One of the most memorable things about the classic game show Family Fortunes was not watching contestants playing for the prizes and money, but when they would give some rather bizarre answers to the questions in the survey. There were so many funny answers given over the years that in around 2000-2002 Les Dennis hosted a couple of special editions called Family Misfortunes that looked back at some of the funniest moments on the show.
The first edition featured lots of clips from the early years when the show was hosted by Bob Monkhouse and Max Bygraves, and it was good to see some famous moments including the shambolic “name a famous Irishman” round. It was also good seeing how Bob dealt with daft answers, and he clearly made his feelings for the contestants known.
Some of things that contestants said when they had to think of an answer quickly, especially when they were against the clock playing Big Money, really is remarkable, with the “turkey” incident being the most famous, and when Les had a go one year himself in a Christmas special, he proved that he couldn’t do any better under the pressure. It wasn’t just the answers that were daft though. There was also a look back at some of the funniest anecdotes told by contestants, and the times when Les was hugged/strangled by winning contestants.
About a year later there was a second edition that looked back at some more funny moments, this time mostly concentrating on the Les Dennis era. He recalled the time when one of his catchphrases backfired on him. After yet another daft answer, Les said as usual “if it’s up there I’ll give you the money myself!”. And the answer actually was there, which left an embarrassed Les to say to the contestant “I owe you £12!”. And he admitted that he really did write out a cheque.
Also in the second edition was the time when the question was “something that might scare Dracula”, to which the contestant buzzed in and said “Bob Monkhouse”, and the look of disbelief on Les’s face really was something. There was also another good moment where a contestant said something so daft that Les replied “if that’s up there I’ll give you the car myself!” which caused much laughter.
There was then a third and final edition of Family Misfortunes, but Les didn’t host that, and the majority of clips featured were from the rotten daytime era of the show and the less said about that series the better really. But overall though this was good fun.