Fort Boyard (Channel 5 Game Show, Melinda Messenger)

Channel 5

Adventure game show Fort Boyard was based on a French original (which began in 1990) and recorded at an actual fort off the coast of France. The series saw a team of fit contestants taking part in a series of challenges (often very similar in style and content to The Crystal Maze – although often quite dangerous and in fact the Crystal Maze was created by the same team as this show for Channel 4 when Fort Boyard format was unavailable) and collecting letters that would help them in the final game that saw them with a chance to win a fortune in gold.

Melinda Messenger hosted with Leslie Grantham (as the Master of the Fort) and Geoffrey Bayldon (as The Professor) also appearing.

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Series one to four were broadcast on Channel 5 but the fifth season broadcast a couple of years later saw a move to satellite broadcaster Challenge TV and a complete change of presenting crew – host was now Jodie Penfold and the master of the fort was Christopher Ellison. Meanwhile the Professor was out with The Captain (Tom Baker) taking his place. From 2012-2014 there was a UK revival for a junior audience on CITV this was called Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge. Hosts were Laura Hamilton, Geno Segers (2011 only) and Andy Akinwolere (2012-2014). This version followed the duel format (introduced for the first time in 2004) of two teams competing against each other.

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The series, thanks to it’s great concept is France’s most exported TV format (it has been made in 31 different countries) and sits at number four on the world game show export list after Wipeout, Fear Factor and Survivor.

Creators: Jacques Antoine, Jean-Pierre Mitrecey, Pierre Launay / Executive Producer: Richard Holloway / Producer and Director: Paul Kirrage

UK / Channel Five – Grundy – Anabase – Challenge TV / 77×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 October 1998 – 3 December 2003

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.