The Price Is Right

 

Highlights

  • British game show based on the US version of the same name
  • Hosted by well known names like Leslie Crowther & Bruce Forsyth
  • Voted in the Top 5 British game show favourites of all time
  • Originally ran from March 1984 until April 1988

 

The Price is Right is a British game show based on the US version of the same name. It originally aired on ITV from 24 March 1984 to 8 April 1988 and was hosted by Leslie Crowther. The show later briefly moved to Sky One for one series as The New Price is Right from 4 September 1989 to 31 August 1990 with Bob Warman as the host.

It returned to ITV, as Bruce’s Price is Right, from 4 September 1995 to 16 December 2001 with Bruce Forsyth hosting for seven series, and again on the same channel from 8 May 2006 until 12 January 2007, this time hosted by Joe Pasquale. Two one-off specials aired as part of ITV’s Gameshow Marathon in September 2005 and April 2007.

On 30 December 2017, it was revived for a one-off pilot hosted by Alan Carr on Channel 4. In 9 June 2017, Carr was announced as the new host.

Leslie Crowther hosted the original UK version, having beaten Joe Brown to the role of host after both recorded pilot episodes. It was also notable for being produced by William G. Stewart (of later Fifteen to One fame), who made the occasional cameo appearance. The Crowther version is popular with fans of the show for its near-campiness, frenetic pace, glamour, and the endearing presentation skills of its host, not for its cheaper prizes (which were forced on it by the Independent Broadcasting Authority’s prize limits). Its format was nearly identical to that of CBS’s daytime show in the United States.

It initially used the Big Wheel to decide who would go through to the Range Finder (Scoring 100 won £500 and a bonus spin which awarded an additional £1,000 for spinning 100 or £250 for landing on an adjacent section), but the IBA forced Central to abandon this because of the lack of pricing skill involved. While the show had to go off air for a while during its first season due to an electricians’strike,the format was adapted to fit into a much more tightly-regulated UK broadcasting environment.

After this ruling was made, the show replaced the Big Wheel rounds with a game called “Supermarket”, a game loosely based on the American version’s “Grocery Game” pricing game. In “Supermarket”, each of the three people would select up to four of six presented grocery products; the one whose total was closest to £20, above or below, advanced to the Range Finder.

Series two saw the Big Wheel return for a spin-off to see who would have the option of bidding or passing on the first showcase; each contestant had to take two spins. If a person scored 100, £400 would be donated to charity on their behalf, and Leslie would ask the person a consumer-related question to win £100 for him/herself. The winner was the contestant who came closer to 100 in either direction.

The Crowther version later replaced Supermarket and the Big Wheel called with the “Showcase Showdown”, where all six on-stage contestants played a series of estimated-guess questions and the person farthest away from the actual prize was eliminated. This was done until the last two contestants were left, and they then advanced to the Range Finder.

The final round, the Range Finder, was played largely the same way as on the Showcase finale on the American version. In the first season, the winner would not win the largest prize in their showcase if their winning guess was not within 10% of the showcase total. In subsequent seasons, the game was played with 1972–74 United States rules (no Double Showcase rule), while it did use the rule for a double overbid.

Games

  • 3 in a Row (not based on any US game.)
  • 3 Strikes
  • Any Number
  • Bargain Bar (“Barker’s Bargain Bar” in the US.)
  • Blank Cheque (Now known as “Check Game” in the US.)
  • Bonus Game
  • (The) Card Game
  • Check-Out
  • Cliffhanger (“Cliff Hangers” in the US.)
  • (The) Clock Game
  • Danger Price
  • Dice Game
  • Escalator (“Walk of Fame” in the US.)
  • Five Price Tags
  • Give or Keep?
  • Hi Lo (played with small prizes instead of grocery items.)
  • Hole in One
  • Lucky 7 (played with seven £1 coins for a prize with a three-digit price.)
  • Master Key
  • Matchmaker (not based on any US game; a pricing game in name only, as it actually involved no prices at all.)
  • Money Game (played for a vehicle with a three-digit price.)
  • Most Expensive (an original game later introduced in the US as “Easy as 1, 2, 3”; not the US’ “Most Expensive”; contestants only won the most expensive prize.)
  • One Away
  • Partners (loosely based on Double Bullseye.)
  • The Penny Drops (“Penny Ante” in the US.)
  • Permutation (not based on any US game; played much like Balance Game II.)
  • Pick-a-Pair (played with small prizes instead of grocery items.)
  • Punch a Bunch
  • Race Game
  • Range Game
  • Safecracker (“Safe Crackers” in the US.)
  • Secret X (contestant has three chances to win up to two X’s in addition to the one given at the outset.)
  • Side by Side (not based on any US game; not related to the US’ Side by Side in any way.)
  • Squeeze Play (played for a three-digit prize; players remove two numbers instead of one from a set of five digits or one number from a set of four.)
  • Switcheroo (played for four two-digit prizes and one three-digit prize.)
  • Take Two
  • Temptation
  • Ten Chances (played for two two-digit prizes and one three-digit prize.)
  • Tic-Tac-Toe (a variation on Secret X.)
  • Time-Play (a variation on Clock Game; played for three three-digit prizes in ascending order of price.)
  • Trade Up (“Trader Bob” in the US.)

Announcer

  • Simon Prebble (1984–1988)

Models

  • Marie-Elise Grepne (1984–1985)
  • Jacqueline Bucknell (1984–1986)
  • Julia Roberts (1984–1986)
  • Denise Kelly (1984–1988)
  • Sandra Easby (1985)
  • Cindy Day (1986–1988)
  • Carol Greenwood (1986–1988)
  • Gillian de Terville (1986–1988)
  • Elsa O’Toole (1986)
  • Judy Bailey (1986–1988)
  • Laura Calland (1987–1988)
  • Sarah Wynter (1988)

The second version hosted by Bob Warman is considered to be a precursor to the third version hosted by Bruce Forsyth, as it was a half-hour and used the Showcase range game. Having premiered shortly after Leslie Crowther’s version went off the air, it retained many elements from the set and props, but was somewhat “Americanized”. The show was hence called “The New Price is Right” and had a red, yellow and green pound sign. The Warman version also had slightly better and more expensive prizes than the Crowther version due to the program’s shorter length, in-show sponsorship, and lighter government regulation of satellite television channels.

The show also had a light border in the opening (mimicking the American version), used US music (including the opening theme, the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour theme and Concentration car cues, to name a few), and had more colour on the set.

The Showcase round was played considerably differently: After three games and a single Showcase Showdown at the Big Wheel (in which spinning 100 earned a bonus spin worth a bonus prize), the Showdown winner selected a range at random from £250 to £1,000; if the bid was within the selected range of the price of the presented showcase without going over, they won the Showcase.

In June 2019, it was announced that The Price Is Right had been chosen as one of the country’s five all-time favourite game shows to be “supersized and rebooted” in new series Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow commissioned by ITV. The 7 part series will be filmed at Dock10 at MediaCityUK and broadcast later in the year.

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