Game Show Memories – Blankety Blank.

Blankety Blank (BBC1, 1979-1990, 1997-1999, ITV, 2001-2002)

The rather amusing and popular celebrity panel game that was based on an American show called The Match Game and was originally hosted by the much-missed Terry Wogan. Two contestants took part and had to make sure that their answers matched with the minds of the six celebrity panellists. vlcsnap-01579

Terry would read out a quirky statement which had a missing word and the contestants would be asked to fill in the blank. The panel had a short time to write down their answer to what they thought the missing word was. The contestant then revealed their answer. The panelists would then be asked by Terry to reveal their answer on a tatty piece of paper and if it matched the contestant’s answer they would score a point but they would usually be completely wrong, and Terry often admitted how ridiculous this all seemed to be. vlcsnap-01580

The highest-scoring contestant would then go through to the Supermatch game for the chance to win some prizes, which it could be argued weren’t very impressive even for the time. A word was revealed and the contestant picked three panelists to fill the blank. The contestant then made their choice and the more popular their answer was, the better the prize, although the famous consolation prize of a chequebook and pen was actually much better and of a higher value than some of the main prizes. This sequence would then be repeated with two new contestants. vlcsnap-01582

Terry was always a witty host who held his own against the panelists, and after he left the show in 1983, he was replaced in 1984 by Les Dawson who was also a very amusing host with lots of great jokes and he often mocked the whole show. It was almost as good as Crossroads, but Blankety Blank came to an end in 1990. But that wasn’t the end of the story just yet. vlcsnap-01581

Although I was too young to remember watching the original version of Blankety Blank, I did get a chance to see some of the earlier editions that were hosted by Wogan when there was a repeat run in daytime on BBC1 in 1997, which featured newly-made introductions by Terry. It seemed that he still wasn’t entirely sure of how the game worked all these years later, but he did enjoy reminiscing about some of the star names who appeared on the panel including the unforgetable Kenny Everett.
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Not long after this, at the end of 1997 Blankety Blank was revived, this time hosted by Paul O’Grady as his Lily Savage character, and the show continued in the usual style. And after O’Grady moved to ITV in 1999 the show moved to that channel and ran for a few more years until 2002. Terry and his microphone returned one final time though to host Blankety Blank for a special interactive DVD version which was released in 2006, although unfortunately I never got round to buy that one myself, and in more recent years some Wogan-hosted editions have been repeated on Challenge which were great fun to watch.

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