – “Here’s Tony, showing all those qualities of leadership that inspire others to follow without question” (cue Tony being shouted at while squatting miserably in a stream).
It was a consummate eighties programme, and The Guardian called the show; “hypnotic viewing, truly terrible but unmissable once you get stuck in. This is as moronic as you could hope for.” Over eight million viewers agreed.