The Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) variety programme, Takeshi’s Castle, celebrates its tenth year on the air in the UK with a new six-part series scheduled to broadcast in the UK starting March 8, 2013. The show is being reintroduced as Takeshi’s Castle Rebooted with the award-winning comic duo Rich and Dom (Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood) taking over as the voices of the show. The new series is partly filmed in Japan during a visit by the UK programme producer to Tokyo.
Originally aired in Japan from 1986 to 1990, Takeshi’s Castle was a highly popular viewer-participation entertainment show. On each show, a volunteer army of viewers, under the leadership of General Tani (Hayato Tani), known as General Lee in the UK, would storm the castle defended by Count Takeshi (Beat Takeshi), who drove them into a series of wacky obstacles with some hilarious mishaps along the way. Even after going off the air, Takeshi’s Castle has remained popular in Japan and around the world and has been sold into 159 countries and territories.
In the late 1990’s the UK version began airing semi-regularly as part of another show Tarrant on TV. Then in November 2002, Takeshi’s Castle became a regular programme on BSkyB’s Challenge channel. It has been on the air ever since, becoming a cult favourite known nationwide. Despite the fact that no new episodes have been produced since 1989 in Japan or the UK, Takeshi’s Castle has amassed such a loyal fan following that it has been selected the most popular programme on Challenge.
Particularly popular in Europe, the series has been recreated in English, German, Italian and many other languages, and stars Beat Takeshi and Hayato Tani have attracted broad international fan followings.