Give Us A Clue (ITV, 1979-1992)
It’s another celebrity panel game, and this time it’s charades! Give Us A Clue was originally hosted by Michael Aspel (and the theme music at this point was the same as CBBC’s Grange Hill), before in 1984 Michael Parkinson became the second host. Give Us A Clue is a show that could be described as a battle of the sexes as every week two celebrity teams of four took part, with the ladies being captained by Una Stubbs (Liza Goddard from 1987 onwards), and the men being captained by Lionel Blair, who is regarded as one of the great players of the game.
How to play Give Us A Clue is rather straightforward. One contestant was given the name of something like a film, a TV programme or book, and they had to express what it was within two minutes as a mime without speaking, hoping that their three teammates would be able to understand them. This led to the show’s catchphrases being things like “it’s a book… two syllables… sounds like…”. Lots of celebrities were eager to take part over the years, although some were better at playing than others.
If the team could guess the phrase within one minute, they scored three points, if they got it within two minutes they scored two points, and if they didn’t get it in time it would be thrown over to the other team to guess for one point. Some of the phrases were rather bizarre, leading to some celebrities having trouble expressing them properly which was where most of the humour came in. Although lots of points were scored, there were no prizes on offer as such, just the honour of winning that particular game.
Give Us A Clue ended up running on ITV for over a decade, and by the time I remember watching the show it was in its final year or two and by this point it was shown in a daytime slot. Looking back at it now it comes across as a very corny show but it was fun enough to watch in those days in the afternoon. And clearly someone somewhere decided that people wanted more because in 1997 five years after the show originally ended there was a revival.
This time Give Us A Clue was shown on BBC1 in a daytime slot, although I don’t ever remember watching this version myself, it only seemed to run for about six weeks and didn’t make much of an impact, it also featured a different host and team captains, maybe by this point the show’s time had passed. Also around this time though some of the earlier editions were repeated on satellite channel UK Gold, and there don’t seem to be that many editions online but it was a very popular show on TV throughout the 80s.