Treasure Hunt was one of my favourite shows from the early days of Channel Four. Â It first aired in the final week of 1982 and ran until 1989, and it was a rather more cerebral television game show. Â Each week a pair of contestants had to guide Skyrunner Anneka Rice and her helicopter crew around an area of the UK by solving cryptic clues.
The contestants were aided in the studio by former newsreader Kenneth Kendall under the watchful eye of TV-am weather girl Wincey Willis. Â Wincey tracked the route of Anneka on a wall mounted map whilst Kenneth helped solve the clues. Â It was always claimed that neither Kenneth or Anneka knew where they were supposed to be going, although both gave a fair bit of help to the contestants.
The studio was decorated like a little library with reference books lining the walls, from atlases and encyclopaedias to a few relevant classic novels or some books about the local area in which Anneka was treasure hunting.
The contestants won cash prizes for solving each clue and, most importantly, getting Anneka to the correct location. Â If the time ran out before Anneka had the next clue or the final treasure object in her hand the prize was not awarded.
The show was one of Channel 4’s big hits at the time, and spawned both computer games and a board game, which was also awarded as a prize to contestants, but the thing it will always be remembered for most is Anneka Rice’s bum, which was often the only thing in view as the camera man ran after Anneka when they got out of the helicopter to find the next clue. Â Anneka always wore brightly coloured jump suits, and in one episode she ended up with a tear in her rear, which got patched up later by the camera man using a roll of black tape!
In the final series Anneka left to have a baby and was replaced by tennis player Annabel Croft. Â Sadly Annabel never seemed to be quite as switched on as Anneka when it came to solving the clues, and although Annabel was credited as being a “Special Guest Skyrunner” we never got to see Anneka return since the programme ended with this series.
However, Annabel Croft did return to our screens with another helicopter based show called Interceptor. Â I’ll be writing about this for my next post, so stay tuned to find out more!
In more recent times the BBC attempted to revive Treasure Hunt in 2002, with Dermot Murnaghan taking over from Kenneth Kendall and new Skyrunner Suzi Perry. Â To be honest this new version completely passed me by (and everyone else it would seem, given the ratings it received) which is a shame as I liked the original so much I would have liked to see some more.