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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 10:28 GMT
R.I.P. ITV Play
ITV Play, a digital channel dedicated to audience participation quizzes, has picked up its ball and gone home.

After a week on stand-by, when it was taken off air during an inquiry into premium-rate phone services, the station has been reduced to white dot status.

The Mint presenter Brian Dowling
ITV Play has earned millions

Bosses say the decision was "commercial" although friends of ITV Play will have foreseen its demise amid the rapidly unfolding premium-rate phone-ins inquiry, which has engulfed all the major TV broadcasters, including the BBC.

Even in the thrusting young world of multi-channel digital TV, ITV Play was a youthful contender - it only having launched at the end of March last year, on ITV1, which would hand over to it at midnight.

Its initial performance looked highly promising and, within a month, ITV Play graduated to become a standalone digital channel broadcasting 24/7.

A bevy of toothsome young presenters fronting shows such as Quizmania and the Call, served up general knowledge questions, brainteasers and, on occasion, baffling puzzles.

Lured by the promise of big cash prizes, audiences were invited to dial-in, at a 75p flat rate, in the hope of getting on air. But at peak times, the odds of getting through could be as high as 1,000 to one.


At times, ITV Play exhibited a mischievous streak which revealed itself in frankly obtuse quiz-setting. This was no better illustrated than in the example of the show which asked viewers to name 12 things that might be found in a woman's handbag.

Despite callers' persistent efforts to name them all, several mystery items continued elude them, until it was revealed the imagined handbag included a "balaclava" and "Rawlplugs".

For this digression, ITV Play earned a stiff rebuke from the broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom.

Examples such as this led to a sense, among some, that ITV Play rewarded sheer luck, rather than a sharpened mind. In blunt terms, it was suggested the channel had more in common with running lotteries than Mastermind-style games of skill.

Presenter, Brian Dowling, was exceptional among ITV Play's front-of camera line-up for being vaguely known to a wider audience - he having one-time been a winner of Channel 4's Big Brother.

ITV Play the channel is survived by the ITV Play service which will continue to have phone-in quizzes during the night on ITV1 and ITV2.

No flowers.

Add your tributes using the form below.

It will be sorely... a) mashed b) missed c) petunia
Simon, King's Lynn

Deadringers summed it up best the other week - "Name something you would find in the Universe! We've given you two answers already, London and Walnuts." Hello to all the buffoons who call premium rate numbers and expect to get something in return.
Rob G, Cambridgeshire

I think it's a good thing that ITV Play has been removed. The first time I watched it I phoned up until I realised it was pointless as the answers were so far removed from reality. They are not the only guilty ones, I remember a local Radio station running a competition 'What's In The Box?' after seven months and thousands of phonecalls and postal entries it was revealed that the box contained a paper mache model of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's head and they were amazed no-one got it!
Le Bunty, Seaforth, Merseyside

Gone and, hopefully, soon forgotten...

Thank goodness this tripe has been taken off the air. The quizzes were tedious, obtuse and utterly pointless, whilst the presenters were pathetically desperate for stardom. Good riddance.
Simon Gibson, Nottingham

Oh, thank goodness! A sadder load of plastic, over-contrived, obviously money-spinning, boring twaddle can never be imagined than ITV Play. I can only hope ITV now goes back to showing classic films overnight, which was a joy for us insominacs, instead of programmes that assumed it's viewers had a IQ slightly less than than of a duck.
Michelle, London

Tributes? is this not for when something will be missed or people will grieve? I think not in this case, good riddance to a channel that has bled many people dry, with stupid questions, rules printed so small, they are not clear and annoying "celebrity" presenters. Its a shame the ITV Play brand will live on with ITV1 & ITV2, i was hoping it would mean there would be something half decent to watch when i get home from work in the small hours of the night! and on Freeview what do we get in its place? ITV2+1, More Corronation St, Emmerdale & Jeremy Kyle repeats! My TV viewing is complete! hmmm.....
Kev, Manchester

For your last chance to win 20,000 simply answer the following "What do the letters R.I.P. stand for?" Phone your answer to 0901... (The required answer is Redundant Interactive Programme)
Ian, Ledbury, Herefordshire

I have mixed emotions about the demise of ITV Play. Guess which of the following emotions I'm feeling: (a)delighted; (b) sad; (c) relieved; (d) biscuits; (e) off-white; (f) Stu Francis; (g) cycling helmets; (h) bacon. That's right! The answer's (z) plastic spoons! What was the question again?
Fat Roland, Manchester

Alas, just a year in, ITV Play has passed on, after being in a coma for the last week. Personally, I don't think it should have been created anyway, but what do you think? Please call our Premium-Rate phone lines and we guarantee that they'll be a 25% chance of us actually registering your call.
Mark Ivey, Hartlepool, UK

Which of these is the correct way to respond to this news: A) Wooping and cheering. B) Buying an Elephant. C) David Beckham. If you think you know phone 09870150155123 and you could be significantly poorer. Good Luck!
Paul Hennell, Lincoln UK

I have signed pictures of the presenters from the Quizmania section of the show. I am now willing to auction these off to the highest bidder. I will soon give you a number to call in regards to this, but I cannot guarantee you will get through.
Steve, Glasgow

A year too late.
Adam, Bournemouth

Good riddance! Television for the hard of thinking - what a waste of airtime.
Stan Still, Midlands

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Phone-in channel ITV Play is axed
13 Mar 07 |  Entertainment

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