You Bet!

You Bet! is a British game show based around the format of the German show Wetten, dass..? developed by Frank ElstnerRichard Hearsey was the first producer of series one which was recorded at Shepperton Studios in late 1987 and transmitted on ITV in 1988. You Bet! ran on ITV, mostly on Saturday nights but sometimes on Fridays, between 20 February 1988 and 12 April 1997, initially hosted by Bruce Forsyth from 1988 to 1990, then by Matthew Kelly from 1991 to 1995 and finally by Darren Day from 1996 to 1997.

It was replaced the following year by Don’t Try This at Home!, which emulated the challenges of You Bet!, but were considerably more risky and dangerous. A close successor debuted in 2016 with Go for It!

A panel of celebrities would bet on the ability of members of the public to achieve unlikely challenges and stunts, which they had usually planned and rehearsed many times, within a limited amount of time. The studio audience would also place a bet on the outcomes. The panellists would receive points for each outcome they predicted correctly, based on the percentage of the studio audience that also placed a correct bet. The celebrity sponsoring the challenge (see below) always had to bet that their challenger would be successful. The accumulated total of points achieved by the celebrities would be added to the points totalled by the studio audience, increased several times over, converted into pounds and donated to a charity chosen by the celebrity panellist who had achieved the highest score.

1988

Each week there would be four challenges, some in the studio and some on location presented by Ellis Ward. The panellists would each “sponsor” a challenge, and Bruce Forsyth would also sponsor one. If the challenge sponsored by the panellist or Bruce Forsyth was not achieved, that sponsor would have to do a forfeit. (e.g., being a golf caddie or air steward for the day). (In the case of Forsyth’s challenge, the majority vote determined Forsyth’s prediction; an incorrect prediction forced Forsyth to do his forfeit. His explanation for this part was usually, “You’re now betting for the fate of Forsyth in the form of a forfeit. If you’re right, I’m alright; but if you’re wrong, I’m right in it!”) It was either broadcast in the studio on the same show or broadcast on location on the following week’s show. The show dropped the talk show aspects of Wetten, dass…? and concentrated on the challenges, thus reducing the running time from 2 to 3 hours to 1 hour. The original theme tune was composed by Alan Lisk, better known for penning the theme tune to Men Behaving Badly. The show’s airing slot was originally on Saturday nights.

The show closed with Forsyth doing the rap, along with the audience shouting back every “You Bet!” line: “Do you wanna bet on it? You bet! Well you’d betta get on it? You bet! So don’t fret, get set are you ready? You Bet!

Goodnight, God bless, I’ll see you next week, bye!”

1989–1990

A new theme tune was introduced, composed by Jonathan Sorrell.

Comments are welcome on your 80s memories...