Blankety Blank was a legendary comedy game show that sent itself and other game shows up playing up at every opportunity how cheap it was, right down to the prizes. Running for 290 episodes and 17 series. It was based on the Australian game show Blankety Blanks (which in turn was based on an American game show Match Game) that ran from 1977 – 1978.
It ran in 3 blocks with three different hosts from: 1979 – 1983 with Terry Wogan. 1984 – 1990 with Les Dawson, when it was cancelled much to Les Dawson’s disappointment (by then it had racked up 218 episodes). The BBC resurrected it in 1997 for 27 episodes with Lilly Savage (Paul O’Grady) in charge, cancelled by the BBC again in 1999. ITV brought it back with Lilly Savage for 45 episodes between 2001- 2002.
Although each presenter brought their own slant to the show, there will be few people who argue that Blankety Blank was at it’s peak under Les Dawson, who could hardly control himself from hysterics as each week he pored scorn and ridicule at the quality prizes on offer. Dawson affectionately ridiculed the show with dialogue such as “And for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t got an Argos Catalogue, here’s some of the rubbish you might be saddled with tonight.” On one memorable occasion, the 300 Blanks star prize was actually decent – a trip on Concorde. As the audience (expecting the usual cheap prizes) clapped and cheered appreciatively, Les waved them down with “Don’t get excited – it goes to the end of the runway and back.”
Each week two contestants, always a man and a woman went head to head in the race for those ‘fire salvaged’ prizes, with the help of a celebrity panel.
Terry Wogan 1979 -1983
Les Dawson 1984 – 1990
Lilly Savage (Paul O’Grady) 1997 -1999 (BBC) and 2001 – 2002 (ITV)
Channel: BBC1 1979 – 1990 and 1997 – 1999, ITV 2001 – 2002
Original Run: 18 January 1979 – 12 March 1990
Second Run: 26 December 1997 – 28 December 1999
Final run: 2001 – 2002
Blankety Blank enjoys regular repeats on the digital channel: Challenge