The Golden Shot



Jackie Rae (original host, 1967)

Bob Monkhouse (1967-71)

Pete Murray (substitute)

Alton Douglas (substitute)

Norman Vaughan [*]

Charlie Williams [*] (1973-74)

Bob Monkhouse [*] (again, 1975)

[*] All three presented the last show on 16 March 1975

Ant & Dec (2005 special)


Original hostesses (known as the Golden Girls, natch): Anita Richardson, Andrea Lloyd and Carol Dilworth (otherwise known as the mother of Chesney Hawkes). Subsequent hostesses included Lee Patrick, and Anne Aston (famous as she was supposedly unable to count without using her fingers).

"Heinz" (armourer): Hannes Schmid (format inventor). "Bernie the Bolt"s: Derek Young, Alan Bailey, Johnny Baker.


ATV for ITV, 1967-16 March 1975
(ATV London: 1967 - ATV Midlands:1968-1975)

TalkbackThames for ITV1, 2005 (one-off)


Long-running ITV Saturday night skill game. The contestants would mostly be telephone callers on the show, and they would play the game by instructing a blindfolded cameraman to adjust their aim in order to fire a 'telebow' (a crossbow tied to the camera) at targets.

The bow was loaded by the show's feature character, Bernie the Bolt. The programme is noted for it not only having three Bernies but a number of different hosts, including Bob Monkhouse twice.

"Nice weapon, isn't it?" - Bob Monkhouse with assistant.

Successful shots resulted in prizes of increasing value; unsuccessful ones earned fairly derisory consolation prizes. When the programme gained popularity with Monkhouse presenting, Lew Grade moved the show to Sunday afternoons, a traditional graveyard slot in the schedules that would scrape 2-3 million viewers. The programme transformed the schedules, picking up 16 million at its peak.

Host of the 70s version, Charlie Williams

There were numerous gaffes on the show, which was always billed as downmarket. It also had the added problem that - being a phone-in, it had to be a live show.

One studio contestant managed to knock herself out while on the toilet. A clergyman who had criticised the show for being unsafe was invited to the studio, only to be hit by a bow that ricocheted off the studio lights. Another stray bolt hit a female contestant, who was saved thanks to her shoulder pads. One contestant couple went for a cup of tea during the live show so the hostess had to grab some quick replacements and introduce them to the unknowing host. And on one famous occasion, as recounted in Bob Monkhouse's autobiography, it was discovered that a phone-in contestant was trying to direct the crossbow from a telephone box and looking across the street into a TV shop.

Key moments

Host Charlie Williams (below) was once surprised when a different hostess arrived on set, because no-one on the production team had told him that the regular hostess was ill.

Anne Aston arrives to the host's surprise - "No-one tell Williams, he's only t'gaffer"

And on yet another occasion, the hostess introduced the contestants by the wrong name. You could tell this was quality TV, folks.

"Well, it says he's called Patricia on my card" - hostess Lee Patrick introduces a contestant


"Bernie, the bolt" (Originally it was "Heinz, the bolt" but the original armourer - format inventor Heinz Schmid - went back to his home country. Although his replacement was called Derek, Monkhouse told him to choose a name that made it alliterative so he plumped for the pseudonym Bernie.)

"Left a bit, right a bit, fire!"


The programme was based on a German format (Der Goldener Schuss by Hannes and Werner Schmid), which was - as these European things always are - a mixed variety format. The idea for that show had, in turn, come about from the Swiss legend of William Tell.

Theme music

Provided by Jack Parnell's orchestra.


The original "Bernie" was studio technician Derek Young, but he had to be replaced when the programme changed its studio, from Elstree to Birmingham. However, the Bernie name was maintained throughout the rest of the series.

Many of the screw ups were in fact scripted.

ATV originally promoted the series as "the liveliest live show ever!". After seeing the first episode, one critic responded, "this is the deadest dead duck ever".

Web links

Off the Telly interview with Bob Monkhouse

Off the Telly interview with Bernie the Bolt

Nostalgia Central's Golden Shot page


Picture 1 - Bob Monkhouse on to the phone to a contestant. In the background, you can just make out the targets.
Picture 2 - Some targets from the 70s version.


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