Game Show Memories – Ask The Family.

Ask The Family (BBC1, 1967-1984)

This is another game show that I don’t remember watching the original version of, but I feel that it has an interesting enough story for it to feature here. Ask The Family began as long ago as the mid-60s, it was a real test for people to show what they know, and it was hosted by Robert Robinson, along with his memorable turns of phrase, and the somewhat funky opening music. vlcsnap-00535

Two teams of four took part, usually consisting of middle-class clever-clogs nuclear families. There were various rounds, so get those hands ready on the buzzer. For example, there were general knowledge questions of varying difficulty that would be for either five or ten points, and there would also be rounds where only the father, or the youngest child and so on could answer. vlcsnap-00537

The show is probably better remembered though for the rounds which featured picture and word puzzles that were animated by the hard-working Eric, and some of these really were rather tricky, along with having to identify some classical music or the close-up of a mystery object. As it was a knockout competition, when time was up the highest-scoring family progressed to the next round, aiming to prove that they really were the smartest of them all. vlcsnap-00543

Ask The Family eventually ran for 17 years on BBC1, it was memorably parodied on comedy show Not The Nine O’Clock News, and it was also featured in the great early-90s comedy The Wolvis Family that I reviewed on here recently. 15 years after it originally ended though, Ask The Family was revived and carried on in mostly the same style (but featuring a slightly different scoring system), although it was now hosted by Alan Titchmarsh and shown on satellite channel UK Gold (and it was later repeated on BBC2 in a weekday timeslot), and this version was the first time that I came across the show, but there was only one series of this. vlcsnap-00539

Then there was another revival on BBC2 in 2005, although this time it was a rather different thing, and it was hosted by the double act Dick And Dom. Now I must say that I am a fan of theirs, their Saturday Morning show Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow is one of my all-time favourite CBBC shows, and riding on the success of that, this was clearly an attempt to bring this format into a new era and also introduce their lively style to a primetime audience when some grownups were watching.

However, it just wasn’t that good and again there was only one series, with Dick And Dom quickly returning to the CBBC Channel rather disappointed and later admitting that this version did their careers no favours. Maybe if they had laughed all the time, fallen over, and thrown creamy muck muck around it might have done better.


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