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Series / GamesMaster

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GamesMaster was a British television show, airing from 1992 to 1998, and was the first ever UK television show dedicated to computer and video games. A large part of the show was the challenges, which saw gamers competing against each other over the course of the series to be crowned "GamesMaster Champion" through a variety of different games and challenges (For example, a speedrun through Sonic The Hedgehog 3's Angel Island Zone), before focusing more on the actual games than the challenges.

Debuting between the launches of the Sega Mega Drive and the SNES, the show originally had a target demographic of pre-teens, but as time went on, the show shifted to targeting teenagers and young adults instead.

Two of the show's trademarks were the setting changing changing each year, much like levels in a video game; and the titular Games Master, a disembodied head (played by Sir Patrick Moore) who dispensed advice on video games to those who needed it, albeit with a sharp tongue.

The show got a reboot that aired on E4 in November 2021, with Sir Trevor McDonald playing the Games Master.

This show provides examples of...

    Original Version 
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The Offence-O-Meter from the last episode of Series 6, where the idea was that the show was on its last warning from Channel 4. Over the course of the episode, each piece of innuendo causes the bar to fill up, before the show starts receiving phone calls from Channel 4 warning that Dominik is one offensive word from getting the show cancelled.
  • British Brevity: Series 1 and 7 were both 10 episodes long; the intervening series were all upward of 20 episodes long.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: In the race stage of The Aquatic Games in Series 3, one challenger used the cannon to get an early lead and still managed to lose.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A Japanese Tetsujin faced 100 British challengersnote  in consectutive games of Virtua Fighter 3 in Series 6. He won without much challenge.
  • Curse Cut Short: The final link of Series 6 culminates with one.
    Dominik: We are in, quite literally, a lot of trouble, I'm hearing the Channel 4 No-Fun-Police are on their way down, and the future looks grim, so... I'm sorry, I feel quite responsible for all this, so I guess I'd just like to say, well, apologise really, to all the old people who feel I've made terrible jokes at their expense, to all the parents who felt we've corrupted or tainted their children in any way, I personally would just like to say... I don't give a--
    [Smash cut to the end credits]
  • Darker and Edgier: Series 4 ended with a "Gore Special", focusing on games they couldn't show in the normal pre-watershed timeslot.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Dominik Diamond and the Games Master.
  • Eject the Loser:
    • In Series 2, the Diver who awarded winners with joysticks would occasionally also escort particularly dreadful challengers into the smoke filled pit she appeared from. This was only however done in exceptional cases and Dominik would consult the Games Master himself for a final decision to do this. On one occasion a girl was released the following week by her boyfriend winning a challenge.
    • This was repeated of sorts in the second half of Series 3, where new host Dexter would order a large man known as the "Caretaker" to eject losing teams off the premises.
    • Much less frequently (and equally less dramatically), but a couple of times in Series 4 the returned Dominik personally ordered celebrities sucking royally at a game (this time without consulting the Games Master) into the cage with the audience. (Audience members playing would be returned there no matter what the outcome, so no real punishment possible for them). This was the last of the punishments in the original series as they were abolished in Series 5 (until the reboot).
  • Fake-Out Opening: Series 2's Cold Open.
  • Finale Season: Series 7 was this - The very first line of the series was Dominik informing the viewer that it was going to be the final series of the show.
  • Lovely Assistant:
    • Series 5 - The Angels
    • Series 6 - The Mermaids
    • Series 7 - The Girl Fridays
    • Downplayed with Series 2 (The Diver). Whilst it was no secret she was played by an attractive woman, she was largely covered up with the only visible feminine aspect being high heeled boots. Furthermore she gladly dragged truly awful players into her smoke filled pit which is less than "lovely" in personality at least (granted she was following Dominik and GM's orders, but still).
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: The Games Master himself.
    • Series 1 to 3 - Belligerent A.I.
    • Series 4 - Lord of the Underworld
    • Series 5 - God
    • Series 6 - Poseidon
    • Series 7 - The Sun
  • Painting the Medium:
    • The beginning of Series 2, which had a completely intentional fake opening rife with technical difficulties, before an extended version of the opening titles declared that the original series had 'expired' and the new series would now begin, serving as introduction to the new Oil Rig setting.
    • The final episode of the series, in which more and more of the show's trappings were taken away as each link of the show took place - such as the set being taking apart around Dominik, ultimately culminating in the final link taking place in an empty studio and The Stinger of Sir Patrick Moore leaving the studio and getting in a taxi.
  • Politeness Judo: Inverted in at least one Consoleation Zone segment in Series 2 when The Games Master refuses to give a kid a hint because he asked rudely, but does give the kid the hint he wanted when he asks again politely.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Dominik Diamond left the show after Series 2, and was stated to have died in the Oil Rig explosion at the end of Series 2. A rather literal example, as when The Bus Came Back and Dominik returned in Series 4, the show was set in Hell.
  • Rearrange the Song: Every series featured a new remix of the GamesMaster theme; Series 2 and 3 using an altered version of the previous theme tune each time. From Series 4 onward, the theme was remixed to be more appropriate to the theme of the series.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Dave Perry, the self-proclaimed "best games player in the UK".
  • Spin-Off: GamesMaster magazine. It continued on for 20 years after the TV show ended, before being cancelled itself.
  • Take That!: One of Dexter Fletcher’s first lines after taking over as presenter was notoriously a shot at his predecessor, Dominik Diamond.—> Dexter: [Holding the charred remains of Dominik’s glasses and red jacket from the previous series] Sadly, this poor chap burned himself out on level two.
    • Dominik indicated in an interview around his return that he took particular exception to that remark, calling it "immature and unnecessary". Didn't stop him from retaliating at Dexter on several occasions. On Series 4 his trademark joke at the end of every show was to say "I'm off to (do something nasty)", which on one occasion was to... make people watch the previous series of Games Master (think you can work out which one). Later, when criticising his Series 2 attire (primarily the "Red Jacket"), he indicated it wasn't as bad as when he was temporarily morphed into a "shorter, louder character".
  • Title Montage: The final episode used one which cut together footage from the previous six openings sequentially before showing Dominik on the show's new setting, then doing the same thing with the GamesMaster (who had undergone a makeover each year) before bringing up the title.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Theresa and Leigh-Ann, the Mermaids in Series 6.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Dominik Diamond, following his return in Series 4.
    "I'm Dominik Diamond, I'm back, and I'm grumpy."
  • Trash the Set: The final episode in Series 7 featured Dominik looking back over the past seven years, whilst the set was gradually taken apart behind him.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Dominik has a fear of flying, which gradually got worse as he was flown around the world to shoot segments for the show. By Series 7, it had gotten so bad that Dominik refused to get on a plane again.

