The Better Sex
Jack McLaughlin and Lesley Blair
STV (not networked), 17 February to May? 1978
(also shown later that year on Thames)
Let's be honest, despite our nearly-award-winning skill at ferreting out game show facts, there are times when we have to rely on our readers to fill in the gaps. And so it is with this oddity, originally shown on STV on Friday nights at 6.30, when other regions were seeing Crossroads, and later picked up by Thames, who showed it at lunchtimes. But beyond the scheduling, the show was a mystery to us... until our wonderful readers stepped in with more information. Honestly, we bloomin' love you lot.
Firstly, here's David Smith, who brought the show to our attention in the first place:
- I can't remember much about it other than that it was hosted by a man and a woman, and the man was someone like Jack McLaughlin, Allan Stewart or some DJ type. The format was probably about seeing whether men or women know more about general knowledge or possibly each other - I have a hazy memory of there being lights with up and down arrows a bit like the ones that were later used on Play Your Cards Right.
- I can find little on the net about it other than that it seems to have been an American format.
Well, assuming that it is indeed the same format as the US show of the same name, then Art Begotti has the lowdown:
- Teams of six men and six women competed. One person from one team was asked a general knowledge question and given the answer on a card. They could either respond truthfully or try to produce a bluff. One at a time, members of the other team would say whether they agree or disagree with the given answer, until a consensus of two people was reached. If those two people guessed correctly, the question-answerer and another member of their team was eliminated; if they guessed incorrectly, they knocked themselves out of the game. Lather rinse and repeat until one team completely knocked the other out (a theoretical maximum of five questions, I guess). Last team standing won $1000 and went to play the bonus round.
- In the bonus round, all six players on the winning team played against thirty audience members. One at a time, each player would receive a question and an answer, which they again could use or provide their own bluff. The members of the audience voted using electronic paddles with arrows that pointed up for yes and down for no. After each question, any incorrect audience members sat down. If the team could knock out all thirty audience members, they would win $5000; if not, the surviving audience members would split $500.
And Mike (no surname.. like Cher) came up with this:
...which not only confirms Jack McLaughlin's involvement, but tells us that the prizes went up to £6,000. No wonder it had to go big on prizes, though - after all, how else could it compete with the excitement of Horse in the House? (IMDb says: "Children's TV-show about kids who attempt to hide their horse, called Orbit, in the main larder in the third east wing of their country mansion, seeing as mum and dad wants to sell the horse to an Arab oil billionaire." They got two series out of that.)
And then, who should we hear from but Jack McLaughlin himself! Over to you, Jack...
- Yes, Leslie Blair and I did host this show which was a Goodson-Todman format with Bryan Izzard producing. We recorded just one series because the six grand prize money exceeded IBA limits. Shame, because it had given STV its highest ever tea time audience and was number one in the local JICRAR ratings. The rules were so complicated I m still trying to work them out!
An excerpt from the US version
And here's part two.