Strike it Lucky



Michael Barrymore


Announcers: John Benson, Nick Jackson, Robin Houston (1990-2)


Thames in association with Talbot Television and Blair Entertainment's Kline & Friends for ITV, 29 October 1986 to 29 December 1994 (155 episodes in 10 series)

Co-produced by Central, 1993-4

as Michael Barrymore's Strike it Rich LWT and Fremantle (UK) Productions for ITV, 12 December 1996 to 26 November 1998 (38 episodes in 3 series)

as Michael Barrymore's Strike it Rich LWT and Grundy for ITV, 7 June to 23 August 1999 (12 episodes in 1 series)


Michael Barrymore hosted in his own inimitable style. Three teams of couples attempted to beat each other and the Hot Spots by answering questions correctly.

The question answer person in the couple chose 2, 3 or 4 questions. The answer to each not-terribly-difficult question was hidden in a group of six on the big board. If they picked the right answers, one "move" per question was theirs. However, if they got one wrong, the next team got a chance to steal the moves.

When someone finally completed the "bid", the other half of the successful couples got to move along their "arch" of ten television monitors. By "striking the screen", they got to see whether there was a prize or a Hot Spot behind it.

And what is a Hot Spot not? A narrative feature which stopped the show finishing in half the time it could have been. Oh sorry, "A Good Spot!" Anyway, the couple could decide to stop at any time within the amount of moves they had, banking any prizes they'd won so far. Alternatively, they could keep going but if they hit a Hot Spot then they lost any prizes for that turn and we went back to the questions.

Michael Barrymore (centre) ensures one of his elderly contestants is following the plot.

There would be supposedly between 5 and 8 hotspots but in later series it was almost always 6 (two for each of the three couples).

The screen before the final Question screen would always be a nice holiday, but they would either have to (a) risk it on the main Strike it Lucky Question, or (b) bank it but give the other teams a chance to finish. The first team to get across the monitors and answer the main SiL question won the game and went through to the end game.

Here, they had to get across the archway of monitors from left to right, hitting as few Hot Spots as possible. They were given three options of being allowed to hit 2, 3 or 4 Hot Spots, fewer Hot Spots meaning more cash.

On the thirty screens would be 10 Arrows (a free move), 10 Questions (True or False questions which turned into free moves or Hot Spots) and 10 Hot Spots. The computer would jumble everything up and then blank out the screens. The contestants now had to guess Top, Middle or Bottom for each of the ten columns of screens, and if it was a free move or they got a question correct they would win 5% of the money they were playing for. If they got a Hot Spot they lost one of their "lives". This would keep going until they got to the end or they ran out of chances.

When a couple wins the end game, we all go YEEEEEEEEEESH!

It was never the best game show ever, and the British public overrated it, but it was jolly enough.

Key moments

The episode where an old Scottish gent had come to the studio without his glasses, and therefore couldn't read the possible answers from the videowall across the studio.

The episode where two different contestants were asked to complete 'The Princess and the...'. One guessed 'Porker' and the other guessed 'Turnip'.

The prizes that may not match the couple who receives them. Such as an elderly couple winning hang gliding lessons. There were even prizes we couldn't figure out what the hell they were.

Llama Trekking? Sounds like a rejected Star Trek spin-off.

Before the game started, one contestant admitted she didn't like Italians. This led to one prize being offered as a weekend break in Verona, Italy.

The episode where Barrymore (who is 6' 3" in height) and a short heighted contestant exchanged trousers.

The later series where Barrymore and the whole show went crazy.



Barrymore: "And what is a Hot Spot not?"
Audience: "Not a good spot!"

"Top, middle or bottom?"

"You can't have a Hot Spot."

"If a question comes up you must get it right."


Based on a "Kline & Friends" format called Strike it Rich. The US version lasted one season.


On one show, a Scottish farmer talked and read poetry for 90 minutes.

The show changed name to Strike it Rich in 1996 because the TV company who had the rights to the name Strike it Lucky refused to give them over to their rivals when the show changed production company from Thames to LWT.

"If you actually look at Strike it Lucky, the format's a pile of crap." - Michael Barrymore, speaking in 2006. This later led him to appearing on the Strike it Lucky DVD game in 2007.

The show's Associate Producer, David Mason, produced an excellent book entitled 'The Game Show Handbook' (first published 1991), which gives a comprehensive guide to quiz and game shows of the time, interviews with the stars (including Barrymore, who wrote the foreword) and some very helpful advice on how to get on shows and how to give the best possible performance when appearing.

In a 1997 charity special, all of the contestants were donating their winnings to Cancer reasearch (3 of the contestants playing were suffering from the disease). The couple who won the game went on to play £10,000 in the final game (only 2 hot spots were allowed) The first three screens they picked were all hotspots, meaning they should've lost, but Michael ignored them and allowed them to carry on because he didn't want them to lose charity money (at one point the off screen producer was telling Michael off and Michael replied "Don't make a face at me!") In total the couple hit 6 hotspots but Michael ignored them and gave them the £10,000 prize. How nice!

Ah, yes! Tis the season to be Barrymore. Infact, if you look into his stockings, all he's got for christmas is two front teeth.

No one would ever leave Strike it Lucky/Rich empty handed. If a couple won nothing, Michael would go up himself and strike some of the screens to get them a prize.


A Strike it Lucky board game was manufactured.

A Strike it Lucky DVD game was released in 2007.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

Pictures of the set from the Strike it Rich version


Michael Barrymore on the Strike It Lucky set
Michael 'Strike it Lucky' Barrymore.
Michael Barrymore on the Strike It Rich set
Michael 'Strike it Rich' Barrymore


Some of the funniest moments ever from Strike it Rich. Inc. Scotsman Bob who can't see the answers, A contestant named Eric who plays the game in a wheelchair, Barrymore ringing one of the contestants husband, An old lady named Dolly who has anger issues and a crap load of ridiculous prizes.


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