Takeover Bid, 1990

Thirty years ago today Bruce Forsyth returned to the BBC.  It would have been Bank Holiday Monday at the time.

He was to host a revived version of The Generation Game, but before that it was time to host a whole new game show: Takeover Bid.

Despite the track record of it’s presenter Takeover Bid failed to catch on with audiences and was cancelled after two series, after clocking up twenty eight episodes.


Each show begins with Bruce throwing his bowler hat and umbrella onto a hat-stand and failing miserably.

Next we meet the contestants.  Each one is treated to Forsyth’s Fact or Fib?, Bruce reads a statement which is either true or false.

Contestants are given a selection of prizes,worth 1, 2, 3 or 4 stars and they must decide which of those prizes they want to wager.  If they answer the question correctly they were able to start with a bonus of whichever value they had bid. If they failed, in the first series, they’d lose the prize concerned, but not in the second series. In both, however, the bonus would come in very handy if the contestant won the next round. (At this point, Claire would usually throw in some quirky fact related to the question and say, “I knew that,” to which Bruce would respond, in mock-disgust, “Yes – you would!”)

Round two, Crazy Cryptics, involves the contestants answering questions to steal prizes. A contestant must nominate a prize of their own to bet against a prize of their choice from one of their opponents.

Each prize was valued at 1 to 5 stars, but you can only try to steal an opponent’s prize that is one star better than the prize you are risking. These two people go head to head. The other contestant sits it out, but, in the second series, can steal if neither of the others get it right.

The contestant with the highest number of stars at the end of the round gets a bonus of 10 stars to take through to the end game, plus the bonus if he/she had got one in the first round – this was normally rounded up to the nearest 5.

Whoever wins the big game moves onto the final, Star Spin. There we find a big circle on the wall divided into 10 subjects and a giant five-pointed star in the middle.  The star is spun and wherever the five points land determines which subjects are asked.

The contestants have to bid a certain number of the stars they have already won, depending on how confident they feel on the subject in question. If they reach 100 points before their final question, they can, if they wish, bid all their points for the chance to win a holiday or some other big prize by answering that question.  If they fail, they win nothing.  (Although Bruce would always throw something in ‘out of his own personal pocket’ – apparently!)

There’s always the risk contestants might run out of points early on in the round, or they might not get enough to reach the 100. If the latter happens, they can at least cut their losses by bidding all their points to get some smaller prizes.

All seems a bit complicated so let’s have a look at the show.




Hosted By:

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Claire Sutton


Channel: BBC1
Original Transmission Dates: 26th May 1990 to 15th July 1991


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