Challenge Anneka gets rave TV reviews and nostalgic viewers delighted by return

Anneka Rice was back with Dave The Soundman, her jeep and a much smaller mobile phone to help renovate a pet rescue centre.

Anneka Rice in Challenge Anneka. (Channel 5)
Anneka Rice's Challenge Anneka reboot is a hit with fans and critics. (Channel 5)

Anneka Rice's reboot of Challenge Anneka has been hailed by TV critics and nostalgic fans as "amazing" as it was 30 years ago.

The 64-year-old TV presenter was back with Dave [Chapman] The Soundman, her jeep and a much smaller mobile phone helping unite a community by drumming up volunteers and donations for a charity project on Channel 5 on Saturday night.

The first episode of the new series saw Rice and her team help renovate animal rescue centre Foal Farm in Kent.

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The Telegraph awarded the show four our of five stars saying: "Anneka Rice is back on TV and, frankly, I don’t know how we’ve managed without her. The woman is a ray of sunshine... Wisely, the executives in charge have decided not to meddle with the format or the details, so we also have lovely Dave the Soundman returning as Rice’s loyal companion."

Anneka Rice in Challenge Anneka. (Channel 5)
Anneka Rice's first challenge was at a dog rescue centre in Kent. (Channel 5)

The Mail also awarded the show four stars, writing: "Anneka is still buzzing around in a helicopter with Dave the Soundman, tackling ambitious community projects at breakneck speed.

If anything, she's got saucier with age. Flirting with an electrical supplier who invited her to ransack his warehouse, she told him, 'Thank you for letting us rummage in your back area."

The Guardian gave the show three stars but said: "Challenge Anneka walked so DIY SOS could run, and now it’s back and it deserves its credit... Rice agrees to get the impossible done, helping a charity or organisation in their hour of need, pulling together volunteers, donations and a load of elbow grease, ending up with a truly amazing achievement that leaves a wonderful feelgood glow in the belly."

Watch: Anneka Rice discusses bringing back Challenge Anneka after 30 years

Challenge Anneka originally ran on BBC1 from 1989 to 1995.

Viewers were delighted to see it revived on Channel 5, exactly as they remembered it.

One said: "Apart from the adverts - it’s like #ChallengeAnneka never went away! So often they’ve tried bringing old classics back and changing elements that didn’t need changing.. Not with this old gem, it’s just as good as 30 years ago! Anneka nor Dave have barely aged either!!"

Anneka Rice in Challenge Anneka. (Channel 5)
Challenge Anneka viewers were delighted to she the show, and host Anneka Rice had not changed at all.(Channel 5)

Another tweeted: "#ChallengeAnneka is not disappointing just as amazing as it always was! Brilliant challenge for the first show too. Even in hard times for businesses it’s great to see local people helping out. Love this show."

Another another commented: "Great seeing Anneka back in the buggy with Dave the sound man plus a cameraman squashed in too! All the old elements back in place!"

It brought back childhood memories for many, with one viewer sharing: "Watching the return of #ChallengeAnneka on C5 & am immediately transported back to being a kid watching this in the late 80s/early 90s. Enjoyable stuff. Used to love this show. Love that they’ve kept same theme music & have the same type of animated intro."

Anneka Rice in Challenge Anneka. (Channel 5)
Anneka Rice launched the new series of Challenge Anneka in a helicopter. (Channel 5)

Another said: "Loving the return of #ChallengeAnneka not just a very welcome nostalgia fest - but seeing kind folks all coming together to make a difference for others is nourishing for the head n heart. @BBCOne you fools. @AnnekaRice you wonderful beautiful soul you haven’t changed!"

And while many viewers noted the show's format is very similar to the BBC's DIY SOS with Nick Knowles, several congratulated Channel 5 for making the decision to bring the show back.

One tweeted: "So good to see #ChallengeAnneka & @AnnekaRiceback on TV, and near enough no different to how we all know and love it - well done @channel5_tv."

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Another agreed: "How great is the new series of #ChallengeAnneka? All the elements that made the original such a great show are there and how amazing is the lovely @AnnekaRice! Finally something to look forward to watch on a Saturday night! Well done @channel5_tv for bringjng back this fab show!"