Stephen Merchant appeared on British game show ‘Blockbusters’ long before ‘The Office’


We have seen many celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Harry Styles make a career out of their appearances on competition shows. While some stars have risen to fame through movies or music, others have become household names through game shows. For example, Stephen Merchant appeared on the British game show blockbuster movie long before making a hit with Office.

The premise of the game show ‘Blockbusters’

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blockbuster movie was a British game show based on a similar American quiz show. The show involves a single player and a team of two players answering trivial questions. Questions are identified by an initial of the answer, and the player must complete the path through or on a game board of hexes.

The UK version of the show premiered in 1981, with the pilot airing the following year. The significant difference between the UK and US versions is that the US edition was designed for adults while the UK edition was designed for sixth graders (AKA 16 and 17).

An adult edition broadcast in 1997 on BBC Two, hosted by Michael Aspen. blockbuster movie had a popular end credits performance involving contestants doing hand jives that aired in Friday episodes. The gesture first appeared in 1986 after a contestant grew bored after filming several shows a day while waiting for his turn.

The gesture was incorporated into the game and lasted for the rest of the original series. Blockbusters ran for 10 seasons from 1983 to 1993 on ITV before moving to Sky One for two non-consecutive seasons in 1994 and 2000. BBC Two took over for one season in 1997 and Challenge for another in 2012, while Comedy Central ran the show for two 20-episode seasons in 2019.

Stephen Merchant appeared in ‘Blockbusters’ years before ‘The Office’

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Stephen Merchant rose to fame with the UK Office. However, a few years before the sitcom became the big deal it is today, Merchant appeared on blockbuster movieaccording News Feed. The writer appeared on the show in 1997 to navigate the game board by answering trivial questions.

Although he started well, he ended up weak with 15 points against 50 points for his opponents. Merchant talked about his aspirations and revealed that he wrote and also shared that he wanted to get into broadcasting, and as we know, his dreams came true.

Stephen Merchant’s hit post ‘The Office’

Stephen Merchant and the cast of ‘The Office’ | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Office airing for the first time, it experienced low ratings, so Stephen Merchant and his co-writer and co-director Ricky Gervais did other work during filming. However, after airing in the United States, the series received critical acclaim and spawned a highly successful American remake which aired in 2005.

The show went on to win a Golden Globe Award. Gervais and Merchant continued to work together on radio shows and began recording a weekly podcast in 2005. The podcast was ranked the most popular in the world, with Guinness World Records certifying it as the most downloaded podcast of all time. .

That same year, Gervais and Merchant began filming a series entitled Supplements which followed the lives of extras working in film, television and theatre. Merchant played Gervais’ character’s incompetent agent, a role that won him a British Comedy Award.

In 2007 Merchant began hosting a radio show on BBC 6 Music called Steve’s showwhich aired for four seasons and ended in 2009. Merchant continued to do stand-up comedy before starring in a sitcom in 2013 titled Hi girls.

Merchant has landed small roles in movies including The Invention of Lying, Run Fat Boy Run, Tooth Fairy, and Warm fuzz. He has also appeared in various TV shows including Modern family, life is too much Short, and short poppies.

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