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Thread: Family Fortunes

  1. #1

    Default Family Fortunes

    And our survey says: why won't Family Fortunes stop? It's relentless. Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be any more people whose families actually wanted to go on television next to them and make themselves look stupid by giving silly answers to pointless questions - there were. Family after family...aunty this, uncle that, cousin whoever - there were hundreds of them. And nowadays you not only have to watch witless reality show 'stars' and their relatives competing against z-list soap actors and their kin, you also have to put up with bland-bombshell Vernon Kay presenting the whole thing. He's no Bob Monkhouse, that's for sure.Family Fortunes has been on screen pretty much constantly since 1980, and in this time been through a variety of presenters, but the ultimate was the aforementioned Monkhouse, whose natural brilliance at jokes and quips first entertained the audience when the show began, until 1983. Max Bygraves took over for the next two years, with Les Dennis then taking over the reins on a long (and ratings-wise, successful) run from 1987 until 2002. Andy Collins (no, I've got no idea either) presented one series at the end of that year, and then everybody (well, me at least) breathed a sigh of relief as the tired and dated format came to an end. Except it was then revived in 2006 as All Star Family Fortunes, which of course was excellent news, as we all are aware that what already famous people really need is yet another arena in which to market themselves, instead of having a nice lie down in a darkened room, nowhere near a television camera.To understand why this show should have pegged out years ago you need to understand what the show involved. Each week would find a team made up of five people related to each other standing behind a long desk, opposite another family. The presenter would start by inviting one person from each side to come up to a pedestal in the middle of the set. He would then ask the well-known question 'We asked 100 people to name....' (which could be anything from '....famous British monuments' to 'the first thing they would buy if they won the lottery') and a player would buzz in with an answer. If they managed to guess the top answer on the large display board at the back of the set (i.e. the answer that the most people out of the 100 gave) they could then choose to play - if they felt their family could come up with the remaining answers - or pass to the other team if the category was a tough one. The presenter would then walk over to the family that was going to play this round and make inconsequential (and often embarrassingly banal) small talk: 'So Uncle Fred, you ride a bicycle?' before asking for another answer to the original topic. The idea was to find all the responses given in order to win money; the number of people (from the 100 asked) who gave each correctly-found answer would be converted into pounds. If one of the team gave an incorrect answer then the board gave that famous 'Eh-Er' noise beloved of Dads everywhere when their teenage offspring ask for a tenner to go out; hear three 'Eh-Ers' and the opposing team got an opportunity to 'steal' the money by guessing a missing answer. If they also got an 'Eh-Er' then the first team got to keep however much money they had already made. In the second series onwards the teams could also win prizes when a particular answer was found; mostly those old game show staples of HI-FIs, TVs and weekend breaks, but occasionally something more interesting (such as a year's supply of beer) was also won.It got even more - er - exciting after the break, when the teams competed for 'Double Money'. Yes, as it implies, this was exactly the same as the last round - more strange questions, more inane small talk - but each answer was worth two pounds, rather than one. There were fewer answers to guess each time as well, so it was slightly more challenging than the round before. The first family to get £300 in answer money went on to the final, 'Big Money'. Big thrills.In 'Big Money' two players from the winning team took part in a speed round. The first player would be put under a spotlight in the darkened studio, whilst the second was led off to a soundproof booth so they would be unaware of what was being said on stage. The presenter would then explain that there were 15 seconds on the clock, and ask the contestant five quick-fire questions such as 'Name something you might wear on special occasions', 'Name a cheese made in the UK' with answers based on the whole 'asking 100 people' scenario again. The second contestant was wheeled back on and asked the same questions, but given twenty seconds this time in case they duplicated one of the first answers. If they got over 200 points then they won the top cash prize, which varied from a maximum of £1000 in the first series, to £5000 later on (not huge amounts, but even less when you realise that it had to be shared between the entire family). In 1994 a 'bonus star prize' was added; any team who found all five top answers (i.e. the ones that the majority of each 100 people had chosen) on the board won a car, and from 1998 had a choice of either the car or a holiday. In Andy Collins' (still no idea) daytime reincarnation of the show the prize values actually dropped. Not sure how they sold that one - 'Hey, come and humiliate yourself and your family but for less money, wahey!' In fact they didn't sell it, and perhaps that's why it only lasted one series.Of course the prizes were not the reason that most people tuned in to watch Family Fortunes; no, the stupid answers given by the panicking contestants were why most people tuned in. 'Name a game that uses a black ball: Darts.' 'Name a number that you might have to memorise: Seven.' 'Name an animal that lives in the English countryside: A lion.' 'Name an animal used as a form of transport: A turtle.' You see? Hopeless under pressure. And funny.We had a couple of years' respite from Family Fortunes between the end of 2002 and 2005, until those omnipresent cheeky chappies of presenting, Ant 'n' Dec, brought it back as their Gameshow Marathon Grand Final (thanks guys) with the families of never-off-the-telly-either pair Vernon Kay and Carol Vorderman. Kay then went on to host All Star Family Fortunes in 2006, where the teams of non-famous families were replaced with, as I've already mentioned, celebrities and their relatives. I say celebrities, but I'll give you a selection of the guests who've appeared so far and let you make up your own mind: Chris Moyles, Jenni Falconer, Eamonn Holmes, Christopher Biggins, Vanessa Feltz, Sean Maguire, Jane MacDonald, the cast of The Only Way is Essex. Yes, that's what I was thinking too. And it's still going on. 22 series in the original Family Fortune run, and series eight and counting of All Stars. And with the ever-increasing number of reality shows churning out more and more 'celebrities' faster than we can count, I can't see it ever stopping. Eh-Er.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Family Fortunes

    really liked the show when bob monkhouse presented it.

