Blankety Blank

(Broadcast: Production company added)
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BBC1, 18 January 1979 - 12 March 1990 (218 episodes)
BBC1, 18 January 1979 - 12 March 1990 (218 episodes)
BBC1, 26 December 1997 - 28 December 1999 (27 episodes)
Grundy Productions for BBC1, 26 December 1997 - 28 December 1999 (27 episodes)
ITV, 2001-02
Thames Television for ITV, 2001-02

Revision as of 16:20, 3 March 2007



Terry Wogan (1979-83)

Les Dawson (1984-90)

1990s-2000s version: Lily Savage (alias Paul O'Grady)


BBC1, 18 January 1979 - 12 March 1990 (218 episodes)

Grundy Productions for BBC1, 26 December 1997 - 28 December 1999 (27 episodes)

Thames Television for ITV, 2001-02


"Blankety Blank was very _______"

Several words you could fit in that blank, but it was up to the contestants to try and match their answers to the celebrities playing alongside them. Yes! This was Blankety Blank! Cheap and tackiness for the masses.

The celebrity panel

And it all started with *that* theme tune, the one that went "Blankety Blank, Blankety Blank (Boom Boom), Blankety Blank, Blankety Blank (Boom Boom)" for about five years which we suppose was dead handy if you suffered from amnesia and forgot which programme you were currently watching.

The tackiness continued with the set which was cheap and the prizes which were cheaper. We're talking low budget here. Except in the recent Lily Savage revived version they were actually not bad, there was a holiday for a grand prize and things that actually worked.

The question was: "The answer to eternal life is ______"

The host introduced us to the celebrities and then we met the players (to the theme tune). The player who won the toss got to pick from one of two questions. The host read the statement out and then the six celebrities wrote down the answer that they think would fit the blanks. There was usually a tenuous clue within the statement for the celebs and players to pick up on.

Once all the celebs had written something, the player gave their answer. The host then went into the celebs and read out what they put. If the answers matched, the player scored a point (and the celeb got a little mark indicating that they'd matched with that player) and if they didn't match they didn't. The other player then got a go.

The contestant desk

If after this first round a player had matched with all six celebs they won the game. If not, the player with the lowest score went first in Round 2, but they only played with the people whom they didn't match with in round 1.

If there wasn't a winner after Round 2 they did sudden death. The players wrote down an answer to the statement and then the celebs each gave answers in turn. The first one to match won.

The loser didn't go away empty handed because they won... a legendary Blankety Blank Chequebook and Pen!


The winner went through to the Supermatch Game (with the appropriate "Supermatch Game" theme tune, which was nearly as inane as the "Blankety Blank" one). The legend was revealed revealing a two word phrase with one word blanked out.

Before the show, the whole audience were polled as to what word should fill in the blank of the Supermatch phrase, and the three most popular answers were hidden away on the board. The winning player was allowed to ask three of the celebs as to what they thought the most popular filler was and afterwards the player was allowed to take one of their words or come up with one of their own. The words on the board were worth 50, 100 and 150 Blanks depending on popularity and more blanks meant better prizes (although I've already told you that didn't mean much...).

The Supermatch wheels into view, with Terry Wogan at the helm

The game was then played again with two new contestants, and whoever had the most Blanks in the Supermatch Game went forward to the head to head (and if the two winners got the same it would go to sudden death). Here, they could win a better prize (doubling their blanks or a holiday). The player chose one of the celebrities who would write down their answer to a "word BLANK" phrase. The player would then give their answer, if they matched, they won and if not they didn't.

And that's it really, apart from the hosts. First, there was Irishman DJ Terry Wogan where part of the fun was him trying (and failing) to keep the celebrities in check. Then there was the late Les Dawson who had no respect for the format - and that's what made it funny.

Les Dawson, host of the second incarnation.

When he died, Blankety Blank left the screens for quite a while, only to be revived in 1998 with Lily Savage as the host. Acerbic Lily had little respect for the format and had no trouble at all with keeping people in check. That was the funny thing. Everyone thought she/he would be really bad at it but in fact she/he managed to pull quite an audience, the show was later renamed "Lily Savage's Blankety Blank" as a result, which was actually a rather dubious honour we're sure you'll agree.

Lily Savage (a.k.a. drag artist Paul O'Grady), host of the recent revival.

The problem with Lily Savage's humour is that a lot is fairly adult and as a result, about half the show (the funny half) had to be edited from recording to suit the audience. The program defected from the BBC to ITV in 2001, when it lasted a year. Judging by the first episode we wondered whether this was a wise thing to do...

Key moments

It's currently part of the National Curriculum for media students to study the classic microphone-bending antics of Kenny Everett during the Wogan years. Not really. But it should be.

The Kevmeister in action


(all from the Les Dawson era):

"Reveal the legend!" or, "Please reveal the leg-end, Alf!"

"Remember - the clue is in the question!"

(To panellists) "What have you got for meeeee?"

"But you're not going away empty-handed - no, by Jiminy, you're not! You're taking away with you" (pause for dramatic effect) - "a Blankety Blank cheque book and pen!" (He sometimes changed it to, "A Blankety Blank cheque pen and book!")

"And for the benefit of our viewer, Arthur, in Cheltenham - good night, God bless!"


Based on the US Goodson-Todman show The Match Game. (latterly known as simply Match Game)

Theme music

Blankety Blank titles - Les Dawson era

Original music was by Ronnie Hazlehurst, and performed by Jason McDermid, Alison Jiear and David Bryant. So now you know.


A board game was available.

Web links

TV Cream


Picture 1 - Lily Savage.
Picture 2 - Reverend David Smith, one of the famous UK game show veterans, appeared on the show.


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