For a certain generation of kids-turned-adults Fun House was, and still is, something approaching televisual perfection.
Broadcast for over decade on CITV, the show’s winning combination of gunge-based obstacles, go-karting and fairground-style attractions made for essential viewing to millions each and every week.
Traditionally broadcast on Fridays, it was also the perfect way for kids up and down the land to celebrate the start of the weekend and a night of no homework with DJ-turned-presenter Pat Sharp conducting the mayhem aided by stunning cheerleader assistants Melanie and Martina Grant.
Throw in the booming voice of Gary King as announcer and an absolutely banging theme tune and it’s little wonder that Fun House continues to enjoy a second life on Challenge TV to this day.
So when loaded got in touch with Pat Sharp, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and find out the answer to some burning Fun House related questions we had.
Like how Pat ended up on the show, what the hell was in that gunge and whether he ever had to deal with any absolute toe-rags over the course of his 146-episode stint.
loaded: How did you first become involved in Fun House?
Sharp: My agent sent me a VHS with the American version on to watch and see if I thought it was something that might suit me to host if the UK was to make its own version.
loaded: Had the twins (Melanie and Martina Grant) already signed up for the show?
Sharp: No, we auditioned together and I also auditioned with another two girls who were not twins. Plus, John Leslie auditioned with both sets of cheerleaders too.
loaded: You always seemed to have good chemistry with the twins on the show – did you get on well with them away from the cameras?
Sharp: We remain close friends today and they often come and see me and my family, so yes we have always got on well. On the show we had a natural rapport together from day one and it came across on the television that we were good friends too
loaded: Settle an office debate for us – what exactly went into all that gunge they used on the show? Was it paint?
Sharp: Not paint no, but some sort of concoction that the stage hands made behind the scenes in Glasgow at Scottish Television where the shows were all made for ITV.
“The twins used to tell the mouthy kids to take the mick out of my hair”
loaded: And those red and yellow go karts – did you and the crew ever get a chance to drive them yourselves after filming? You must have been pretty decent by the end of the show.
Sharp: The ones on the show were quite slow to be honest, but I often had a quick one that I came in on at the start of the show and did wheel spins with, subsequently leaving massive tyre marks on the studio floor much to the anger of the cleaners and their mops!
loaded: You must have had some favourite and not-so-favourite obstacles from the series too?
Sharp: The spinning revolving twisty things as the kids went in to the Fun House were always interesting as they often caused problems for them before they had even got through the first ball pond. Probably the pure excitement of it all [laughs].
loaded: Health and safety officials would have a field day with Fun House now – are there any obstacles or challenges from back then that you think probably wouldn’t be allowed on TV nowadays? Have kids gone a bit soft?
Sharp: None of it would be allowed! Kids aren’t soft, the rules are just ridiculous!
loaded: Did you ever have an inkling or how popular the show was becoming? Did fans used to mob you?
Sharp: It was always very popular yes, but you must remember that there were only four television channels when we started and no internet or smartphones and social media.
It has a chic cult status today with twenty and thirtysomethings. People often say to me ‘you made my childhood’ which I obviously find extremely kind and humbling.
loaded: Were all the kids on the show? Nice? You must have dealt with a couple of toe rags in your time – any immediately come to mind
Sharp: The twins used to tell the mouthy kids to take the mick out of my hair and the like which was great. I loved the banter though – the more the merrier for me.
loaded: What’s your favourite/funniest memory from your time on Fun House?
Sharp: One kid forgot to stop at the end of the Fun Kart Grand Prix and just carried on and hit me as I was holding the checkered flag. I was pushed through the back of the set! Painful and yet amusing too [laughs].
loaded: When the show did finally end in 1999, did you feel sad or were you happy to move on?
Sharp: We had a pretty good run and I think with my age I was probably on the cusp of looking ‘okay’ on a kids show, but you can’t do it forever.
loaded: How often do you see Melanie and Martin these days? What about Gary King?
Sharp: Twins often, Gary not so much but I do bump into him at various radio stations now and again.
loaded: Does it amaze you at the number of kids, now students and young adults, who loved the show and continue to watch it (on Challenge) to this day?
Sharp: Absolutely, plus second generation viewers too, I get loads of tweets from people who used to watch it as kids and now their kids won’t let them take it off the planner!
loaded: And finally, is there any chance of the show coming back on a more permanent basis? You must have watched the Crystal Maze revival and thought ‘what if’ surely?
Sharp: Watch this space. Re run the fun?!
loaded: Thank you, Pat.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.