There are many things that broadcasters really want to be known for. These include commissioning water-cooler series like Line of Duty and I May Destroy You and coming up with a whole new genre of show that other networks try to emulate but just can’t match. A great example of this is the massive success of Strictly Come dancing and ITV’s more lackluster equivalent, Dancing on Ice.
Something else that they are on the constant lookout for is a big Saturday primetime show with major name presenters and broad appeal. Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is a great example of this and it’s loved by viewers from all walks of life.
But the big question is where the next breakthrough show like this will come from and what it will feature – but perhaps the answer has been staring program-makers in the face for some time now but they just haven’t quite caught on.
In recent years there has been a positive explosion in unique bingo games online which have helped to introduce a whole new generation to the pleasures of an old-time favourite. Some of the online bingo games hark back to TV shows like Deal or No Deal while others are themed around popular slots games. All are fast-moving and have gathered a loyal following who might never have considered going to an old-style bingo hall.
There’s also the phenomenon of bingo party nights that have become a major draw for nightclubs across the country and which combine karaoke, dance competitions and bingo games. These have become so popular with ones like Bongo’s Bingo holding events up and down the country which are sell-outs almost as soon as they are announced due to their unique take on the traditional game.
So it all points to the potential for a primetime Saturday night show with bingo as its theme. When you consider how popular the Saturday night National Lottery draw used to be in the years after it was first launched, surely some of that excitement and razzmatazz could be recaptured in the bingo show.
As for the format, the most obvious would be to bring in a quiz or gameshow element in which bingo numbers are a drawn which relate to a particular numbered question or category. If contestants get the question right, they can cross off the number on their card and the person who’s first to a full house takes home the first prize.
To channel the spirit of bingo club nights, there could also be other elements including stand-ups, dance offs and audience karaoke. And, to run the show, it sounds like the perfect vehicle for someone like – after all, he’s already had the experience of playing a bingo club manager in the BBC sitcom Eyes Down.
It all adds up to a sure-fire ratings winner – and all it needs now is a name to tie up the whole package. Then it’s off to see some commissioning editors and, frankly, we have a big, big hit on our hands.