Ask the Family

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Ask the Family
Genre Quiz show
Created by Patricia Owtram
Presented by Robert Robinson
Theme music composer John Mayer
Opening theme "Acka Raga"
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Original channel BBC1
Original release 12 June 1967 (1967-06-12) – 22 October 1984 (1984-10-22)

Ask the Family is a British television quiz show originally made by the BBC and broadcast between 1967 and 1984. In 1999, it was revived by the BBC, and in 2005 again returned with a series on BBC2.[1]

The show took the form of a quiz contest between two teams, with each team consisting of four members of a single family – two parents and two teenage children. Over the course of the thirty-minute show the teams were asked a variety of general knowledge questions and mental puzzles, with the winner advancing to the next round.

Original series[edit]

The show was created in 1967 by Patricia Owtram and continued on BBC1 for 17 years until being cancelled in 1984, after being won by the Ward family from Portstewart, Northern Ireland. Throughout this time it was presented by Robert Robinson. Ask the Family proved a hit, becoming known for its riddles and favourites such as images of household objects viewed from close-up (photographed by Eric Ilett) as well as its perennially precocious young contestants. Its theme music was also distinctive, a piece called "Acka Raga" performed by John Mayer on the sitar. Later series of the programme's original run used "Sun Ride" performed by John Leach as theme music. The final three seasons were heralded by an arrangement of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag.

The teams were asked questions, with certain questions directed at only certain members of the family – such as "children only", or "father and elder child only". The series was in knockout format with each week's winner returning in the next round.

UK Gold revival[edit]

In early 1999, the UK channel UK Gold filmed a new series of the show, reviving the original format and with Alan Titchmarsh as the new quizmaster. The show was broadcast on BBC One later in the year. Its theme tune was "Sun Ride" by John Leach, which had also been used as the theme during some of the later Robert Robinson series.

2005 revival[edit]

The show again returned to the BBC when it was shown at tea-time on BBC Two and presented by children's presenters Dick and Dom. Dick and Dom's Ask the Family broke with its wholesome origins with a format in which the questions were secondary to the presenters' antics and it attracted some controversy. The creator of the 1967 show, Patricia Owtram, derided the show saying, "I was disgusted that, in the first Dick and Dom programme, a boy who gave a wrong answer was forced to wear a donkey mask and be hooted".[2] This version of the show lasted one series.


  1. ^ Evans, Jeff (2001). The Penguin TV Companion. Penguin. p. 31. ISBN 0-14-051467-8. 
  2. ^ "Dumber and dumberer". London: Daily Telegraph. 17 April 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 

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