It’s throwback Thursday and I’m excited to talk about one of the most loved and watched series in the 90s. It was an Amaka Igwe flick and she did marvelously well with the series. I bet you all know the series already- It’s Checkmate!
Checkmate, aired on NTA, ran from 1991 to 1995 and it was sponsored by Lever Brothers Nigeria (now Unilever). The series undoubtedly unveiled the genius that is Amaka Igwe to the Nigerian film industry and indeed to the world. Checkmate featured the greats like Richard Mofe Damijo, Ego Boyo, Bimbo Manuels, Francis Duru, and lots of other industry giants in their youthful days.
The story revolves around some families in Nigeria drawn from different backgrounds and orientation- the Haastrups, a wealthy family with many enemies who are bent on destroying them, the Fujis, a polygamous family with the everyday struggles of living together as one, the Edems, a typical middle-class family and other families dealing with challenges faced in the average Nigerian home. The popular family sitcom- Fuji House of Commotion is a spinoff of Checkmate. (for those that didn’t know)
Checkmate was not just another series in the days, it was a well thought out and scripted work with actors who knew their craft delivering exceptionally as professionals. The series told the story of Ann Haastrup who went all out to bring back the glory of Haastrup Investments, the family business that was mismanaged by her brother Benibo (Francis Agu) and at the same time fight off rivals especially Segun Kadiri (RMD) who made a vow to destroy the Haastrups for the death of his mother.
Chief Fuji who is a board member of Haastrup Investment has a dysfunctional home with many children from three wives who are constantly at war, they fight for his affection and sometimes team up to ward off some of the chief’s mistresses. Chief shuns his financial responsibilities at home and uses his wealth to womanize, this gave rise to pranks by the wives and children who constantly seek new and creative ways to get money from him. There are other interesting parts to the family drama series that once held the nation spellbound and glued to their television sets most evenings.
There is no doubt that Checkmate amassed a cult following back in the days, and in this day and era when streaming online is common, it will be nice to have a rerun of the series in the digital space, what do you think? There are some other fascinating stories and scenes in the series, which can you remember? Join the conversation in the comment section, let’s relive old times.