Quite literally bouncing onto our screens during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s came Keith Chegwin, or Cheggers as he was nick-named, with his own pop music related quiz show for kids, Cheggers Plays Pop. The ever cheerful Cheggers would take two teams of school children through a number of challenges and quiz rounds set around the world of popular music.
Introduced by some fairly heavy music, with full on rock guitar and drums, the show was a barrel of fun from start to finish. The two teams were supported by the rest of their school, who sat behind them in rows all wearing the same coloured T-shirts, either red or yellow depending on the colour assigned to each school.
The question rounds were fairly standard fare. Each team was asked questions and scored points for getting them right. If the team didn’t know the answer, I think the other team got a chance to answer it. Pretty normal really. What made Cheggers Plays Pop so brilliant was the more physical games the kids had to play. Most were based around the idea of a relay race, with each child in the team having their turn, but this was spiced up by making them do mini assault courses. Cheggers would gleefully tell the kids what they had to do, normally demonstrating it at the same time. A typical challenge might be something like this:
So, first you’ve got to run round this pole three times, then try and walk across this beam without falling off. Jump up onto the inflatable, over the wall and then into the pool of foam. Dig out a ring, then return back over the inflatable, across the beam and put the ring on the pole before tagging the next person.
The ‘inflatable’ was a massive bouncy castle type thing usually with some kind of obstacles on it that the kids had to get over. The mentioned foam was normally also a big feature, much to the enjoyment of the kids who would normally finish the race looking exhausted but with a massive grin on their face and foam all over their heads.
The other main feature of the show were the musical guests. The show became so popular that record companies were lining up to get their acts featured on the show, launching many new singles on it. Bizarrely though, despite the show running for many years it was amazingly canned after the first episode. Apparently it was made by BBC Manchester, and the first episode was aired without having been seen by BBC London. The bigwigs in London decided the show was not suitable for kids, and they promptly axed it, however this decision was soon reversed when they got the viewing figures in.
For more interesting Cheggers Plays Pop information check out this great interview with the man himself on The Den Of Geek. He covers loads of interesting topics, about this show and his other work. It’s well worth a read.