You Bet ! – 1988
Another prime time Saturday Night classic. You Bet ran for 10 series over 101 episodes between 1988 and 1997.
It was a British game show that was based around the format of German show Wetten, dass..? developed by Frank Elstner.
Initially the show was hosted by Saturday Night TV legend Sir Bruce Forsyth, with co host Ellis Ward.
However over the show’s nine year run there would be two changes in host, when initially Brucie stepped down in 1990 to re-join the BBC presenting The Generation Game, Matthew Kelly (Game For A Laugh) stepped in, he stood down in 1995 to concentrate on Stars In Their Eyes and was replaced by Darren Day.
It wasn’t just the hosts that changed over the years, so did the co-hosts. First was Ellis Ward, who had stayed on after Bruce Forsyth’s departure, she was not initially replaced until Darren Day took up presenting duties in 1996 and was joined by Diane Youdale for one series and in the final series Sarah Matravers became co-host.
In 1991 ITV moved the show to a Friday night, it was re-instated to it’s Saturday slot in 1994.
A panel of celebrities would bet on the ability of members of the public to achieve unlikely challenges and stunts. Usually these had been planned and rehearsed many times, within a limited amount of time.
The studio audience also got to bet on the outcomes. Panellists would receive points for each outcome they predicted correctly, based on the percentage of the studio audience that also placed a correct bet.
The celebrity sponsoring the challenge always had to bet that their challenger would be successful. The accumulated total of points achieved by the celebrities would be added to the points totalled by the studio audience, increased several times over, converted into pounds and donated to a charity chosen by the celebrity panellist who had achieved the highest score.
Each week there would be four challenges, some in the studio and some on location presented by Ellis Ward.
The panellists would each “sponsor” a challenge, and Bruce Forsyth would also sponsor one.
In the event of the challenge not being achieved, that sponsor would have to do a forfeit. (e.g., being a golf caddy or air steward for the day).
In the case of Bruce Forsyth’s challenge, the majority vote determined his prediction; an incorrect prediction forced Forsyth to do his forfeit. His explanation for this part was usually, “You’re now betting for the fate of Forsyth in the form of a forfeit. If you’re right, I’m alright; but if you’re wrong, I’m right in it!”) It was either broadcast in the studio on the same show or broadcast on location on the following week’s show.
For series 2 a new theme tune was introduced
Following the departure of Bruce Forsyth, some major changes were introduced. A new logo was introduced, Matthew Kelly stepped up as host to replace Bruce Forsyth. Also, the challenges went up from four to five, which meant that Ellis Ward got involved, with her sponsoring challenges as well. Matthew Kelly also got involved in doing the work on location challenges, as well as Ellis Ward. Finally, if Matthew Kelly’s challenge ended in failure, he had to do his forfeit, regardless of the audience’s prediction.
1992 – 1993
The departure of Ellis Ward as co-host led to the number of celebrity guests being increased from three to four per show and Matthew Kelly doing all the work on location challenges. She would not be replaced until 1996.
The show decided there would be no more forfeits for the celebrities and Matthew Kelly when sponsoring their challenges.
Instead, they introduced the celebrity challenge, where the lowest celebrity scorer would do only one forfeit challenge, which would be broadcast the following week’s show. The public then got to vote in at home to donate £1,000 to a charity of their choice if the celebrity succeeded or failed the challenge.
The set was replaced by a new “arena” that allowed much more floor space for the challenges. Matthew Kelly announced his intention to leave the show and concentrate on hosting Stars in Their Eyes after transmission of Series 8. The viewers’ phone vote was dropped after Series 8 was shown.
With a new host in Darren Day and the return of the co-host it was time for more changes. The co-host worked on location challenges, the forfeits also returned to the show, but they were not chosen by the celebrity guests. This time they were automatically chosen by the crew at the end of each show for the celebrity who got the lowest score in the show.
The final series and another set of changes.
The show introduced a new item for the celebrities, they could play their YOU BET! BONUS CARD, which meant their points would be doubled if they successfully guessed the outcome of a challenge (which can only be played once in the entire show). The celebrity challenge returned to the show, and the audience got to choose which challenge they would choose for the lowest scoring celebrity at the end of the show from two choices with cryptic clue titles (e.g., “Ooh! That’s better!” or “Dangling Down”).
Bruce Forsyth (1988–90)
Matthew Kelly (1991–5)
Darren Day (1996–7)
Co – Presnters
Ellis Ward (1988–91)
Diane Youdale (1996)
Sarah Matravers (1997)
Produced By: London Weekend Television
Original Transmission Dates: 20th February 1988 – 12th April 1997