Blankety Blank (later called Lily Savage’s Blankety Blank) is a British comedy game show based on the 1977–79 Australian game show Blankety Blanks (which was in turn based on the American game show Match Game).
The British version ran from 18 January 1979 to 12 March 1990 on BBC One, hosted first by Terry Wogan from 1979 until 1983 followed by Les Dawson from 1984 until 1990. Regular members of the celebrity panel on this version included Kenny Everett, Lorraine Chase, Gareth Hunt, Gary Davies, Paul Daniels and Cheryl Baker.
A revival hosted by Paul O’Grady (as Lily Savage) was produced by the BBC from 26 December 1997 to 28 December 1999, followed by ITV from 7 January 2001 to 10 August 2002. David Walliams hosted a Christmas Special for ITV on 24 December 2016.
Two contestants compete. Historically, the contestants have always been a man and a woman or two women; at no point did two men compete head-to-head. The object of the game is to match the answers of as many of the six celebrity panelists as possible on fill-in-the-blank statements.
The main game is played in two rounds. The contestant is given a choice of two statements labelled either “A” or “B”. The host then reads the statement. When Les Dawson became the host, the programme did away with the A or B choice, but this was reinstated when Lily Savage became the host. Frequently, the statements are written with comedic, double entendre answers in mind. A classic example: “Did you catch a glimpse of that girl on the corner? She has the world’s biggest blank.”
While the contestant ponders their answer, the six celebrities write their answers on index cards. After they finish, the contestant is asked for their answer. The host then asks each celebrity – one at a time, beginning with #1 in the upper left hand corner – to give their response. The contestant earns one point for each celebrity who wrote down the same answer (or reasonably similar as determined by the judges) up to a maximum of six points for matching everyone.
After play is completed on the contestant’s question, the host reads the statement on the other card for the challenger and play is identical.
The challenger again begins Round 2, with two new questions, unless they matched everyone in the first round. Only celebrities that a contestant failed to match could play this round.
If the players have the same score at the end of the show, a tiebreaker is used that reverses the game play. The contestants write their answers first on a card in secret, then the celebrities are canvassed to give their answers. The first celebrity response to match a contestant’s answer gives that contestant the victory; if there is still no match (which is rare), the round is replayed with a new question.