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.  


  1. I still like to catch repeats of this every so often on Challenge, and I still don't know why they haven't attempted to revive it proper- especially as they pretty much copied it in all but name for some dire Rob Brydon Saturday night quiz a couple of years ago. Overall, it's the Les Dawson eps I remember best and as such I have a strong affinity for Les' uber cynical approach. It's the Terry ones that tend to be repeated though, reminding us how lovely Lorraine Chase once was and how casually racist the times were too - I recall one clue being 'London's really changing these days, last night I heard a BLANK sing in Barclay Square' and Liza Goddard opted for Camel because 'with all the Arabs around these days' !

  2. There's another one where Paul Daniels says "Please do not adjust your set" as Terry introduces black singer Patti Boulaye in the bimbo chair. Perhaps they don't repeat that one ?

    1. Ah yes, I remember that! Mind you, and without wishing to speak ill of the recently deceased, Daniels' 'humour' and views where always offensive. He used to roll out Irish joke after Irish joke in Terry's direction, and Wogan couldn't abide that stereotype

  3. Like Mark, I remember it as being hosted by Dawson with a great deal of fondness. Doubtless if I watched now, I'd think different, but Les' facial expressions always raised a chuckle - but then, I am from the land where gurning wins you honours!