On Safari was one of the first kids TV game shows I remember watching that was of the “lots of messy games” format. You know the kind of thing, where the contestants are asked to go across an assault course of some sort, which just so happens to have lots of pools of water or gunge strategically placed to ensure no one gets through without getting filthy.
The show was aired from 1982 to 1984 and as the name suggests, had a jungle and wild animals theme. It was hosted by Christopher Biggins (ironically later to become King of the Jungle on I’m a Celebrity…) who was assisted by the husky voiced future EastEnder Gillian Taylforth, who kept track of the scores.
Three (later two) teams comprising a child and one of their parents would compete against each other in the games, often involving the kids doing some task involving some kind of skill (e.g. throwing balls through holes in cardboard animals or making a jigsaw puzzle) whilst the adults did the more active part, which usually involved them getting dirty or wet in the process.
Biggins, looking surprisingly dapper in his Safari suit, and brandishing a cane to give him an air of authority, was actually a great choice of host for the show. At the time he was known to kids for appearing in Rentaghost, and he always had a massive grin on his face no matter what he was doing. Like all good game show hosts he even had a catchphrase, which involved him shouting the word “Safari” and the audience shouting back “Sagoody” (i.e. “Safari’s A Goody”).
On Safari wasn’t the first show of this kind (Chegger’s Plays Pop is a good example of a similar style of show pre-dating On Safari) but I certainly remember watching it as a kid and finding it entertaining.
If it’s all sounding familiar than check out the video clip below, which is from a Christmas Special edition which featured celebrity parents with their kids. I’m not quite sure who the woman is (Shirley Ann someone?) but Melvyn Hayes is brilliant as usual… Oh, and Biggins has swapped his usual safari suit for a glittery red Father Christmas costume.