You Bet!



Bruce Forsyth (1988-90)

Matthew Kelly (1991-5)

Darren Day (1996-7)


Ellis Ward (1988-91)

Diane Youdale (1996)

Sarah Matravers (1997)


LWT for ITV, 20 February 1988 to 12 April 1997 (101 episodes in 10 series + 4 specials)


Well made and sometimes stunning stunt show, a precursor to the more extreme Don't Try This at Home!.

Members of the public bet they can do a particularly whacky, impressive or just plain dangerous feat. 100 members of the audience bet on whether they think they can do it, as do four (later: three) celebs. The celebs try to guess the correct outcome, thus earning points (which are later turned into pounds for charity, mate) as well as avoiding the all-important celebrity forfeit.

The challenges on the show can be categoried into stunts (doing a wheelie in a truck for 1 mile), memory tests (identifying a Madonna song from 5 seconds of the backing track), and skill games (scoring 50 basketball hoops while riding on a motorcycle).

The outside challenges were filmed during the summer months and slotted in, everyone involved in the filming having sworn on their grandmother's grave that they wouldn't say the result. The reward for a successful challenge varied from an award called the "You Bet Betsy", to a scroll, to a medal, but that was it.

A good show that wore well in the Friday/Saturday night TV battles.

Key moments

The two types of fanfare for the end of the challenge: the "happy happy" one and the "oh dear, it's all gone pear-shaped" one.

The Red Devils were memorable challengers on the show, mainly because they failed 3 challenges in a row. They did however finally complete their 4th challenge.

When Matthew Kelly had to do a forfeit that involved sumo wrestling.


Brucie got the show off to a strong start, despite the decidedly un-streetwise "You Bet Rap", dropped in later series but recorded here for posterity:

Bruce: You wanna bet on it?
Audience: You Bet!
Bruce: So you wanna get on it?
Audience: You Bet!
Bruce: So don't fret, get set, are you ready?
Audience: You Bet!

Another Brucie quote went: "You're now betting for the fate of Forsyth in the form of a forfeit. If you're right - I'm alright, but if you're wrong - I'm right in it!"

Before the ad break, Brucie used to say "We'll be back in a bit, you can bet on it!". Matthew Kelly changed this to "See you in a bit. Ta-ra!". Which isn't as good, but he did redeem himself by improving on the next one...

"Make your bet!", which was changed to "Place your bets now!" when Matthew Kelly took over.


11 years after its UK swansong, Antan Dec took the format to the States with their presenting debut, Wanna Bet?.

Before they were famous, Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller took part in a challenge during the Matthew Kelly years, where the two of them alongside My Parents Are Aliens star Tony Gardner each took several roles in the same play, and had to speed dress whilst off stage so that they could come back as the relevant character without missing a beat. They succeeded!

Malandra Burrows was the show's highest celebrity guest scorer. She appeared during the final series and scored 401.

Annabel Giles was the most frequent celebrity guest, appearing five times.

The show originally aired on Saturday nights for the first four series, it was then aired on Friday nights from Series 5 until the first half of Series 7 and was finally moved back to Saturday nights from the second half of Series 7 until the show's end.


Based on an idea by Frank Elstner. it was originally a German show called Wetten dass...? See the ZDF web site for more information.


One challenge from the 1995 series was can you make 20 pizzas in 2 minutes?
Another challenge from the 1996 series was can you correctly identify 5 vintage cars just by feel with a blindfold on you?


Wikipedia entry


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