Smile You’re On Candid Camera

Judging by the response we get to this post Candid Camera is as popular now as it was when it last appeared on our TV screens over 40 years ago.

Candid Camera was adapted from the original American TV series of the same name that had started life on American radio in 1947 as the Candid Microphone, switching to TV in 1948.

Candid Camera arrived on British TV screens in 1960, presented by Bob Monkhouse (indeed a famous clip, featuring the car that had no engine was screened on An Audience With Bob Monkhouse).  It featured Jonathan Routh and Arthur Atkins as pranksters and ran for seven years.

After a quick one off episode return in 1971, the show returned for two series in 1974.  Returning again in 1975 only briefly for two shows, a series of classic moments from the show’s archives hit the screen in 1976 for six episodes.  By now the show had notched up eight series.  Later in 1976 series nine would be the last.

Candid Camera has been hugely influential on both TV and Radio.  How many radio shows have used telephone pranks to great effect (Noel Edmunds immediately springs to mind), then there’s Beadle’s About, Just For Laughs and so it goes on.


Hidden cameras catch the reaction of unsuspecting members of the public  as the pranksters play practical jokes.












Bob Monkhouse – Host – (2 episodes 1960 – 1961)
Jonathan Routh   – The Practical Joker (18 episodes, 1960-1976)
Dolly Parton  –  Herself (2 episodes, 1975)
Peter Dulay  – Himself – Host (29 episodes, 1974)
Arthur Atkins – The Practical Joker (29 episodes, 1974)
Sheila Bernette – The Practical Joker (29 episodes, 1974)
Bill Lynton  – The Practical Joker (29 episodes, 1974)
Eve Polycarpou – The Practical Joker (29 episodes, 1974)
Jonathan Routh  – The Practical Joker (18 episodes, 1960-1976)


Channel: ITV
Created By: Allen Funt
Original Transmission Dates: September 10th 1960 – December 17th 1976

25 Responses

  1. Zoë Green

    The wonders of the Internet! My grandfather Bill Lynton passed away years before my birth but tonight I saw him for the first time in these candid camera clips…. If any British comedy expert remembers him in other shows please get in touch.

    • Colin Bissett

      I worked with Bill for (2 seasons I think)…I was in a couple. The only one on Youtube is the smoking stove. Great couple of years!

    • mike mcdonagh

      i remember cc in the 1960’s. it was great then. now it’s absolutly fantastic. why doesn’t the bbc repeat them. ive never laughed so much in my life. i never thought the bbc could better fawlty towers but cc wins by a mile.. jr rip.

  2. Dave Hearne

    I have always been curious about what became of the various stars from the British Candid Camera series. I know that Jonathon Routh (died 2008), Peter Dulay (died 1999) & Arthur Atkins (died 2010) are no longer with us. However, Sheila Bernette & Eve Adam (now known as Eve Polycarpou) are still alive. I assume that Ken Wilson is no longer with us either – if anyone has any information I would love to know? Zoe – do you mind if I ask what year Bill Lynton passed away? I have searched numerous times on the internet but there is very little information on him. I have several episodes of Candid Camera that I copied from VHS to DVD & he is featured in quite a few of them. I particularly like the one where he is dictating a threatening letter to an unsuspecting secretary to type out. How he keeps a straight face is beyond me.

      • Andy Lawrie

        Ken Wilson you were a hero of mine in the 1970s when CC was on, along with all the other great people, I remember the ballet one at Butlins and the film shop when you are “destroying” customers films !!! and so many more.
        Thanks ever so much for all the laughs,luckily I bought 5 videos in the 1980s that were “the best of” CC and moved them on to DVD before VHS left us !!
        I treasure them !!

      • Joanna Roffey (Savage)

        Wow. Hello Ken. Are you still with us? Jeff Savage’s daughter here, Jo. Steve and I were searching for you on the internet and found the deckchair skit and some candid camera sketches. Great to watch you in action again. Lots of love xxx

      • Clive Parker

        So nice to hear you are still in the land of living.
        Do you still need a haircut, or polish your shoes. Jason has just told us he was working a couple of doors from you. We hope that you and Pam are keeping well.

