Bruce Forsyth And The Generation Game 1971 – 1977

There are few things we find funnier than when watching someone else “mess it up.”  The Generation Game was a prime example of just that.

Based on the Dutch TV show Een van de acht, “One of the Eight”, where four teams of two people (from the same family, but different generations, hence the title of the show) compete to win prizes.

During the 1970s, the game show began to become more popular and started to replace expensive variety shows. New studio shows were cheaper, compared to hiring the theatre, paying for long rehearsals and a large orchestra, and could achieve as many viewers.

Suffering in the ratings the BBC decided it would make its own gameshow.  Bill Cotton, then Head Of Light Entertainment, decided Bruce Forsyth would make an ideal host for such a show.

It proved to be a popular decision,  Pairing him up with his then wife Anthea Redfurn as co host , the Generation Game was one of the strong shows in the BBC’s Saturday line-up.  It regularly gained over 21 million viewers each week.

So popular has the show become in television history it ran on and off until 2002


Each show started with eight competitors; hence the catchphrase “Let’s meet the eight who are going to generate”, used in earlier series by Bruce Forsyth.

In the first two rounds, two couples would compete against each other in two games. One game usually involved first seeing a skilled professional construct or perform something, such as pottery or dancing. The contestants would then attempt to do the same, and a score would be given by the professional.

The other game usually involved more of a quiz element, such as identifying pieces of music. At the end of each of the first two rounds, the couple with the lowest score was eliminated.

The two highest-scoring couples then competed against each other in the final. This was often a big set-piece performance; in the earlier series presented by Bruce Forsyth it was usually a drama or farce.  The couple that scored the highest went through to the final ‘conveyor belt’.

At the end of the show, one member  of the victorious team watched prizes pass on a conveyor belt, and then won as many as they could remember in a set time.  A trademark of the show was the cuddly toy, always among the prizes. This led to an affectionate joke: “Dinner service…fondue set…Cuddly toy! Cuddly toy!”, which is often quoted whenever the show is mentioned.  Competitors for this round were often egged on by the audience shouting out what they had seen, this continued throughout the lifetime of the show.









Channel: BBC 1
Starring: Bruce Forsyth and Anthea Redfurn
First Run: 2nd October 1971 – 31st December 1977

Repeats: The show enjoyed a repeat outing on UK Gold in 2007.  Unfortunately there are no DVD releases of any of the show’s classic moments.

What Happened Next ?

Whilst remaining strong in the BBC’s Saturday Night line up things were about to change as ITV lured Forsyth away to host Bruce’s Big Night.  However Bruce would return 23 years later to present Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game



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