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Series / Strike It Lucky

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"Welcome to the fastest high stakes game on television— the all-new Strike It Rich!"

Popular British Game Show on ITV, hosted by Michael Barrymore. 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. When a team reached the next-to-last step no their path, they received a major prize (such as a vacation) and had to decide whether to risk it by trying to answer one more question and win the game.

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 revival has aired as part of Alan Carr's Epic Gameshow since 2020, along with other ITV game shows including Play Your Cards Right, The Price Is Right, Take Your Pick, Bullseye, Name That Tune, and ChildsPlay.

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: Teams that lost the main game without winning anything got one on the British version. At different times, Michael would give them a bottle of champagne, award the next couple of prizes along their path, or give them back the last batch of prizes they had lost on 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!
  • Personnel:
  • 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.
  • Insistent Terminology: "Strike the screen" was the phrase Barrymore used to instruct a player to push the button at their current position and reveal its monitor.
  • Retraux: At the start of each UK episode, some of the prizes on offer were described in time with a sequence of old film clips, often from black-and-white slapstick movies.
  • 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 another 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.