Popular British Game Show on ITV; three eccentric couples competed to fulfill a contract of answers to a question in order to earn moves across an arch of screens. When said monitors are "struck", they would reveal either a prize or a "Hot Spot", which would cause the couple to lose their turn and the prizes they earned from the previous screens unless they chose to stop. But the last screen if a team makes it that far, contains a final question (the "final Strike it Lucky Question") which often contained a major prize like a vacation.
The format originally premiered in the United States (as Strike It Rich) and was produced by Kline & Friends (of Break the Bank (1985) and Win, Lose or Draw fame), but flopped after the 1986-87 season. The British version debuted a month after the American series began, and was considerably more popular, running from 1986-94 followed by a three-year revival in 1996 as Michael Barrymore's Strike It Rich.
A one-off revival aired as part of the 2020 miniseries Alan Carr's Epic Gameshow.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: Pick one of the rows for each column of screens, revealing a move, a Hot Spot, or a true/false question that turns into a Hot Spot if you answer incorrectly (there are 10 of each across the 30 monitors). Try not to hit more than the number of Hot Spots on which you bid beforehand, because making a lower bid increases the prize money; the higher the bid, the more Hot Spots you could hit without losing. Failing to win earned money for each successful move.
- Originally, the prize money was £1,000/£1,500/£2,000 (with no money per screens traversed without Hot Spots), then £1,000/£2,000/£3,000 (with lesser money of £100/£200/£300 if they go over their Hot Spot limit). Later on, after the ITV winnings cap was abolished, the prize money was increased to £3,000/£4,000/£5,000, with the lesser money increased to £300/£400/£500. When the show became "Strike it Rich", the money increased to £5,000/£7,000/£10,000, with the smaller prizes changed to £250/£350/£500.
- The American version had the winning couple deciding to either play for $5,000, or $5,000 and a car, and they would go across the arches, alternating monitor activations- they would either find a dollar sign (also the logo of the show), or a Bandit; you needed a certain amount of dollar signs to win (the dollar signs themselves would net the team a small amount of cash), and could only get either 2 or 3 Bandits before losing.
- Confetti Drop: Balloons were dropped when a couple won the bonus round in the American version.
- Consolation Prize: Michael Barrymore was generous from time to time; if a couple didn't win much, he would either just strike a few screens to give them prizes, or give them back prizes lost from a Hot Spot.
- Also, the American bonus round had the dollar signs uncovered worth cash if they found too many Bandits.
- Luck-Based Mission: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Home Game: A DVD game was released in 2007. Unlike many DVD games, it was surprisingly faithful to the actual show, and Michael Barrymore even hosted it!
- The Announcer: John Benson (who announced the ITV version of Sale of the Century), then Robin Houston (an ex-Thames continuity announcer, as well as the announcer on Challenge TV's version of Sale), and finally Nick Jackson in the UK. Bob Hilton announced most of the American version; Charlie O'Donnell did at least the earliest taped episodes.
- Game Show Host: Michael Barrymore. Joe Garagiola did the American version.
- Studio Audience
- Show the Folks at Home: During the "Strike it Lucky" era (1986-1994), the total number of Hot Spots on the board were revealed to viewers, but not where they were.
- Undesirable Prize: Quite a few pop up, including "Llama Trekking in Sussex" and a "Personal Telephone Number".
- Whammy: The Hot Spots, they're not good spots. The American version had the Bandit, which was pretty much the same.
This show provides examples of:
- Big "WHAT?!": Some of the more ridiculous prizes would get this response from Michael, especially if it was a prize that REALLY didn't fit the recipient (for example, an elderly couple winning tank driving lessons).
- Carried by the Host: Michael Barrymore was one of the reasons why the British version lasted for over a decade.
- Catchphrase: What is a Hot Spot not?Studio Audience: ...a good spot!
- Christmas Episode: The show had a number of them throughout the years, with most of them being played for charity. At least two had children as contestants, and the 1991 special had members of the Armed Forces (Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, British Army) and their wives competing.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The earliest taped episodes of the US version had Charlie O'Donnell announcing, and the Bandit was a simple red dot with a burglar mask instead of a cartoonish man. They were also played slightly differently. Each monitor held a prize, and the Bandit would zip back and forth across the arch. The couple would hit a button to stop the Bandit; if he landed on any screen with a prize, the couple lost all unbanked prizes. The bonus round also had more options: find 3 dollar signs for $1,000, 4 for $2,000, 5 for a car, and 6 for two cars.
- Retraux: Prize introductions were filmed in a 1950s slapstick style.
- Series Fauxnale: The 1992 'Best of' and Christmas specials were said by Michael Barrymore to be the end of the series. Whilst it wasn't mentioned why, it was namely because the show's producers, Thames Television, lost their ITV franchise that year to Carlton, and handed over to the newer franchise on New Year's Day 1993. This wasn't the case, as the show continued for two more series in 93/94 (produced by Thames, and played out on the network by Central Independent Television), and then ran as Strike it Rich between 96 and 99 (though the latter incarnation was produced by London Weekend Television).
- Title Drop: The final Strike It Lucky Question always shoehorned in the words "strike it lucky" somewhere.
- Transatlantic Equivalent:
- As mentioned above, the American version came first. This was a daily show with only two teams playing (the pilot had three teams like the British version, but this was dropped), the Hot Spots were called Bandits, and the bonus round was a little different.
- An Australian version based off the British run aired for a brief time in 1994. This version had a few quirks of its' own, including some bonus spaces.