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Series / Blankety Blank

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British adaptation of the Australian Game Show Blankety Blanks, which was in turn based on the American Game Show Match Game. The show aired on BBC1 in all but its last few years, when it channel hopped to ITV.

Much like its American counterpart, Blankety Blank used a six-celebrity panel and two contestants, who would compete with humorous fill-in-the-blank questions in hope that the celebrity panel would match up to them.


The title comes from the standard used to describe missing entries. A single missing entry is "blank". An item with more than one missing entry has every one except the last called "blankety" and the last is "blank". So an item with three missing entry would be described as "blankety-blankety-blank".

Terry Wogan hosted the original version from 1979 to 1983, followed by Les Dawson (1984–90) and Paul O'Grady (1997–2002, as his drag queen alter ego, Lily Savage). Vernon Kay hosted a one-off as part of Gameshow Marathon in 2007, and O'Grady himself did a one-off in 2011 for Comic Relief as part of 24-Hour Panel People.

Unrelated to the similarly named 1975 U.S. game show, which is a different format entirely.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: Unlike Match Game, the Supermatch round got split in two: the winner of the first game played the Audience Match. Unlike the American version, however, it wasn't played for cash but for "Blanks". Two more contestants played, and whoever had the higher number of "blanks" in the Audience Match played the Head-to-Head. A tie meant the U.S. Match Game PM tiebreaker was played: Another Audience Match-type question was asked, but the celebrities were called on to guess what the contestants wrote. In the end, Blanks could be traded for fantastic prizes!
  • Consolation Prize: "A Blankety Blank chequebook and pen!" It's one of the most well-known consolation prizes of British game shows, along with Dusty Bin of course.
  • Home Game: One was released by Milton Bradley in 1983.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer
    • Game Show Host: Terry Wogan, Les Dawson, Lily Savage, Vernon Kay, Paul O'Grady.
    • Studio Audience: Laugh, applause, laugh more at the lack of budget!
  • Undesirable Prize: The Supermatch prizes, which became one of the more memorable aspects of this show. Come to that, the Head-to-Head prizes being better than the Supermatch prizes was about the most one could say for them.

This show provides examples of:

  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The Supermatch prizes quickly became one of the most mocked aspects of the show by the panel and hosts, especially from Les Dawson.
  • Catch Phrase: "Please reveal the leg-end, Alf" (Dawson, when revealing the Supermatch puzzle)
  • Deadpan Snarker: Arguably all the hosts. Honourable mention goes to Les Dawson, and also to original host Terry Wogan, who's pretty much always been snarky.
  • Freudian Slip: When reading a question, Lily said, "Gary Lineker was a great footballer...I'll never forget when he tripped over his feces." She then realized her mistake and corrected it to "laces".
  • Left It In: In one episode, a contestant was a taxi driver.
    Les: Have you picked up many celebrities?
    Contestant: Oh, I've picked up you.
    Les: Did I pay you?
    Contestant: You didn't tip me.
    Les: ... (gestures off-screen) Out, edit, edit...
  • Running Gag: Aside from the prizes, Kenny Everett always tried to screw around with Terry Wogan's microphone (dubbed "Wogan's Wand", which was a Sony ECM-50 with a car radio antenna taped to make it look like the ECM-51, the iconic microphone used on Match Game and other U.S. game shows of the era). On one incident, Everett tried cutting it with garden shears and bent it ("That's funny, it worked in rehearsal!"), and then offered a replacement that made Wogan's voice high-pitched.
    • Les Dawson's first action on taking over was to snap it in half and throw it away.
  • Spoonerism: Dawson almost always referred to the consolation prize as "A Blankety-Blank chequepen and book!"


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