Monday, 13 June 2016

416 Family Fortunes

First  viewed : January  1980

On  into  the  big  brash  eighties !

I   didn't   watch   the  first  episode  of  this  new  game  show  as   The  BBC  Shakespeare   was  doing  Twelfth  Night   which  we'd  studied  in  English  the  previous  term  ,  starting  at  the  same  time  but  I  may  well  have  caught  the  second  one.

Family  Fortunes  was  based  on  an  American  game  show  Family  Feud   and  allowed  Bob Monkhouse  to  move  on  from  the  now  rather  stale  Celebrity  Squares.  Combining  elements  of the  Generation  Game  and  Blankety  Blank , it  featured  two  teams  of  five  from  the  same family  battling  for  cash   through  guessing  the  public's  most  popular  answers   to  categories   put  to  them  in  a  previous  survey. The  show's  supposed  computer  "Mr  Babbage"  would   give them  a  ping  if  they  got  one  right  and  an  electronic  uh-huh   if  their  answer  didn't  figure. Three  questions  wrong  and  the  other  family  got  a  chance  to  steal  the  round.

Monkhouse  hosted  the  first  four  series  and  it  wasn't  long  before  they  had  celebrity  editions. I  remember  a  DJs  edition  featuring  Tony  Blackburn. I  had  presumed  from  his  radio  persona  that  he  was  a  complete  airhead  and  was  genuinely  surprised  when  he  turned  out  to  be  a  bright  bloke.

Monkhouse  went  to  the  BBC  in  1983  and  the  always-challenging  task  of  following  in  his footsteps  fell  to  the  much  kinder  Max  Bygraves. His  two-year  stint  was  not  regarded  as  particularly  successful  but  will  always  be  remembered  for  the  episode  where  a  Bob  Johnson  seemingly  had  a  mental  breakdown  and  answered  "turkey"  to  the  first  three  questions  in  the  Big  Money  Round  including  the  opener  "Name  something  you  take  to  the  beach". Max  did  well  to  hold  it  together  but  the  best  bit  was  the  cutaway  to  Bob's  family  where  his  son's  brother-in-law - who'd  set  him  up  well - seemed  to  be  saying  something  extremely  unfraternal  about  him.

Max's  stint  was  while  I  was  away  at  University  then  it  was  rested  for  a  year  before  Les Dennis  took  it  on. By  that  time  I'd  lost  interest  and  rarely  saw  it. Dennis  had  a  long  15  year stint  which  finally  ended  in  2002 , around  the  same  time  as  his  marriage  to  Amanda  Holden. Dennis  was  unhappy  with  the  proposed  move  to  an  afternoon  slot  and  his  judgement  proved  correct  as  the  next  series  with  Andy  Collins  only  lasted  a  year.

The  show  was  revived  with  Veron  Kay  as  All  Star  Family  Fortunes  in  2006  and  though  on  hiatus  at  the  moment  is  set  to  return  in  2017. By  a  fantastic  coincidence  the  only  one  I  ever  tuned  in  to , randomly  in  2009 , featured  somebody  I  knew  from  work, former  Barnet  goalkeeper  Steve  Berryman  who  is  related   by  marriage  to  TV  host  Paddy  McGuinness   and  gave  a  good  account  of  himself.  I  saw  him  the  day  after  the  broadcast  and  the  first  question  I  asked  was   "Are  they  real ? "  referring  to  the  mammary  glands  of  McGuinness's  girlfriend  ( now  his  wife ) Christine. He  said  he'd  never  dared  ask  but  found  them   impressive  nonetheless.  

1 comment:

  1. One of those shows that never seemed to take a break - which meant weekly outings (in my time) for Dennis' Mavis Riley impression. Oh, the laughs...