      • Gary

        Wow, do glad to hear that you are still with us, Ken. Loved some of your stunts, and bought all the 5 Candid Camera Classics videos released in the 1980s.

        You appeared in the Irish version too, which was good to watch. The wedding prank is, still, my favourite.

        Best wishes from Lancashire, Gary

      • Chris Thonpson

        Hi Ken . Brilliant to here from you on this blog . Respect you’re a mega hero of mine as are all the cast of CC .

  3. Resa

    Hi, my mother was an unsuspecting member of the public on one of the 1960s UK shows. Do you know where I might be able to find an archive copy please?
    Many thanks.

    • admin

      we’ve had e few queries relating to archives. Candid Camera was made by ABC Television, ABC Weekend Television and London Weekend Television. As your Mother was a hit in the 60’s it would probably be ABC. However ABC became LWT both franchises of ITV and now defunct. If you are a regular reader you’ll know that much TV output in the 1960’s was junked and therefore does not exist in the archives. I have no idea if this is the case with Candid Camera. Your best bet would be to try emailing ITV with your query they might be able to point you in the right direction or even resolve your query. Hope this helps and do let us know how you get on

  4. Julian

    Does anyone know the exact location of the “Bournemouth Landlady” prank? I just wondered if the building still exists and whether it’s still a guest house. Thanks. Julian

    • admin

      Sorry Julian,nobody here, however we have had the most amazing response to this post with comments coming in almost weekly since we put it out,so if anyone out there can help Julian with his query please let us know

  5. Paul Guerin

    Back around 1973 whilst touring round the UK I was asked by a “portrait artist” to hold his spot at a crafts exhibition in Stratford-On-Avon as he needed to use the loo. I was approached by a “passerby” who desired a portrait. I delayed as much as I could but then was pressured into a miserable attempt at creating “art”…finally the truth was revealed and this poor innocent Yank was shown to be another victim of twisted British humor…I’ve yet to recover.

  6. carolyn copperwheat


    I love CC and if anyone knows how i can purchase all the episodes somewhere i’d very much appreciate it. Illness has meant that i’ve plenty of time to sit back and just enjoy!



  7. Caroline

    Hi, I’m looking for one episode where they install a public toilet at a private house. Does anyone happen to know if it is online somewhere?

  8. Alan

    Candid Camera was one of my favourite programmes Recently in Southend a couple in the street came up to me thinking they knew me
    Instead of saying I didn’t know them from Adam,I played along with them.They asked me if I had seen friends etc They went away quite happy!

    Alan Barber

  9. Jackie Clark

    Hello from Australia! A news item tonight about border posts in Ireland for Brexit reminded me of an wicked CC when unfortunate farm labourers crossed the Welsh/English border on their bicycles in the morning and when they came back in the evening there was a border post with customs! One of them had to pay duty on shoelaces bought. Can’t remember which direction. Anyhow, I should so like to find that episode. It was B&W so definitely in the early days
    Can anyone help?

  10. Giles

    Inexperienced Driver – can’t stop watching that one. Anyone know the location of that one? The clip with the two passers-by going ‘Wooooooaaaahhhh!’ lol

  11. John Gallon

    I would love to see the CC stunt, the funniest ever, where a demonstrator (a member of the public) baked a cake in a few seconds. There was a door in the back of the oven where the raw cake mix was swapped for a baked cake. The final “punch line” was when a raw cake mix came out after a few seconds fully iced with lit candles.

  12. Andrew May

    My Favourite has to be the Bournemouth Landlady, the clip on youtube only briefly showed More Joyce’s reaction at the end but I would love to know if there was ever a follow up or an interview with her as she was such a good sport and handled the situation superbly (considering she was on her own and up against 2 grown men).


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