Saturday, 2 April 2016
369 Blankety Blank
First viewed : 18 January 1979
This long-running quiz show filled the gap between Top of the Pops and Butterflies on a Thursday evening. It made its original host, the recently-deceased Terry Wogan, a top TV star.
The show was based on an Australian show and involved two contestants trying to match their answers to a missing word in a phrase or sentence to those supplied individually by a panel of celebrities. The panel was made up of three men and three women. They usually put the smarter cookies on the top row , a comedian bottom centre and an apparent bimbo ( Lorraine Chase , Sandra Dickinson ) for Terry to tease bottom right. The questions were usually mildly smutty, giving Terry plenty of opportunity to raise an eyebrow in the direction of the camera.
The prizes were hardly worth having ( Terry's expression at announcing a weekend in Reykjavik was priceless ) ; the joy of the show was Terry's easy interaction with the guest stars even when, as in the case of Kenny Everett, they destroyed his trademark silly microphone. This eventually led to him to giving up the show in 1984 to host a nightly chat show.
Les Dawson took over , presenting the show - and particularly the prizes - with a heavy irony which eventually became a bit wearisome. You thought if he despises the show that much why's he taking the money to do it ? I bailed out some time in the mid-eighties and the show finished at the end of the decade.
It was revived in 1998 hosted by Lily Savage who I've never found remotely entertaining so I was never going to tune in for that. It lasted two years then switched to ITV for another couple of years. Special versions have appeared on charity shows since then.