Thursday, 17 March 2016
First viewed : 1978
We know a new decade is approaching as the eighties' stalwart shows start appearing in the schedules.
3-2-1 was based on a Spanish game show and was first broadcast in the summer of 1978. Although not in the same time slot - Saturday evening as opposed to Sunday tea times - it was essentially the successor to The Golden Shot , half game show, half variety show held together by a smart host. Instead of Bob Monkhouse you had former redcoat comedian Ted Rogers who had done warm up acts for Perry Como and Bing Crosby as well as hosting variety performances. Ted was assisted by a bevy of forgettable dolly birds including Mireille Allonville who didn't appear to speak English very well.
Like Sale of the Century or The Generation Game the aim was to win money and prizes , the twist being that you could end up winning merely a new dustbin. Hence the show's mascot was Dusty Bin , half clown half er bin. It was quite a risk to have a bin fronting the show but it was very popular.
At first the variety was provided by a dance troupe and a trio of second rate comedians i.e no one who was going to upstage Ted , but as the show got a bigger budget , guest performers from the light entertainment world drop in to do a turn and then bring a cryptic clue to the couple who'd battled through the earlier rounds.
The clues referred to the five prizes including the bin and were so convoluted the poor sods stood precious little chance of unravelling them. Seeing them struggling to unpick the nonsense doggerel was part of the fun though. It has been suggested that the clues had multiple interpretations so that the producers actually chose what prize the couple received.
It was reasonably entertaining ; Rogers was a skilled host but I didn't often want to commit an hour to watching it.
It was axed after ten years while still holding its place in the ratings causing Ted to fulminate against the "Oxbridge lot" who'd deemed it too downmarket , an argument which doesn't hold too much water when you consider the likes of The Price Is Right were still going strong.
Poor Ted then cut a rather sad figure, touring the bin round the seaside towns before going bankrupt in 1992. He still worked in show business making occasional appearances on TV before his death following open heart surgery in 2001.