Dubai: Gulf News is proud to announce the revival of one of its most popular promotions ever: a competition for readers based on the hugely successful British game show Blockbusters.
The event, which ran from 1988 to 1994, is making a long awaited comeback after 14 years in the wilderness to form part of Gulf News' 30th birthday celebrations.
The competition will be held throughout Ramadan with the finals scheduled for after Eid Al Fitr in October. There will also be a special Champions Challenge Team match in which previous champions will compete against this year's Seniors Team winners.
Heats will be held between September 1 and 29 at the Dubai Community Theatre and Art Centre (Ductac) at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates from 3pm to 6pm.
Quarter finals and finals will be held on October 17 and 18 at Ductac over two sessions on both days, one for juniors and the other for seniors and adults.
In 1988, Gulf News adapted a version of the TV sensation Blockbusters and ran it as a month long event, with the heats during Ramadan and the finals after Eid Al Fitr.
It proved to be hugely popular and ran every year until 1994 with hundreds of people participating over those six years. Fremantle Media, which now owns the rights to Blockbusters, has given Gulf News permission to press ahead with this year's event.
Naheed Patel, Gulf News' Promotions Manager, said she was extremely excited about the competition's return. "I have been involved since the very beginning and I remember it used to be so much fun; it's a fantastic way to spend the afternoons during Ramadan. There's no doubt Blockbusters is one of our most successful ever promotions and it ran for several years."
"The interest levels were very high and in 1994 we had over 1,400 people competing for the championship. We had to turn people away because it was so popular. Parents were thanking us for keeping their children amused and instead of playing computer games the youngsters spent the month looking up words in the dictionary."
Colette Van Dyk, Gulf News' Group Marketing Manager, added: "We are thrilled to bring this exciting event back to the UAE. It was phenomenally successful when we last ran it 14 years ago and we're hoping to repeat that success with this revival."
Gulf News Blockbusters is being supported by the Al Futtaim Group, who also sponsored the event in the late 80s and early 90s. There are fabulous prizes to be won in all categories in addition to daily audience prizes.
The event is being presented by Plug-Ins Electronics and the prizes are being provided courtesy of Toshiba. There are first, second, joint third and fourth prizes in each category as well as prizes to be won for audience questions each day.
Santosh Varghese, Regional General Manager of Toshiba Gulf Fze, said: "Toshiba is pleased to be associated as sponsor for the Gulf News Blockbuster's prizes this year.
"Along-with our partners Al Futtaim in the UAE we are confident this is a positive step in reaching out to the target market.
"We are proud of the history of Toshiba, recently passing a million units sold within the region. Our future is bright with a full suite of new products being introduced this month. On the occasion of Ramadan we wish Ramadan Kareem to all."
Lucy-Anna Rowden, Director of Marketing and Development at Ductac, said: "Ductac is extremely pleased to be partnering with Gulf News in the world famous Blockbusters Quiz event to be held in the Mall of the Emirates' Kilachand Theatre."
She said: "We are always very excited to be promoting the academic talent that thrives within the UAE and through this famous British TV concept we are expecting outstanding individuals to emerge and shoot for the stars. Ductac is proud to support Gulf News in their 30th year celebrations and will continue in co-presenting Dubai's cultural excellence."
The format of the game will involve two opponents, a quizmaster and a honeycomb-shaped board. Competitors move across the board either vertically or horizontally by answering questions correctly. The winner is the first person to connect to the other side. During the heats a match is the best of three games.
Bob Holness, who famously presented the British version of Blockbusters for many years, acted as quizmaster at the Gulf News version for many years. However, he is unfortunately unable to make the trip to Dubai for the long-awaited return of Gulf News' competition.
He wrote in an e-mail sent to Gulf News: "On instruction from my doctor and my family I have slowed down a fair amount. I still do a bit of charity work and the occasional guest appearance but I keep it simple."
"I must admit the thought of returning to Dubai gave me a pang and I know we would love to see the changes that have occurred but it's just not feasible. I'm sad to have to turn down your lovely offer but I know it's for the best."
But one former Gulf News Blockbusters host is returning to the action. Stuart McClean, Senior LEAD Programme Manager at Aldar Properties, hosted the event for several years when it was in its original guise.
"I'm really looking forward to being quizmaster again. I have fond memories of the event and can't wait to resume my role."
Get registered now as there are loads of fantastic prizes to be won!
Daily adverts will appear in Gulf News throughout Ramadan with an entry form inviting participation. To enter the participant must fill out the form and either post or fax it to Gulf News or send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forms for seniors and juniors categories have to contain a passport photocopy for age verification. Juniors' entries must also be signed by a parent or guardian.