You’ve Been Framed! (ITV, 1990-present)
I know that of course this show isn’t particularly obscure but I’d still like to share my memories. In the 1980s, the late Jeremy Beadle hosted shows such as Game For A Laugh and People Do The Funniest Things which featured members of the public in lots of unexpectedly funny moments.
The idea with You’ve Been Framed! would be to feature mishaps that were captured on camcorders, or, as they were always described in the publicity for the show, “home video howlers”. Jeremy Beadle was picked to be the first host of the show, which had two one-off episodes in 1990 before getting its first full series in 1991.
The format of the early series would be that Jeremy would introduce various clips and indeed a lot of them were very funny. He would also talk to a few people who featured in the clips about what happened, and there would be a competition at the end where three clips would be nominated and the studio audience had to vote on which one they thought was the funniest in the show. In the final episode of the series the five winners competed against one another to be voted the overall funniest clip of the series and win the star prize of £5,000.
You’ve Been Framed! was shown on Sunday evenings and became popular very quickly, with £250 promised for every clip that was shown, which is why so many people followed the advice to “bundle it off to Beadle”. A VHS was released of some of the funniest moments and there was also a board game which I used to have.
Around 1994 the format changed. There would no longer be a competition element to the show and the studio was redesigned to make it look as if it was coming from a big house. As well as more funny clips, Jeremy also appeared in a few silly sketches between them. In the mid-90s the show was achieving really big ratings and even beat Coronation Street once to become the most-watched show of the week in Britain.
In 1997 Jeremy Beadle hosted his final series, and for me the show has never really been the same since. Lisa Riley replaced him as host, before one series wonder Jonathan Wilkes came along. Harry Hill then took over as the out-of-vision host. He did manage to breathe some new life into the show, making amusingly odd comments about the clips and helping the show move with the times with viewers now encouraged to send in clips that they had captured on their phones.
Almost 25 years after its debut, You’ve Been Framed! remains a main part of ITV’s schedule, whereas the BBC equivalent Caught In The Act only lasted one series in 1992, and there have been many themed specials as well as the regular episodes. I suppose that as long as people will continue to fall over, it will be funny. That’s why people still want to follow Jeremy’s advice after all these years that if they send in their clip “the star of the show could be you”.