TV Cream

TV: F is for...

Family Fortunes

YEAH YEAH, “turkey” and all that, but there was much more to it than that. An American format, it was brought to British screens by WILLIAM G STEWART, who moaned that only ten thousand families bothered to apply for the first run. LORD BOB MONKHOUSE was in charge originally, heralded by some mental violins and brandishing a stopwatch when he demanded contestants “Name it!”. Lovely touches abounded, not least the fact that the winners got a colour photo marking their day, while the losers only got a black and white one. Talk about rubbing it in. Bob did a hundred shows but when he innocently said, “Here’s to a hundred more, eh?” to Central’s Head of Light Entertainment at the party, only to be met with, “Oh, I doubt it”, he decided to bail out. In his place came MAX BYGRAVES, who turned out to be a complete disaster, with the man himself admitting he was far too slow and lumbering to keep the excitement up, never mind the fact he never listened to anything anyone said (“Jimmy McFee!”). Normal service was resumed, however, when LES DENNIS took over in 1987. A colour Mister Babbage came with him, but nobody liked it, so the old one came back again, and Les kept things running smoothly for over a decade – same “funny” answers, same silly dances when the families were introduced, same prizes (like the Agatha Christie Murder Weekend), same “Ooh ‘eck!” face from Les at the end when the winners kissed him. And still nobody passed when they were invited to play or pass. The only innovation came with the offer of a car or holiday if the winning family got all the top answers, and bafflingly every single family chose the car, however that could be shared between five people. However it all came to a sad end, when it was moved to daytimes. Les quit and was replaced by the charmless ANDY COLLINS, who was rubbish and the only memorable moment of his reign of terror came when some girl’s tit fell out of her top, which has been repeated on Channel Five every five seconds since.



  1. Arthur Nibble

    July 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    “If it’s up there I’ll give you the money myself!”

  2. Lee James Turnock

    May 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    My favourite moment…
    “Name a type of ache.” (Ear ache, tooth ache, head ache etc.)
    Pratty contestant says “A fillet of fish”.
    Audience piss themselves laughing.
    Still makes me chuckle to this day.

  3. Des Elmes

    September 1, 2010 at 1:23 am

    The current celeb-only version with Vernon C*nt succeeds in becoming more of a pain in the arse every series.

    Unquestionably the funniest moment so far in it – and one of the few genuinely funny moments in it, at that – is the one where Brian Dowling shouted out “Lesbian!” when asked for a type of bean.

  4. David Smith

    January 27, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Don’t think it was a stopwatch Bob brandished in the face of tardy contestants, it was an actual pocket watch on a chain. Very natty.

  5. Applemask

    April 7, 2017 at 7:08 pm


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