Lorra lorra laughs…
This week we heard the sad news of Cilla Black’s death. She’ll be fondly remembered as a hit solo artist and latterly as the queen of British game shows. So we’ve been reminiscing about our favourite TV games shows back in the days before The X Factor and Strictly ruled Saturday night…
The series had an 18-year life span and was the highlight of Saturday night telly. Presented by the lovely Cilla Black, the show featured three singles of the same sex who were introduced to the audience before being quizzed by the contestant looking for a blind date. The singles sat behind a panel and answered questions. The contestant picked their date and an envelope was produced with details of their date, often abroad to a dream destination. And Cilla would theatrically deliberate whether to buy a hat for a future wedding if a date went well. (Very occasionally, contestants actually did get married.) Even now, entire families still say “And here’s our Graham with a quick reminder…”
Give Us A Clue
This long-running show (1979-1992) was just two teams of celebrities playing charades. Hosted by Michael Aspel from 1979 to 1984, followed by Michael Parkinson from 1984 to 1992, the teams were captained by tap dancing showman Lionel Blair and giggly actress Una Stubbs (now Mrs Hudson in Sherlock).
All they had to do was act out the titles of books, films or TV shows, and if the team failed to guess, the others could play for a bonus point. Effectively, it was like Christmas at your auntie’s house – but on TV.
3-2-1 – Take it or leave it?
Presented by Ted Rogers, a former Butlins Redcoat (and you could tell), it was really three shows in one – quiz show, variety show and game show.
To win the game, a contestant had to survive elimination through to part three of the show, and try to unravel a series of cryptic clues in order to win the star prize. The booby prize was Dusty Bin, back in the days before the wheelie bin, and the couple with the least money would go home with a ceramic Dusty Bin. Famous for his lightening 3-2-1 hand gesture, Ted Rogers hosted this popular Saturday night show for ten years.
Blankety Blank – Supermatch prizes!
The show was presented by Terry Wogan then Les Dawson from1979-90. Regular members of the celebrity panel included Kenny Everett, Lorraine Chase, Gareth Hunt, Gary Davies and Cheryl Baker. The show was revived to Lily Savage (Paul O’Grady) in 1997 for two years. Two contestants would go head to head and try to match the Blank answers given by the panel. Prizes were modest compared to today’s standards but Les Dawson made a joke of this, often referring to them as fire –damaged salvage. There were lots of one-liners and double entendre answers – it was truly a classic of the 80s, not to be missed.
Blockbusters – I’ll have a ‘P’ please Bob!
The lovely Bob Holness was the presenter of this quiz show for a younger audience as it was aired after school every weekday from1983-90. The contestants, sixth-form students, would answer trivia questions to complete a path across a board of hexagons. The winning round involved the Gold Run and the game board was the full height of the studio. Each Friday the contestants were permitted to perform a hand jive during the end credits to the catchy theme tune, which was what passed for fun in those days.
Sale of the Century – and now from Norwich, it’s the quiz of the week…
Hosted by Nicholas Parsons from 1971-83, contestants answered questions for money that they could spend in the Instant Sales where prizes were hidden behind a curtain. The announcer would mention the price and contestants could buzz in to buy it once the curtain was open. In the final round the winner could spend their money on a choice of several grand prizes or they could answer a series of questions in the Sale of the Century to win a car! In the 70s the show had 20 million viewers and was considered true family entertainment.
The Generation Game – “Nice to see you to see you nice”
Four teams of two from the same family, but different generations, competed to win prizes. The show was first broadcast in 1971 under the title Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game and ran until 1982, and again from 1990 until 2002. A highlight and final round of the show was the ‘conveyor belt’, where a contestant watched items pass on the conveyer belt and would recall as many as they could remember to win them within a set time. There was always a cuddly toy as well as a fondue set and dinner service. The audience would shout out the names of objects to help out, thus rendering the game pointless.
Mr and Mrs – love one another…
With a catchy theme tune written by Tony Hatch and hosted by Derek Batey from 1972 for 20 years (and then briefly by Julian Carey in 1999) the show was very popular and involved two couples answering questions picked from the iconic Mr & Mrs pink envelopes about their everyday life. Each partner would sit in a sound-proof booth wearing large headphones, looking hopelessly embarrassed. If a couple answered six out of six question correctly they could win a jackpot cash prize. All couples were given the famous Mr & Mrs carriage clock, “with all our love…”
Call My Bluff – true or bluff
Presented by Robert Robinson, the aim of the game was for two teams of three celebrity contestants to guess the correct meaning of an obscure word such as Ablewhacket or Hickboo. One meaning of the three given would be correct and the other team had to guess which one, the other two being “bluffs”. Celebrity contestants included Frank Muir, Robert Morley and Joanna Lumley. There was a lot of adlibbing and laughter due to some bluffs being incredibly far fetched – but the celebrity still had to do their best to convince the other team that they were telling the truth.