#73: Bradley Walsh: UK
The UK Wheel of Fortune is a much different beast than our version. Well, much different in the fact that it looks cheaper, but it still is quite a good show. It pretty much follows the basic wheel format in that you spin a wheel, guess a letter in the puzzle, get that amount and try to solve the puzzle. But instead of offering cash on the wheel, it's points and most points goes on to the bonus game where they could win cash or a brand new car. Oh, and you won a prize for solving a puzzle. Either way, it's still worth a look. In 1997, the original host of the show Nicky Campbell left the show to pursue other ventures in his career. So, they had to find a new host to take over the series. After a long and arduous task, they settled on a former footballer (aka soccer player) and comedian. His name, Bradley Walsh.
Bradley Walsh started the show off, either making some unfunny jokes or just overall being LOUD! And by loud, I'm talking about the desperate type of loud like what Jack Wagner wanted on The Price Is Right after he changed his tune. To be honest, if you take a look at his outfits, he's just trying too hard to be out there. I mean, bright orange, and on certain occasions, bright red. He just came off as really annoying at the start.
It also doesn't help matters that he really seemed to enjoy taking the mickey out of his co-host Jenny Powell. Mostly anytime she made a prize cue, he'd really go after her with her making some lame jokes by using a bullhorn, asking the contestants to keep on laughing about the joke she told. One of the worst that I remember him doing is when he wore a bad wig, which was supposed to impersonate Jenny and with a sign that had one side say "Laugh" and the other side say "Louder". So, not only was he annoying, he was a tosser as well.
After commercial breaks, he would always try to liven up the festivities by trying to do something funny. More often than not, it would just come off as a young boy desperate for his parents attention. I mean, he'd have some sort of prop, whereas Nicky Campbell would play it straight and be quite cool with it. More often than not, Bradley would say that "he needs help" or "I need therapy". To be honest, I'm going to need therapy after seeing him ride the rail like a horsey with a fake monster sized cigarillo. It just made Wheel seem less like a game show and more of The Bradley Walsh Comedy Hour. Kinda makes you wish he was back on the pitch where he was just seen and not heard.
And not immediately afterwards, he'd hype his box, a special prize that would be won if the spot was landed on and a letter was picked from the board correctly. And he'd give it more praise and hype like it was the second coming of Bob Monkhouse or if it was the love child of Bruce Forsyth and Betty White, creating the best game show personality that would ever walk God's Green Earth. Either way, it was pathetic.
He was also known for being somewhat mean to the contestants, especially when they tried to connect a letter with the answer to the tossup question or something associated with the show or whatnot. Either way, he was an annoying prat who needed to be put in his place. And after his second series as host, he was kicked to the curb. Now you're asking, who took over for him? Well, it was this guy.
Yup, former Scavengers host, John Leslie got the gig. The show would run on for about 3 more years before it got seriously cheapened, not only with the wheel being degraded, but the prizes being lesser, Leslie being replaced by Paul Hendy...On second though....that last version needs to seriously be talked about here.
But back to Bradley. After he got axed, it took him some time to get his bearing back and decided to take up some good acting jobs, like on Coronation Street, Law & Order: UK among other good shows. He also decided to get back into hosting, but thankfully he learned from his horrific Wheel days and is now a great host currently for both The Chase and Odd One In. So, at least some good came from this, even if he wanted to make us shoot our TVs because of him.
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