The YouTube Files – Win, Lose Or Draw USA.

Win, Lose Or Draw (NBC, 1987-1989)

Win, Lose Or Draw was the quick-draw game show that brightened the ITV daytime schedule for eight years in the 90s, but the original American version of the show launched in 1987. There was a version on NBC, and also a syndicated version, but this piece will concentrate on the NBC version. Firstly, did you know that the co-creator of the format was none other than Burt Reynolds, the set design was based on his own front room, and his production company co-produced the show.

The host was Vicki Lawrence, and two teams of three took part, one all-male, and one all-female. Two celebrities (well what passed for celebrities on American TV at this time, and it seems that a lot of people who were in sitcoms or daytime soaps about a decade earlier took part), along with a non-famous player. Their name badges were in the shape of an easel, in the UK it was a pencil (why do I notice these things). vlcsnap-00073

The show began with a caricature of all the celebrities taking part that day on the board, along with the host. There weren’t too many differences in the format to what we saw in the UK. The opening sequence was the same too, although the music was different. The teams simply have to guess the famous phrases that are being drawn, so hopefully they can communicate this in time. Remember to sit on the floor.vlcsnap-00017

In the first three rounds, every contestant has one go. They had a minute to draw the clue, and if their teammates got it right, they won $200. If they hadn’t got it with 30 seconds remaining, a doorbell sounded, and they could swap with a teammate, but the money went down to $100. In the UK version, only the money would go down. If they didn’t get it though, it was passed over to the other team for a chance to steal the money.vlcsnap-00014

Then there was the speed round. One of the team is nominated to play, and they have to draw as many clues as they can in 90 seconds for $100 each, and they can only pass on two. The winning team then received a bonus of $1,000, meaning that a contestant could win around $2,000 on average. And if they have any leftover time, someone is pulled out of the studio audience to play a round, for a chance to win $100 themselves and get on TV, much to their delight. vlcsnap-00015

The NBC version ran until 1989, while the syndicated version ran until 1990. There were also some special editions made on location around America. And there was a spin-off series for teenagers that ran for a few years (there was a British version of this that was shown on GMTV). At least there wasn’t a late-night spin-off in America! There was also a board game and computer game version, and along with the UK, there were also versions of Win, Lose Or Draw in various other countries including Canada and France.

Game Show Memories – Win, Lose Or Draw.

Win, Lose Or Draw (ITV, 1990-1998)

Win, Lose or Draw is an ITV daytime game show that I was very fond of and I always watched it as much as I could. When it started it was shown in the afternoons, but in later series it was moved to the classic 9:25 slot, and the format was based on an American show.

Win, Lose Or Draw was a rather daft panel game where “only a doodle will do”. Every day two teams of three would take part. There would be the male team and the female team, consisting of two celebrities who stayed for the whole of the week, so there was a battle of the sexes element, along with a member of the public who played for some of your actual Earth pounds. vlcsnap-00588

The show was sort-of like Give Us A Clue but with pens. Contestants were given a phrase that they had to draw on a piece of paper. Their teammates had one minute to guess what it was, with more money on offer for the quicker they got the answer. If they didn’t get it though, it would be thrown to the other side for a bonus. Cue lots of what I remember being described as “stickmen on a flipchart”-style drawing. vlcsnap-00590

In the final round one of the team members was nominated to draw various items for two minutes, and whoever got the most won a bonus to determine the winner of the game. All of this was rather good, but it was the hosts and choice of celebrities who took part that really made this show stand out. vlcsnap-00591

The first host was Danny Baker, who can turn any type of nonsense into something entertaining, and he also had about 20 other shows on the go at the time. Watching some old episodes on YouTube (before STV took almost all of them down again), I noticed that one week during Danny’s hosting of the show the male celebrity team featured Peter Simon and Tommy Boyd, and it was terrific seeing three of my favourite TV personalities all taking part in this show and enjoying themselves, and Tommy has gone on to be widely regarded as one of the best players of the game. Win, Lose or Draw 6

The second host was Shane Richie, he only lasted for one series, but again he was very entertaining and kept up the amusing presenting style for the show. vlcsnap-00589

The third and final host was good old Bob Mills, who again was very good and had his own quirks, including the fun of “Waistcoat Wednesdays” and telling us about the all-important phone-in competition for viewers at home. Win, Lose or Draw 11

Win, Lose Or Draw ran for nine series and featured many great celebrities who all joined in the fun and the show never took itself too seriously making it one of the more enjoyable game shows of its era. There was also a teen version in the 90s, and a late-night version six years after the original run ended, but both of these variations were rather disappointing and not as good as the main show. And of course, every episode ended with contestants throwing cushions at one another.