All Clued Up (ITV, 1988-1991)
After looking back at two TVS-produced game shows from the late-80s over the last couple of days, I thought it would make sense to review yet another memorable one today, this time it’s All Clued Up, which was based on an American format called The $1,000,000 Chance Of A Lifetime which ran from 1986 to 1987 (but needless to say there wasn’t that much money on offer to winners in this version of the show) and was hosted by none other than David Hamilton.
In every show two married couples would take part and they had to solve various word puzzles in a similar style to Wheel Of Fortune. Teams took it in turns to play, swapping over at the end of every round. A word clue would appear on the screen and be revealed letter-by-letter. These words were clues to what the main puzzle phrase was. As soon as they thought they knew what the word was they buzzed in. If they were right they earned two goes on the massive keyboard!
The keyboard had 27 buttons (all the letters of the alphabet and an extra one for punctuation such as hyphens and apostrophes) and all the letters that were in the main puzzle which was usually a phrase or saying lit up. However… one of them was the Stinger, a letter which actually wasn’t in the puzzle and if they picked that one the contestant instantly lost their turn which was always awful.
After they picked a letter by pushing the button on the keyboard, it would enter the puzzle, and then they were invited to solve it, with all the money accumulated in the round on offer if they could. But if not there would be another word clue. Also, would you believe it, the points were doubled in part two, so it could all change.
When time’s up the highest-scoring couple go through to the final, with the losers taking away a consolation prize. The couple now play together and there were 60 seconds on the clock and six word clues all on the same category which are revealed letter-by-letter in the same style as the previous rounds. Once they get it right they can move on to the next one, and if they get all six right in time they win the star prize of £1,000 to add to the money that they had already won.
The scheduling of All Clued Up varied over the years, being shown in a weekly Sunday afternoon slot which is where I remember watching it, and also in the weekday 9:25 slot, but it didn’t stop the show from according to one critic becoming as beloved as cake and sandwiches, although it ended rather abruptly in 1991 after TVS lost their licence. Once again because all of the TVS paperwork has been lost down the back of an old sofa we won’t be seeing the show on our screens again any time soon, but I do think it was good seeing one of the smaller ITV companies having a go at making some game shows that were simple entertaining fun.