Back in the early days of Channel 4, the urgent need for ideas to fill an entire network full of programming was clear. Despite all the preparation time and work, you don't just create seven days of year-round programming out of nothing. So, Channel 4 looked around the world for formats it could use.
For game shows, there was a problem: ITV had pretty much sown up the US format-acquisition market, taking everything from Family Fortunes and The Price is Right. So Channel 4 had the interesting idea of plundering French TV for formats.
Like Countdown? Think it's British? Then gasp in awe at the original show, Des chiffres et des lettres, at 47 years old the oldest TV programme on French TV and one of the longest-running game shows in the world:
Another fondly remembered Channel 4 game show that started at the same time also originated on French TV. Treasure Hunt began life as La Chasse au Trésor (and eventually La Chasse aux Trésors) on Antenne 2:
In it, a bunch of people back in a studio solved clues that would lead to treasure. They themselves didn't do the hunting: that was up to a guy in a helicopter who followed their instructions. And here in the UK, with Treasure Hunt we got more or less the same thing, with former newsreader Kenneth Kendall helping a motley collection of contestants back in a studio to solve clues, all while 'a skyrunner' went out in a helicopter, usually in the UK, sometimes in exotic locations like Australia, to find the next clue and eventually the treasure.
That skyrunner - Anneka Rice, the possessor of one of the most famous, award-winning bottoms on British TV. Here are the very familiar titles.