    not really fond of les dennis or vernon kay.

    i just liked bobs way of doing it.
    FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Family Fortunes

    Gotta agree with Darren here.
    Bob Monkhouse totally made the show, as he did with all the shows the great man presented.
    Pessonally I actually like Les Dennis myself, and I think he did a decent job with the show.
    The Max Bygraves years were entertaining, Max was lovely, but he was quite a (hilariously) shoddy host.
    As far as Vernon Kay goes, well, I don't think the language would be suitable for this site.
    Suffice to say, I really don't like him.

    Honestly though, the Monkhouse episodes are regularly repeated on Challenge.
    Have a watch and see a master at work.

    Oh yeah, that "Turkey" bit was brilliant, if anyone knows what i'm talking about............

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    Default Re: Family Fortunes


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Family Fortunes

    Hey mate i see what you mean by the turkey.
    seeing that clip with max what a nice chap and GSOH.
    must be old though as he mentioned alex higgins.
    FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

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    Default Re: Family Fortunes

    Bob Monkhouse was the best host - he really was in charge as a game show host as he was with all the game shows he was involved with. I think that he had a mid-Atlantic feel about him which Hughie Green, Wogan, Eamonn Andrews and a lot of other presenters had. This is why I preferred his version of Wipeout to Paul Daniels' version - I felt that Monkhouse had more experience with game shows than Daniels had, and also I feel that Daniels was wasted as a game show host because I believe that his strengths and talents was as a magician. Also, it was ironic that Monkhouse decided to change the title of the show from the original Family Feud as it sounded as if the contestants were not getting on with each other, and so it was changed to Family Fortunes which sounded as if the families were winning a lot of money and prizes - the way it should be. It was ironic that the title was changed because Monkhouse decided to keep the $64,000 Question name intact when he became host in 1990 even though the title was not relevant to British audiences, especially the fact that only 6,400 was on offer as a jackpot.

    Max Bygraves wasn't too bad, but you can tell that Family Fortunes would be his only foray into being a game show host - mind you, when it comes to the songs that he was famous for as well... I suppose that he did lots of things but was not perfect with all of them. The best Bygraves episode was the Johnson family one with the "Name a famous Irish man" and "Turkey" - could one imagine that in a Monkhouse episode? Some say that his lapses was a sign of early Alzheimer's which had developed in later years. Pity because he was a great actor in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    Les Dennis sometimes made me cringe and I was surprised how long he was there as host - 15 years or so. You can tell that he was in a different generation to Monkhouse and Bygraves and that he was more of the M Barrymore / Davro / Wilmot / Russ Abbot generation. The studio changed colour many times throughout the 1990s and it felt modern compared to the brown and cream set that both his predecessors had. I did find it annoying when Dennis often said "if it's up there, I'll give you the money myself", which was a roundabout way of saying that the chances of it being on the board if practically zero - a bit like a Prime Minister losing their seat in a General Election, or Lord Sutch getting elected in a by-election.

    Also, I believe that Dennis had never heard of Jason Orange formally of Take That, because one FF question was: "name a surname which the same as a colour". Someone said "orange" and Dennis immediately said "if it's up there, I'll give you the answer myself". It wasn't there, but that was not the point. Mind you, he used his annoying catchphrase and twice the answer was there - one of them was "a way of toasting someone" and a contestant said "over a fire", and "grill" was on there at the bottom of the list. We also saw quite a few "all male" or "all female" panel families on some editions as well. Why?

    Andy Collins was a someone who was a warm up man in the same league as Greg Scott and Bobby Bragg and just happened to host the show. Nothing much to be said about Collins but he appeared in pantomime a bit, and did the early show for BBC Three Counties Radio - a bit of an Alan Partridge of the Beds, Herts, and Bucks area methinks!

    Vernon Kaye and All Star Family Fortunes? - far too ironic, and far too many C-list celebrities and their offspring on board.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Family Fortunes

    Quote Originally Posted by George 1978 View Post

    Max Bygraves wasn't too bad, but you can tell that Family Fortunes would be his only foray into being a game show host - mind you, when it comes to the songs that he was famous for as well... I suppose that he did lots of things but was not perfect with all of them. The best Bygraves episode was the Johnson family one with the "Name a famous Irish man" and "Turkey" - could one imagine that in a Monkhouse episode? Some say that his lapses was a sign of early Alzheimer's which had developed in later years. Pity because he was a great actor in the 1950s and early 1960s.
    Agreed Grorge - Les often made me cringe (though since he got on Corrie as Michael I really7 respected his career after that and more so after seeing his early comedy Sketches on BBC4 at Xmas)

    Though saying this I found most gameshows cringy/clowned and un-nvel and most with that pretend clapping added too. Though I think Les came on leaps and bounds as his career moved onto more stuff that would not be termed cringy

    80sChav

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