UKGameshows.com is particularly well-known for the weekly news and reviews column "Weaver's Week", written by Iain Weaver, which launched in 2001. A complete archive of back issues is available on the site.
The UKGameshows.com website was originally called The UK Game Show Page, a small section of game show fan Chris M. Dickson's personal website. This was set up in 1996 as a spin-off from his popular email discussion list, ukgs-l (since succeeded by a Yahoo Groups list). The page consisted of rules sheets for some game shows of the time, as well as "Chris Compares" programme reviews and various links of interest.
From October 1998, game show consultant and puzzle writer David J. Bodycombe co-founded with Dickson a fuller version of the site, using a list compiled by TV fan Jez Rogers as a basis. The site was updated manually using standard FrontPage software.
With the explosion in the popularity of game shows, and rapid increase in the number of British digital TV channels, the site was relaunched using MediaWiki software in 2004 so that volunteer editors could keep the database up-to-date.
As its name suggests, the site covers game shows made in the United Kingdom. Imported programmes are not included unless they have significant UK input, such as the Eurovision Song Contest. The site's definition of "game show" is wide-ranging, taking in such diverse styles as pre-school observation games (e.g. The Shiny Show), traditional quizzes and panel games, reality television, and talent shows such as New Faces and Opportunity Knocks. Regional shows (including those made in languages other than English) are included, though typically in less detail than those broadcast nationwide. The oldest programme featured is Spelling Bee from 1938, which is believed to be the world's first television game show.
Traditionally the site has included only television shows, but this has now changed and a number of the more notable radio shows are included as well.
UKGameshows.com has twice polled its readers on the subject of the greatest British game shows and game show hosts. In the first poll, held in 2002, The Mole was voted "greatest UK game show of all time", with The Crystal Maze second. In the second poll, which took place in 2006, these positions were reversed.
Bruce Forsyth was named "greatest host of all time" in both 2002 and 2006.
Two further polls were carried out in January 2006, asking readers to select the best and worst new game shows of the previous year. Deal or No Deal was chosen as the best new show (polling more than three times as many votes as its nearest rival), while Celebrity Love Island was named the worst.
In January 2007, readers were again asked to vote on the previous year's shows. PokerFace was voted best new format of 2006, The Mint was chosen as the worst, and a new category, dubbed "The Golden Fiver", for the best game show of the year (not restricted to new formats) was won by Deal or No Deal.
The winners of the 2007 poll, announced in January 2008, were: Golden Balls for best new format, For The Rest Of Your Life for worst new format, and Deal or No Deal retained its "Golden Fiver" award for best overall show.
In 2006, a screenshot from the site was altered and used in a piece on the satire site BS News which was also widely circulated as a spoof email , in which it was purported to show a contestant named Kathy Evans on the US version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? failing to answer a simple $100 question. In fact the screenshot pictured 1999 UK contestant Fiona Wheeler answering a different (and harder) question. Far from failing at the first question, Wheeler won £32,000.
In the 2005 book ITV Cultures, published by the Open University Press, UKGameshows.com is used as a case study in the chapter Who Wants to be a Fan of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" by Matt Hills. Hills discusses the site's methodology at length, and uses the site (in particular its entry for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and the results of its 2002 poll) as an example to support his argument that big money game shows can be appreciated on an aesthetic as well as a commercial level.