Show Discussion: Blankety Blank

Christmas Eve, 6:30pm,
ITV

David Walliams returns with an art-deco reboot (well, one-off with a clear view to a series) of Blankety Blank, no doubt helped by a successful reboot of Match Game in the US this year.

Panellists are Joe Lycett, Anne Robinson, The Chuckle Brothers, Lesley Joseph, Louis Walsh and Brooke Vincent (who’s the only one unknown to me) – actually it’s a fun sounding line-up although one that’s clearly geared towards a slightly older audience. There’s likely to be a lot of added mucking about to fill the hour, it used to fill a 30-40 minute slot with two games, two supermatches and an effective big prize final and it will have sixty here (the recent Match Game had effectively one game and a final as a self-contained 30 minutes times two).

We enjoy Blankety Blank and especially enjoyed it on Walliams’ 24 Hour Panel People, but that was mainly down to Paul O’ Grady whinging about how much he didn’t like hosting it full time for about an hour. Whether this will hit those heights remains to be seen. The set looks tiny from the advert.

21 Comments

  1. Thomas Sales says:

    Brooke Vincent is an actress, I recall seeing her on All Star Family Fortunes a while back. I will say that by the standards of what I saw earlier this year on Lily Savage’s Blankety Blank on Challenge, that is one weak panel, and frankly I think they’re looking for something cheap to burn off against Pointless Celebrities.

  2. scousegirl says:

    The thought of the appalling David Walliams presenting anything fills me with horror and that line-up has the distiict sound of a barrel being scraped. 🙁

  3. Cliff says:

    Oh my god, they’ve killed Blankety Blank. Walliams is inexplicably being smarmy and sincere rather than subversive, and the questions are sadly lacking in innuendo.

    I thought Lily Savage was arguably even better than Les Dawson at this gig. If ITV want to bring it back, they need to coax her out of retirement, or find someone else suitable from the current stand-up circuit.

  4. Callum J says:

    I’m loving it so far.

  5. Peter H Todd says:

    The special was 100% fantastic. David did the show proud. For me ITV has picked some great guests and the ones who don’t do many tv shows which is nice. The set is nice, do like the clolour scheme it does remind me of watching the re-runs of the older versions. Glad the didn’t change the theme tune too much. The prizes were good as always. Check book & pen is always good to see. Did like the up to date joke with the pin & chip. I for one wants ITV to commission a full series & I can say it won’t fail. I will say that the special/pilot will get around the 3.5m mark.

  6. It just about got away with it; three genuinely very good gags, Paul Chuckle taking it as seriously as if he were playing the Royal Variety Performance for the first time, and the youngest members of the panel absolutely knowing their roles. If ITV had the self-restraint to keep this to one Christmas Special a year, they could ration the gags out to keep this a genuine treat. If they’re thinking about a series, the question writing at the very least needs work.

    • I’ve been thinking about this more. The show gave me five good hard laughs, which is easily good enough, as well as a few other smiles. The trouble is that they largely came from playing with the show, rather than playing the show, and I don’t think they can be funny a second time for a long time.

      1) The contestant answers straight away by mistake.
      2) They over-rotate the contestants and have to get the Chuckles out to help rotate it back.
      3) Updating the chequebook and pen to a chip-and-pin device.
      4) The expanding tent.
      5) Gloriously extravagantly getting a choir in for one throwaway gag.

      The only one of those that you can come close to repeating is having fun cheap prizes which do silly things. Can the production team come up with enough other ways to subvert people’s expectations and keep the show fresh, when the actual play of the game was very moderate? Hard to say, but I still maintain that they could do once a year even if not once a week.

      Joe Lycett worked for me in context because he followed the Golden Rule of the upper left square: if you’re going to muck about, muck about for both players in a match equally. He was very disengaged from the game, but I can’t help feeling that he wasn’t really more out-there than, say, Willie Rushton of old. (Admittedly Willie Rushton tended to rein it in for the second round of a match.)

      In disappointing news, 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown’s Christmas special this year featured neither boxes nor carrots and did not attempt anything nearly so imaginative. Boo.

  7. Des Elmes says:

    The penultimate Saturday night Lottery draw on BBC1… aired last week.

    Thanks mainly to Mr Walliams’ celebration of Shirley Bassey, tonight’s draw aired on BBC2. And there was only a brief mention by Gaby of the impending move to the iPlayer.

    I guess this means things are largely going to stay as they are after the move has been made. (I’d be very surprised if they continued to book a musical act each Saturday, though – surely it won’t be worth the expense any more?)

    • John R says:

      It is gone full stop come the move according to the producer in this podcast (From about 1 minute in), will all be automated just like the Wednesday YouTube draw is at the minute

      http://www.themediapodcast.com/episode-65-has-the-bbc-given-up-on-millennials/

      • Des Elmes says:

        So it’s leaving BBC1 with a whimper then. Especially as next Saturday’s draw, despite Sophie Ellis-Bextor, won’t even air at the same time in Scotland (15 minutes after the rest of the UK, to be precise).

        I’m well aware that the draw stopped being must-see television ages ago – certainly after Mystic Meg left, and probably some time before that as well. But, jeez, it’s been on BBC1 for *22* years – an absolute age by today’s standards – and it’s going *this* quietly?

        No nostalgia trips, no facts and figures, not even any proper mention of the end of an era? Just “here’s the Thunderball, here’s the Lotto, here’s the Millionaire Raffle, here’s the musical act, that’s a wrap”?

        Oh, well. I’m probably the only one who really cares here, anyway.

  8. Brig Bother says:

    I quite enjoyed that, thought Walliams handled it quite well and thought panel pretty good in the main, although a bit disappointed Joe Lycett, who I like usually, not really playing in the spirit.

    I thought the questions were probably slightly too open-ended (you don’t want one clear definitive answer, but you also don’t want something with so many answers nobody’s going to match) and something about the pitch of the think music was very aggravating.

  9. Kniwt says:

    Surprisingly strong — and fast-moving once past the intros — but, yes, something tells me that should this go to series (as it should), Mr Lycett will not be invited back. Perhaps he thought this was going to be Alec Baldwin’s Match Game?

  10. TheLupineOne says:

    Geared towards a slightly older audience? I found it a laugh riot and I’m 25!

    Plus points for still having msbyslly operated circles and triangles and keeping “Reveal the legend”, minus points for not having the Supermatch Game jingle. But the humour was enough for Blankety Blank to edge its way into my picks for the 2016 Bother’s Bar Poll of the Year Hall of Fame, at the expense of BLANK.

  11. Andrew Hain says:

    I obviously know how the format works because it’s based on Match Game here in America. But what are the cash values in the Super Match and how much can you multiply your winnings by in the Head to Head?

    • Not a cash game at all. It is played for deliberately chintzy, small prizes, of which they make the meagreness a virtue, and the head-to-head “doubled” it up to a moderately small holiday. At a guess, I’d say GBP 30 / 60 / 120 and the holiday is probably somewhere in the GBP 1-2,000 region.

  12. Brekkie says:

    As a one-off it was fine and I suspect it will go to series, though not quite sure where it would fit in the schedules – Wednesdays might work better than the weekend, but dragging it to an hour is a bit much. If they do better to have a full round with the two winners to determine the winner of the show.

  13. Clive of Legend says:

    Quite enjoyed it! Much more low-key than the recent American revival, and therefore way less exhausting to sit through for a full hour. And somehow, for all the non-game mucking about, it felt way less scripted than neo-Match Game. The gag about calling it a Christmas special in lieu of a pilot was a particular delight.

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