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Five reasons Takeshi’s Castle is the greatest game show ever

Jack Turley July 29, 2020
Takeshi's Castle

1. Craig Charles 

This man is the voice of both Takeshi’s Castle and my childhood. His comic insights into contestants’ quandaries were hilarious. 

Craig’s commentary could tickle whichever member of the family walked into the room asking what rubbish I was watching. Except Takeshi’s Castle wasn’t trash, it was slapstick comedy gold. 

2. Wildly Wacky 

It was almost as if the creators of Takeshi’s Castle looked at the near-impossible challenges on Ninja Warrior and thought, a) ‘Boring!’ and, b) ‘These challenges are too easy.’ 

Human ten-pin bowling, walking a tightrope whilst being pelted with cannonballs, or even mud-bath baseball. All were par for the course. 

About Last Night | Season 1 Official Trailer | Studiocanal International

3. Ridiculous Replays 

With Craig’s voice dropping to a deeper, devilish tone he’d say ‘I’d rather look at the losers…’ and you’d know a Ridiculous Replay was on the way. 

No one watched X-Factor auditions to objectively assess the pool of talent in the show. Epic-fails draw audiences. Equally, Takeshi’s Castle readily fulfilled our innate need to laugh at someone else’s expense. 

4. Completely impossible to win 

Even if anyone passed all the crazy obstacles to reach the Final Showdown, I have little memory of the 1 million yen prize ever being captured. Googling and YouTubing have since revealed that there were as many as 10 winners over the years, but 2 of those were disqualified. 

And even on the off-chance that Craig would shout ‘We have a winner!’, the credits would roll so fast you could barely take in the enormity of such a rare feat. 

Modern reality shows drag out absolutely nothing happening into an hour-long episode. Given a single UK airing of Takeshi’s Castle squeezed 8 challenges, an advert, and the Final Showdown into 30 minutes, I think we can forgive the abrupt endings. 

5. Re-runs more popular than re-makes

After a 2013 attempt at Takeshi’s Castle Rebooted, voiced-over by Dick and Dom, Challenge received countless complaints that Craig’s witty commentary was the heart of the show. On social media, they received more negative comments for Rebooted than any other show in the channel’s history.

The channel realised they may as well just air reruns of the UK original. This subsequently regularly placed in their top 10 for ratings and averaged 130,000 viewers per episode. 

And with the new video game Fall Guys essentially mimicking the show, Count Takeshi’s cult hit is still as popular as ever. 

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J E Turley is a novelist and freelance writer. To read more about his novels, or about living with Crohn’s and Colitis, head to jeturleywriting.co.uk.