Catchphrase (partially lost TVS episodes of British game show; 1986-1994)

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Revision as of 10:38, 10 March 2024 by SpaceManiac888 (talk | contribs) (Credit to Nuukledeemso for locating a video uploaded by TheMeakers, which contain a small amount of footage from Series 7 Episode 9! Seems TheMeakers have also preserved a few other TVS recordings, which is always grand.)
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Catchphrase logo used for the Carlton episodes.

Status: Partially Lost

Catchphrase is an ITV game show. Originally broadcast from 1986 to 2002, it tasked contestants with figuring out what familiar phrase is being represented by an animation shown on screen. From 1986 to 1994, episodes were produced by TVS, with Carlton taking over for the show's remaining years. But whereas the Caltron episodes are widely available, the master tapes for the TVS episodes were deemed officially wiped according to Kaleidoscope, after TVS asset owners Walt Disney Company revealed they no longer held the tapes.


Catchphrase originated from an American version that ran from 1985 to 1986.[1][2] Originally hosted by Roy Walker, the show proved more successful in the United Kingdom than in the United States.[2][1] Episodes saw two contestants compete against each other in identifying catchphrases from the animations shown on screen.[3][4][1] For each correct answer, the player would not only win money, but also had a chance of answering the Super Catchphrase consisting of an animation hidden between nine squares.[1][4] If they were correct, they would receive the amount within the Bonus Bank.[1][4] However, every incorrect answer would result in both contestants again answering puzzles for another chance of earning the money, reduced by £100 each revisit.[1][4]

Whoever earned the most by the show's end entered the Super Catchphrase.[1][4] The contestant was tasked to identify five catchphrase from a grid of 25; if they answered the M square correctly and four catchphrases surrounding it vertically, horizontally or diagonally, they would also win a holiday abroad.[1][4] The Roy Walker run proved highly successful, with perhaps its most famous moment being the catchphrase "Snake Charmer", where the mostly obscured animation gave the impression that the show's mascot, Mr Chips, was performing risqué actions with a snake.[5][1][3][4] The show was revamped in 2000 with Nick Weir taking over as host.[1][3] However, neither his nor Mark Curry's run in 2002 proved as popular, with the show going on hiatus not long afterwards.[1][3] In total, the original show lasted for 17 series and 348 episodes.[4] A revival hosted by Stephen Mulhern has been producing new episodes since 2013, following a successful pilot in 2012.[4]


The Carlton episodes produced from 1994 to 2002 are widely publicly available, and are often re-aired on UK channel Challenge. However, according to Kaleidoscope in 2014, the majority of master tapes for the TVS episodes from 1986 to 1994 are officially considered wiped.[6][7][6] The reason behind this surrounds the fate of TVS and its archive.[7] In 1993 it was sold to International Family Entertainment, which was later renamed to Fox Family Worldwide.[8] When the company was sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2001 for $5.3 billion, the latter acquired the TVS collection.[9][8][7]

Disney's acquirement of the TVS archive has attracted significant controversy; following the takeover, key paperwork documenting and noting rights of the various TVS media had been destroyed.[10] It has made the public release of many TVS shows difficult to achieve.[10] Further, Disney has wiped several TVS shows from its collection, including the the Saturday morning children's show Motormouth.[11] The TVS episodes of Catchphrase have suffered a similar fate; when ITV contacted Disney as to their fate, the latter responded they no longer held the master tapes.[7] Thus, Kaleidoscope's Chris Perry announced that the TVS episodes, including six pilots established in 1985, were officially considered wiped, with an ongoing appeal for recordings of these early episodes.[12][7][6]

Over 150 episodes are listed as missing by Kaleidoscope.[6] Nevertheless, primarily thanks to the efforts of ADC Television Collection and other collectors, the majority of TVS episodes have since resurfaced on YouTube. However, at least 18 episodes remain partially or fully missing. Series 5 has the most fully missing episodes at six; in addition, only part 2 of Episode 17 has resurfaced. Series 7 has three missing episodes, though just under two minutes of Episode 9 was uploaded to YouTube by TheMeakers on 7th November 2010.

List of Missing TVS Episodes

# Series and Episode Airdate Status
1 Series 2 Episode 18 3rd May 1987 Lost
2 Series 3 Episode 3 23rd January 1988 Lost
3 Series 3 Episode 19 7th May 1988 Found
4 Series 4 Episode 1 1st January 1989 Lost
5 Series 4 Episode 8 19th February 1989 Lost
6 Series 5 Episode 3 16th September 1989 Lost
7 Series 5 Episode 4 23rd September 1989 Lost
8 Series 5 Episode 12 18th November 1989 Lost
9 Series 5 Episode 16 16th December 1989 Lost
10 Series 5 Episode 17 23rd December 1989 Partially Found (recording contains only part 2)
11 Series 5 Episode 21 3rd February 1990 Lost
12 Series 5 Episode 22 10th February 1990 Lost
13 Series 6 Episode 1 1st September 1990 Lost
14 Series 6 Episode 2 8th September 1990 Lost
15 Series 6 Episode 20 26th January 1991 Lost
16 Series 7 Episode 7 30th November 1991 Lost
17 Series 7 Episode 8 7th December 1991 Lost
18 Series 7 Episode 9 14th December 1991 Partially Found
19 Series 8 Episode 11 19th September 1992 Lost

See Also

External Links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 UK Game Shows detailing all UK versions of Catchphrase. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 Adam Nostalgia detailing the original American version of the show. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Radio Times summarising Catchphrase. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 British Classic Comedy detailing the original show, noting it ran for 17 series, with the revival running since 2013. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  5. Joe detailing the famous "Snake Charmer" catchphrase. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Kaleidoscope listing the TVS episodes and pilots and noting most are officially considered missing. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Kaleidoscope Facebook page discussing the missing TVS episodes, with Perry confirming they do not exist in either ITV's or Disney's archives (Closed Facebook group). Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  8. 8.0 8.1 TVS Television summarising the company's history and noting it was sold to International Family Entertainment. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  9. Archived Media Life Magazine reporting on Disney purchasing Fox Family Worldwide. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  10. Missing Episodes discussing Disney wiping TVS shows like Motormouth from its collection. Retrieved 11th Oct '22
  11. TV Forum discussing Kaleidoscope's announcement that the TVS Catchphrase episodes are considered wiped. Retrieved 11th Oct '22