Since the dawn of time the TV schedules have been littered with quiz shows, some which stood the test of time and stuck around for ages and others that only survived a year or two.

The ones I remember being on when I was growing up are things like Mastermind, University Challenge, A Question of Sport, Countdown, The Krypton Factor, Fifteen to One… and so the list goes on.

These shows are obviously all different, but they are similar in one way - everything depends on the skill and knowledge of the contestants.  Okay, you had to be lucky enough to get the questions that you knew the answer to but apart from that there wasn’t any luck involved.

Nowadays, TV quiz shows - or gameshows as they are now known - are split into two categories.  Some are like those from days gone by - like Eggheads, The Weakest Link, Who Wants to be a Millionaire - and the rest are centred around the contestant’s luck and greed - such as Deal or No Deal, Goldenballs and the like.

I think it’s a poor reflection on the state of our society that it’s the latter shows which would appear to be more popular.

I can understand why people are attracted to going on the shows - huge prizes are the incentive and the fact that they don’t actually have to have any knowledge or show real skill to win big makes it all the more alluring.

If we take Deal or No Deal and Goldenballs as examples, the strangest thing about them is that due to the format of both shows even winners can walk away disappointed with what they have won.  Let me explain - in Deal or No Deal, say you are left with 2 boxes and you know one has 1p in it and the other has £250,000.  The banker gets on the blower and offers you £95,000 in exchange for you leaving the game and not taking your chances on opening the last two boxes.

After a bit of thought you decide it’s not worth the risk and take his offer.  If your box is later opened to reveal 1p then you leave ecstatic, over the moon but if it turns out you had the £250,000 box then you are gutted, totally dejected at “losing” £157,000.

This is of course a crazy way to think - you arrived at the studio that day with nothing, so leaving it with £95,000 should be seen as a hugely impressive day’s work.  No doubt once they actually have the cash in the bank, the contestants will realise this but at the time during the recording of the programme you can see the disappointment, almost despair in some cases, on their faces as it’s all revealed.

There’s something compelling about watching all this unfold though for some reason, ashamed as I am to admit it - though I must admit I prefer the more skillful shows.

What I really don’t understand about the two shows mentioned is that almost every contestant appears to be psychic - or thinks they are anyway.

Come the end of Goldenballs, two contestants take it in turn to sort out the eleven closed balls which are left.  One ball is binned and then one ball is added to the prizefund - each ball looks the same and has a hidden value written inside, so obviously it’s totally down to luck which values are binned and which are kept.

But people don’t see it as luck - instead they claim to have good feelings and bad feelings about certain balls which is simply ludicrous.  They all look the same, they all are the same apart from a number written inside and there’s no way of telling what it says without seeing it - is there?

The same story is true of Deal or No Deal, with noone knowing what value is actually inside each box - but that doesn’t deter people from insisting day after day that they pick certain boxes because of a multitude of reasons, none of which have any basis in fact.

I really wish someone would go on there and simply start opening the boxes from 1 and working their way up to 20, but then again I bet anyone who doesn’t show some kind of quirky tendancies will have been weeded out by the producers.

Presenter Noel Edmonds does a brilliant job of egging these people on, but I’m sure privately he must think some of them are completely looney.  Then again having seen some of the shirts he wears, perhaps he’s in that category himself.

Now, where’s my crystal ball and those gameshow application forms…