Game Show Memories – You Bet!

You Bet! (ITV, 1988-1997)

The spectacular stunts and dares show which was based on a German format and ran for many years in a weekend slot. The idea was that a contestant would claim that they could complete a challenge, and some of these were very ambitious. For example, they would claim to be able to identify a song by a group from hearing just a few seconds of it, or even from simply looking at the grooves on a vinyl copy. They had practiced a lot but would they be able to succeed on the night in the studio? vlcsnap-00659

There were also lots of sporting challenges that would have to be achieved against the clock and on one occasion the entire show was presented on location. There were some very close finishes and it was always exciting seeing people try to complete their challenge. Everybody who succeeded on the show won a special trophy, and if they failed they received a consolation scroll instead. vlcsnap-00662

Every week a panel of celebrities would take part and say whether they thought that the challenge would be successfully completed or not. 100 studio audience members would then vote on what they thought the outcome would be and then points would be scored by who guessed correctly. Then at the end the highest-scoring celebrity would be declared the winner and all the points would be added together and turned into a money amount to be given to a charity of their choice. vlcsnap-00664

The first few series were hosted by Bruce Forsyth, and he would always begin the show by doing a rap and we all had to join in. After he left and he took his catchphrases with him, Matthew Kelly took over in 1991. Just like with Stars In Their Eyes, although he was the second person to host the show he would become the most associated with it. Every week Matthew as well as the panellists would back a challenge, but if it failed, he would have to do a forfeit. Some of these were very amusing such as having to do tightrope walking and Matthew must have been rather embarrassed by some of them but he was always, er, game for a laugh. vlcsnap-00663

One of the great facts about the show is that comedy duo Armstrong and Miller competed in a challenge before they were famous in 1995 and they were successful! Darren Day became the final host in 1996 and it was yet another of those shows that promised to be “bigger and better” with various format changes in every returning series but unfortunately by that point You Bet! wasn’t as popular as it used to be and after almost a decade the show ended in 1997. It has been repeated on Challenge in more recent years and was definitely one of the best Saturday night entertainment shows of its era though.


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