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 Toooooooooooooooo the Crystal Doooooome!

British Game Show running from 1990 to 1995, initially hosted by Richard O'Brien and later by Edward Tudor-Pole. Produced by Jacques Antoine. A remake of Fort Boyard.[1]

Each week, six contestants would have to complete a series of challenges in four adventure zones (at first- Industrial, Futuristic, Aztec and Medieval. In the fourth series, Ocean replaced Industrial). Completing these challenges would mean receiving a time crystal. If contestants failed to leave the room (crystal or not) before time ran out, or broke certain rules in some games, they were locked in and could only be released in exchange for a crystal.

The final part was always the Crystal Dome, where contestants would have a certain amount of time (determined by how many crystals won- 5 seconds per crystal) to collect gold tokens blown about by a big fan. Silver tokens were also present and these would result in a deduction from a score (which could- and often did- lead to a negative total score). If they got over a certain total, they would win prizes: usually adventure holidays in B-level British resort towns.

Most of the show's appeal came from the wonderfully eccentric Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame) and the way he would present the show: his manic, restless behaviour; his razor-sharp put-downs of (frankly bad) team performances; and how he would always play that damn harmonica at the most inappropriate and distracting times. Edward Tudor-Pole never had a chance. It also became common for the viewer base to start shouting at the screen at the contestants when they missed the very obvious solutions. (Extracts from the show's blooper reel that have been leaked onto YouTube reveal that, in the privacy of the technical gallery, the show's director did it too.)

The show remains a classic and repeats are still shown in syndication, while rumours surface every couple of years about a Revival. The show was and remains very popular amongst University Students, though there have been no DVD releases as yet.


This show contains examples of:

  • An Adventurer Is You
  • Bald of Awesome - Richard O'Brien.
  • Bamboo Technology - A feature of the Aztec Zone.
  • Captain Obvious - Most of the team "advice" during certain games. Not that the obvious advice was necessarily unhelpful to their teammates...
  • Captivity Harmonica - Without the "captivity" part.
  • Carried by the Host
  • Catch Phrase - "This is a two/two and a half/three minute game from the very second I close the door...", "Will you start the fans, PLEASE!"
  • Christmas Episode - Kids' special
  • Fifteen Puzzle - Sometimes appeared as a challenge.
  • Fortune Teller - One of the inhabitants of the Medieval Zone was a stereotypical fortune teller who asked quiz questions and handed over a crystal (which was hidden in the base of her crystal ball) if the contestant answered correctly. O'Brien would provide the contestant with silver coins to cross her palm with.
    • This troper saw an amusing episode this very evening where the contestant got so excited when she correctly answered the question that she pulled the crystal out of the ball without waiting for the fortune-teller to do it, much to the latter's irritation. Richard had to enter the room to calm her down.
    • The fortune teller is his in-show mother, 'Mumsie', something that O'Brian made up on the spot during a first-series episode and it stuck.
  • Golden Snitch - The Crystal Dome.
  • Hey, It's That Guy! - In all his wonderful ham-flavored glory, it's a wonder that Richard O'Brien didn't break out into the Time Warp during his run on the show.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes - Mr O'Brien dresses like a fashion designer, that is to say like a man who knows nothing about style.
    • Not to mention the team uniforms.
  • Large Ham - Richard O'Brien
  • Laser Hallway - Sometimes appeared as a challenge in the Futuristic Zone (but using tripwires -- they probably didn't have the budget for real lasers).
  • Mayincatec - The Aztec Zone.
  • Mineral MacGuffin
  • Only Smart People May Pass - Although the audience might have argued that it was more like "Only a complete idiot cannot pass".
  • Pirate Booty - One of the challenges in the Ocean Zone was searching for the key to a treasure chest in a pirate cave, complete with pirate skeleton and stuffed Pirate Parrot.
  • Put on a Bus - Richard O'Brien, when he left the series.
  • Shaggy Dog Story - Ultimately, the number of crystals gathered meant nothing if the team gather too many (negative-scoring) silver tokens in the final stage. And they frequently did.
  • Theme Tune - Much more dramatic than it has any right to be
  • Timed Mission - Every challenge is 2-3 minutes long. The crystal dome has 5 seconds per crystal earned.
  • Time Travel - Some of the challenges seem to take place in a medieval time period, or the future, or something similar...
  • Wire Dilemma - Sometimes appeared as a challenge.

Notes

  1. Channel 4 originally wanted Fort Boyard, but couldn't get at the fort itself as the French series was massively popular at the time.
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