     2021 Revival 
  • Affirmative-Action Legacy: The new GamesMaster is portrayed by (Trinidadian-British) Sir Trevor McDonald, replacing the late Sir Patrick Moore.
  • British Brevity: Only three episodes were produced for the first series of the revival.
  • Darker and Edgier: To a certain extent, the reboot qualifies for this with the Abyss. Granted the original second series had the pit but a) nothing suggested those sent there died (in fact one girl returned the following week) and b) was much less prevalent, only used in exceptional cases.
  • Eject the Loser: The "Abyss" where (via the magic of Green Screen and goofy acting) losers are ejected from the show by being thrown down a shaft and into a pit of molten lava. This time it happens to all losers, not just the very worst, and is much more prevalent than the original pit (which wasn't even mentioned until when used, a few episodes into the series). Adding insult to fatal injury, the GamesMaster also delivers a snarky Bond One-Liner at the parting loser's expense.
  • Lovely Assistant: A male example comes in Ty Logan, a model and influencer who is much more jovial and charming than main host Robert "Rab" Florence. Arguably Frankie Ward as well, although her role is more as in-house expert rather than assistant, and she generally acts as the inbetween/matter of fact to Ty's nice and Rob's (and GM's) mean.
  • Rearrange the Song: The revival uses an updated version of the original theme song and opening title sequence.