Game Show Memories – Lingo the revival.

Lingo (ITV, 2021-present)

When I read that the game show Lingo was going to be revived by ITV, I was rather intrigued. The most recent series was in 1988, and gave away some of the biggest cash prizes of its era. I wondered why there was going to be a return after a gap of over three decades, but there had also been various revivals around the world in the years since.

It turns out that this version of Lingo is rather different to the one from the 80s. Firstly, this is an hour long, and is in a daytime slot. The host is Adil Ray, who has featured in various other shows. Three teams of two take part. But the bingo element has been totally removed, leaving only the first part, where various words had to be guessed against the clock, and that’s all this is really.

In the first round, teams have to guess four-letter words which are worth £200 each. They are given the first letter, and then they have a few guesses to fill in the other letters, with a Master Mind-style scoring system (the board game that is, not the TV game show) showing them what they have got right. They are then given a ten-letter word, with the first letter and a cryptic clue.

There is up to £300 on offer, with £50 deducted for every extra letter that has to be revealed. The next round features five-letter words, now for £400 each, and an 11-letter word for £500 (decreasing by £80 for every extra letter revealed). At this point, the lowest-scoring team are eliminated. Do they get to keep their money? No. Do they get a consolation prize instead? No. Even Tenable gives away a tea towel now!

In the next round, the remaining teams compete on the buzzer. A four-letter word is open to both teams, with up to £500 on offer (but this time the score decreases by £50 for every guess needed). This is followed by a 11-letter word clue worth up to £750. The highest-scorers go into the final, again the eliminated team don’t keep their money. In this, they have 90 seconds to make three words.

Usually by this point, a team will have made about £3,000. They have to find a four-letter word to win half their money. They can then guess a five-letter word to win all their money. Finally, then can guess a six-letter word to double their money. They can pass on a word if they can’t solve it, but the clock doesn’t stop until they give a correct answer.

And if they end up running out of time completely, then they lose all their money. This version of Lingo didn’t seem to be as exciting as the original, being rather repetitive. This was also overshadowed by the rather popular word game Wordle, which has a very similar idea. There were a couple of series though, and this led to some celebrity specials being made too.


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