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Series / Family Fortunes

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The British version of the popular American Game Show Family Feud. It is very similar in format to the American version, and almost as long-lasting. It was re-named because Bob Monkhouse thought that "feud" sounded too aggressive.

It was originally presented by Bob Monkhouse from 1980-83, when Max Bygraves took over. After taking a hiatus in 1986, the show returned in June 1987 and gained its most famous host, Les Dennis, who would host until it ended in 2002. Andy Collins hosted a short-lived daytime version in 2002 as well. In 2005, the show served as the final round of Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon, a celebrity tournament featuring recreations of classic game shows. Vernon Kay hosted All-Star Family Fortunes between 2006 and 2015. The civilian version was revived in 2020 (although beginning with some celebrity shows because of COVID-19), this time with Gino D'Acampo hosting.

One of the most famous bloopers from this version is the "turkey" incident, where a contestant gave "Turkey" for three consecutive answers in the show's equivalent of Fast Money.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Announcer: Andrew Lodge (1980-87), Stephen Rhodes (1987-99), Peter Dickson (2000-01, 2006-2015), and Roger Tilling (2002).
  • Big Honking Traffic Jam: If the Car was won by a family, Horn sounds are played, which are timed to the Big Money winning tune.
  • Bonus Round: "Big Money", played identically to the Feud's Fast Money round. Reaching 200 points wins the top cash prize; anything less won £2 a point.
    • Beginning in 1994, an addition to the round was that if the family claimed all five #1 answers, they would win a car. Beginning in 1998, a holiday was also offered as well (although the Family could choose only one of either).
    • In the Vernon Kay and Gino D'Acampo series, gaining all five top answers and reaching 200 points would increase the £10,000 jackpot to £30,000.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "(Our) survey said", as in the American version.
      • This is extended with Gino, saying: "Is (answer) on the board? Our survey said…"
    • If a contestant gave a particularly stupid answer, Les Dennis would sometimes say "If that answer's there, I'll give you the money meself!" Humorously, this backfired at least twice (one for “a way of toasting someone” and “something that dogs do that you wish you could”.)note 
    • During Max Bygraves' run: "Biiiiiiig moneeeeeeeeey!"
  • Celebrity Edition: All-Star Family Fortunes.
  • Christmas Episode: The series has seen a few Christmas specials throughout its life. For the Les Dennis series, the contestants were celebrities playing for charity.
    • In 1989 and 1990, the celebrities were dressed as Panto characters, with Les Dennis himself as Buttons.
    • In 1991, the two teams consisted of younger stars (nicknamed the "Up-Starts", playing for children's charities) and older stars (nicknamed the "Push-Starts", playing for charities that supported older people). The contestants wore their own clothing this time round other than the addition of a few of them wearing novelty Christmas hats. Les wore a Christmas Jumper this time round. The Big Money round ends up dampening the whole game, as the Up-Starts fail to reach 200 points, only reaching £687 for the team. That is until the Push-Starts team leader, Gordon Kaye surprises Les with a double Big Money gamble, where Les HIMSELF plays the game. If he gets 100 points, the normal £3,000 that would have been won would be doubled to £6,000 for all the charities. Les manages to reach 103 points with his final answer, ending up with £6,000 for the four charities, ending the episode on a high note.
    • In 1993, cast members of Emmerdale took on real farmers (nicknaming themselves the "Binding Farmers"). The contestants wore mostly formal attire, while Les wore a more formal suit with a bow tie.
    • For the Vernon Kay All-Star series, the Christmas Specials normally put cast members of two television shows against each other.
  • Clip Show:
    • The classic era had three:
      • "Family Misfortunes", which aired in 2000 and was hosted by Les Dennis, featured answers from not just the various years he presented, but also funny answers from the Bob Monkhouse and Max Bygraves eras. The area where the Car would normally be in the actual show was replaced with a sofa, where Les would show off the answers throughout the entire show.
      • "More Family Misfortunes" (2001), also hosted by Les Dennis, only features answers from his time as the presenter, mainly from the 2000-2001 series. This installment had more interactivity with Les and some of the contestants who previously appeared on the show.
      • "Family Misfortunes 3" (2002) was hosted by Andy Collins and features funny answers from the daytime series that he hosted, as well as Les' final series.
    • Vernon Kay's one was titled "All Star Family Misfortunes", which aired in 2015.
    • The clip show from Gino's first series was called "Gino's Best Bits", which aired in September 2021.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The "Turkey" Man.
  • Companion Cube: The computer that ran the show's electronic board was named Mr. Babbage. It was replaced with a more traditional scoreboard when Les Dennis took over, but quickly reverted to Mr. Babbage the next series.
  • Comically Small Bribe: A Bygraves era family, the Johnsons, tried to buy the rights to their episode for £100 so it wouldn't air. (Among other things, one of their members, Bob, was responsible for the "Turkey" incident.) One small problem: it cost £38,000 to make an episode at the time.
  • Confetti Drop: In the 1988-1991 Christmas Specials, balloons would fall at the end of the respective episode. Otherwise, the show averts this.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Les Dennis, though Monkhouse and Bygraves also had their moments.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Strikes were originally called "ducks" in this version, before turning into the more familiar "lives lost".
  • Foreign Remake: One of the more notable instances.
  • Game Show Host: Bob Monkhouse, Max Bygraves, Les Dennis, Andy Collins, Ant & Dec, Vernon Kay, and Gino D'Acampo.
  • Hi, Mom!: On one episode, Monkhouse asks one of the game board operators to display a message on Mr. Babbage. The board flashes "HELLO MUM!"
  • Losing Horns: The distinctive "EHH-URHH!" sound when a wrong answer is given.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Happened with the question "Name something associated with The X-Files." It just so happened that neither contestant facing off was familiar with the series, and the contestant who did buzz in offered the answer "Television!"
  • Product Placement: Of an odd sense - whilst Max Bygraves hosted the series, if either of the two families won a music center or record player via one of the spot prizes, he'd give that family a copy of his latest album as a bonus.
  • Progressive Jackpot: From series 2 through 7—Series 2 and 3 had the Big Money start at £1,000, and increased by £500 each week until it was won or it reached £2,500. In Series 4, 5, and 6, the Big Money limit was £3,000. In series 7, Big Money started at £1,000, and increased by that much until it reached £3,000.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme song used since Les Dennis' first series in 1987 has had several rearrangements over the years including 1993, 2000, 2006 (the most dramatic change) and 2020 (which is pretty much a recreated version of the 1993 theme).
  • Sound Proof Booth: As in the American version, the second contestant wears noise-canceling headphones while the first one plays Big Money.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: "Name a way you would toast someone." The buzz-in response given was "Over a fire." Les promised to give the contestant the money out of his own pocket if it was up there. It was (though it came up as "Grill" and was worth 12), and he promised to pay her £12.
  • Studio Audience: Surveyed for the questions.
  • Two Decades Behind: Mr. Babbage remained in use long after other game shows (including the American version) had switched to digital game boards. After the old board was used one last time on Gameshow Marathon, the show finally started using a video wall when All-Star Family Fortunes debuted.