Game Show Glam: How TV Got Fashionable
One of the more interesting developments in online culture in recent years has been the addition of human dealers to casino games. While this might sound like an oddity – table games like blackjack or roulette usually have a croupier or two – the variants of these experiences found online were traditionally handled by computerised tools that mimicked the living, breathing dealer.
Strictly Come Dancing
Paddy Power’s wheel-based games provide a good example. While the newest entry in this category, Wonder Wheel, a bonus game that gives players one free spin each day, does indeed make use of HTML5 technology over real dealers, it’s very much an exception to a new rule. Alongside Live Deal or No Deal and Live Blackjack, Paddy Power has croupiers in Crazy Time and Adventures Beyond Wonderland.
What’s interesting about both of the latter games is that they share similarities with the US and UK game show, Wheel of Fortune. This demonstrates that this rather simple pastime – trying your luck – never seems to go out of fashion. In fact, as we’ll discover, the game show format has moved on from what could be described as a rather sleepy, mundane type of entertainment to something more glamorous, courtesy of its presenters.
In the UK, a handful of game shows dominate the listings. These include Countdown, The Chase, Pointless, The Wall, and Taskmaster, among others. There’s also a limited number of programmes that reward players for putting something special together, such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake Off, which has been exported to tens of different countries since its debut in 2010.
Along with the likes of The X Factor and The Voice, Strictly has helped normalise game show contestants and hosts as people to emulate. Strictly’s Stacey Dooley, known for pairing Gucci sandals with a grey jogging suit, has invented a style all of her own. Minimalism, typified by an absence of colour and the use of popular fabrics such as denim to create an effortless smart-casual look.
At the opposite end of the game show scale, Countdown’s Rachel Riley has also become a bit of a trendsetter, largely because of her rather unusual approach to outfits. The maths whiz wears up to five dresses per filming session, all of which require creative use of fake tan to ensure that her appearance matches up with airing dates – winter or summer.
Oddly enough, it’s not quite as easy to find male hosts who fit the description of ‘glamorous’, as personalities such as Danny Dyer (The Wall), Bradley Walsh (The Chase), and Alexander Armstrong (Pointless) tend to present a more ordinary ‘everyman’ persona to viewers. The era of professional showmen such as Bruce Forsyth and Bob Monkhouse seems to be well and truly over.
There’s always a case for placing Supermarket Sweep’s Rylan Clark on a pedestal, though. After all, the presenter was recently asked if he was performing in the Eurovision Song Contest due to his unusual taste in outfits.