Banzai! is a Game Show programme.
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Gary Monaghan is the executive producer of Banzai, the new Japanese style comedy gambling show that will be shown exclusively on E4 from January 2001.
Despite its strong Oriental flavour the show's roots stretch back to Manchester. Gary recalls trips to the pub with his friend Ed where "we used to make mad bets. We'd bet on everything from what glass the barman might pick up next to what the colour of the fifth car past the window would be." A betting obsession began and the idea for Banzai was formed. "The pub is still the place where all the latest bets and titles are dreamt up, we don't generate our ideas in an office." Gary is also keen to point out that "I normally fleeced Ed."
It was not until the betting scandal involving John Fashanu and mysterious Malaysian businessmen allegedly rigging Premiership football matches arose that Gary asked the question "if they had their own TV show, what would it be like?"
Banzai's strong visual style is a direct result of Gary's love for all things Japanese. "I'm a big fan of Japanese culture (Manga comics in particular) and I love video games and wanted the show to have the feel of a video game. Banzai is the combination of all these elements." The soundtrack plays a crucial part to the overall feel of the show: "don't be fooled into thinking it's there to be ironic or kitsch, it comes direct from my personal record collection." A self-confessed Electric Light Orchestra fan, Gary is non-apologetic about thrusting his favourite band back into the limelight. "It's great to be able to get E.L.O back onto the box."
In some ways similar to Trigger Happy TV with its quickfire comedy and snappy soundtrack Gary points out the difference between the two; "although we do a little bit of secret filming, with 99% of the show everyone is consenting."
Recurring characters will appear throughout the series, including the hilarious Shake Hands man who stalks celebrities and then shakes their hands for as long as possible whilst simultaneously conducting an interview. Chris Tarrant has his hand clasped for well over three minutes before making his excuses and leaving. Other celebrities in line for the hand shake treatment include Frank Skinner, Ant and Dec, Anna from Big Brother and Donna Air.
There are lots of bets to look forward to throughout the series "We've got an office chair curling challenge with Sigue Sigue Sputnik, a version of Russian roulette with 80's pop sensations Go West and six eggs, dwarf climbing, and arm wrestling with Shaun Ryder and Andy Crane."
Genre: Game Show
Running Time: 30 minutes (approx)
Database last updated: 22 February - 19:00