Challenge Anneka

BBC (ended 1995)


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Challenge Anneka

Show Summary

Challenge Anneka was produced by Mentom for the BBC and was shown on BBC1 on a Saturday Evening slot from 1989 to 1995. The format was first tried as a one of stunt for Children in Need in 1987. The basic idea of the show was that Anneka Rice would be challenge to complete a charitable project of some sort in a set period of time with no knowledge of the project beforehand. The catch was that she did not have any money to do these tasks but instead has to convince people to donate the materials that where needed for the challenge. These challenges featured locations both in England and abroad. During the Challenges Anneka would be based in a large Blue Mobile home and when travelling to companies to try and get them to donate items or expertise would use a small blue "4x4" buggy. She was also one of the first people to be seem regularly using a mobile phone, this she used to organise meetings with companies and other organisational purposes. You often also got to see her soundman Dave Chapman on screen as he would frequently help her out. Another frequent face was Pedro the dog. A lot of the fun in the show was as a lot of these types of programs seeing if they would complete the project in time. Occasionally they would not quite make their deadline that was typically 2 or 3 days but the people working on the project usually volunteered to stay on and complete it if this was the case. Some examples of the challenges Anneka received are that she was asked to build an orphanage in Kenya in 48 hours, where as in another episode they restored a historic pier in Swansea or to restore a Playbus for disadvantaged children. One reason the show was so interesting was the wide range of challenges Anneka faced. These challenges where usually started by Anneka looking out for someone in a particular area she had been tipped off about from a articulated lorry which was used when collecting items for the show. The challenge would normally be written on a piece of card often in someone possession. For example "this child has no where live and needs a place at an orphanage" with the back of the card having something like "you need to build the orphanage". This show won a "Bronze Rose of Montreux" in 1991 and was nominated for two BAFTA TV Awards in the same year in the categories of "Best Sound Supervisor" for Dave Chapman and "Best Video Cameraman" for Martin Hawkins.

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  • Challenge Anneka was a pre-cursor to reality TV. Except that it actually had goodwill at its heart.

    Why hasn\'t Challenge Anneka been brought back? Not only was it family friendly entertainment but it had a formula which has been copied to great effect in shows like Extreme Makeover : Home Edition. The brief was simple, every week, presenter Anneka Rice would be issued a challenge, to build a community garden, repair a children\'s play area, build a school hall etc. Then she would set about mooching free stuff from local businesses and enforcing labour on the townspeople until she had completed her task.

    I can understand that when this programme was axed, it was due to viewer apathy. Why should we help to build a community centre when yobs will just smash it within days? Why should those kids get a free play area when I had to work down a mine at 13? Poor old Anneka was too wholesome and too full of goodwill to please the audiences of the mid-nineties, who were too busy watching young lawyers fornicate in This Life, or wondering who killed Laura Palmer.

    I think Challenge Anneka is due a revival. Why not bring in young yobs on ASBOs and force them to do the work wearing orange jumpsuits? That way you\'d get the Daily Mail readers watching at least...moreless
  • Challenge Anneka was a show based around completing charitable projects without any funding in a short period of time. Anneka Rice would be told to go to a certain place and then recieve a challange. It was a very good show and for worthwhile causes. Bestmoreless

    Challenge Anneka is classic TV at it's best. It was a refreshing idea in which Anneka would be asked to complete a charitable act without any funding by solely relying on donations and people giving up their time for a good cause. It is the best ever reality TV show I have ever seen because it was about helping people in need. Anneka's challenges included building an Orphanage for Children in Kenya amoungst others. It was always great fun to watch Anneka Rice rushing around in her '4x4' buggy coaxing people into donating the materials and skills that where needed so she could successfully complete the Challenge she had been given. It was also a show where every member of the team pulled their own weight, even the soundman was often seen on camera lending a hand. The nearest eqivelent of this show today is ground force but it doesn't match the scale of the projects that Anneka was given. I would love to see this show brought back. I also really liked the theme tune to the show, you can presently find it here:
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