Does ITV need a classic game show revivial?

Could Bullseye, You Bet!, Catchphrase or Wheel of Fortune be a 21st century hit?.

John Leslie and Jenny Powell host Wheel Of Fortune (STV).

With Red or Black? failing to keep its viewers, maybe ITV need to take a look back into the archives for some successful formats that could still prove a hit with modern audiences.


Produced in the Midlands first by ATV and later by Central Television the game show was also based around ‘red and black’. The game of darts lead to a host of catchphrases such as “you can’t beat a bit of Bully”, “look at what you could have won” and “super, smashing, great”.

The series’ mascot Bully became a much loved personality in his own right, with much demand for the ‘bendy bully’ prizes. Central Television received thousands of letters asking where the foam character could be bought.

The series never became unpopular, it just seemed to fall out of fashion with ITV bosses at the time. A recent revival was mildly successful for Challenge TV, but for ultimate ratings original host Jim Bowen would have to be back in charge of the dart board.

‘Bully’ and Jim Bowen on Bullseye. (Central).

You Bet!

All the other game shows listed have been quite low budge in the scheme of things, however You Bet! always looked the bigger budget glossy game show. Produced by LWT it was launched by Bruce Forsyth however the series was at its most popular with Matthew Kelly as host.

A celebrity panel, along with the audience, had to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to whether a challenge would be completed in the time frame given. Challenges would involve experts in their field of skill and would be set against a time limit.

The money the celebrities and audience ranked up was donated to charities. The show went downhill fast when it was revamped and Darren Day took over from Kelly.

Bruce Forsyth oversees You Bet! (LWT).


It’s quite surprising that this TVS, later Central Television, production hasn’t seen a revival on ITV as it’s a format that could never really become dated.

Originally hosted by Roy Walker the show saw two contestants correctly provide popular phrases from clues given via computer generated animated picture visuals.

The show only failed on ITV after it was shunted to daytime and a couple of unsuccessful presenters were drafted in to replace the much more popular Walker.

Roy Walker asked contestants to ‘say what they see’ in Catchphrase (TVS).

The Generation Game

It isn’t unheard of for programmes to switch channel’s, after all quiz show Blankety Blank moved from the BBC to ITV, so why not this long running classic? Originally a hit in the 1970s and early 80s it proved to be a popular revival in the 1990s.

Hosted by Bruce Forsyth, Larry Grayson and Jim Davidson it was a family aimed series which comprised of contestants taking part in a wide range of rounds. Everything from general knowledge to construction skills would be tested in ever changing games.
The highlight, and most fondly remembered segment, was the finale conveyor belt round which saw the finalists try to remember a host of prizes that would pass them by on the belt, including that all important “cuddly toy.”

Larry Grayson and Isla St Clair oversaw The Generation Game in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Wheel of Fortune

Produced by Scottish Television the series was based on the American format. The show catapulted Nicky Campbell and Carol Smiley into millions of viewers homes each week.

The game revolved around solving word puzzles on a giant board, with the wheel element confined to contestants spinning a large wheel to decide how much money they’d win for a correct letter answer. One of many ITV game shows that were shifted into daytime and quietly departed the schedules.

Other hosts included Bradley Walsh and John Leslie. Carol departed with Jenny Powell stepping into her word turning role.

Bradley Walsh was the final host of Wheel of Fortune.