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supersw-1We’re frantically picking up some items for tonight’s Doodlewash Dinner offering. But the big question lingers on our minds.

Can we find all the items on Dale’s Shopping List?

I’m sure anybody subjected to Supermarket Sweep with Dale Winton will still to this day have visions ingrained in the memory – visions of pastel sweaters, cheesy grins and curious inflatables. As you’d never have guessed, the format was poached from the US, and ran from 1993 to 2001 – who knew it lasted that long? – occupying a mid-morning slot on ITV. With the transmission as it was, my memories are sparse; I remember it solely as a ‘treat’ for being ill and out of school.

In the show, teams of two would tackle various puzzles – usually simple word games – in a bid to earn extra time and track down the items that Dale is looking for – the lazy sod can’t go find them himself.

That comprises round one; from round two, it’s unadulterated mayhem… by which I mean, even worse than your local supermarket on a weekend morning. The Big Sweep essentially sees the teams race off like lunatics, trying to fill their trolleys. A lot of things will get thrown around or broken in this round – tsk, such a waste. And how exciting it is to see expert shoppers filling their vehicle with turkeys – turkey-shaped emblems of greed. It’s here where the giant inflatables I’ve tried to recreate make an appearance, boasting cash prizes. The exciting bit is at the end of the round, where contestants peel off the ‘bonus’ tag and try to feign their joy at its underwhelming value. Was it really worth ramming that poor woman?

The team who have done the most expensive shop then progress to the denouement, the Super Sweep, which is rather like a miniature, sixty-second version of  Treasure Hunt; a trail of clue to clue, item to item, crash to crash. If they get to the last item they find the cash – a cool two grand. If they lose, they get to keep the cash won previously. And that’s basically it, excepting one or two corny catchphrases from our Dale in his farewell.

It’s probably best left in those weird mornings where I was removed from routine and wondering what my friends were up to. However, the idea of a real-life sweep often strikes tempting… goodness, that’d be a birthday party and a half.  But not the show. I could never survive the sweaters, nor the smiling.

Next time you’re at the checkout and hear the beep, think of the fun you could be having thank God you’re not on Supermarket Sweep!