|Presented by||Bob Monkhouse (1980–3)
Max Bygraves (1983–5)
Les Dennis (1987–2002)
Andy Collins (2002)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||22|
|Running time||30mins (inc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||ATV (1980–2)
|Picture format||4:3 (1980–2002)
|Original run||6 January 1980– 6 December 2002|
|Related shows||Family Feud
All Star Family Fortunes
Family Fortunes was a British game show, based on the American game show Family Feud. The programme ran on ITV from 6 January 1980 to 6 December 2002 before being revived by the same channel in 2006 under the title of All Star Family Fortunes. Revived episodes are currently being shown on ITV on Sunday evenings and have been presented by Vernon Kay since 2006.
Hosts and presentation
Family Fortunes was first hosted by comedian Bob Monkhouse (1980–1983) then by singer and entertainer Max Bygraves (1983–1985). After being rested for the whole of 1986 the show returned with Les Dennis on 27 June 1987, and had a consistently successful run for the next fifteen years. It was then moved out of peak time and became a daily daytime show, hosted by Andy Collins, but it only had a short run in this format before being axed. From 2006, the series was hosted by Vernon Kay, and was renamed All Star Family Fortunes, as each team consisted of a celebrity and four family members. The show was transmitted back to peak time.
Christmas specials aired most years during earlier runs of the show, with prize money going to charity, and contestants being either celebrity families, or a group of actors famous for playing a fictional family. Several Christmas of All Star Family Fortunes have aired as well.
The most iconic aspects of the show are the large computer screen, named "Mr Babbage" by original host Bob Monkhouse and the famous computerised "Eh-uh" sound used when wrong answers are given. Both were originally designed to appear high-tech but have since become fondly regarded for being quite the opposite (as compared to the original US Feud, which has used a video board since its 1999 revival). The computer screen name "Mr Babbage" was in recognition to the English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer, Charles Babbage.
Two family teams, each with five members, would be asked to guess the results of surveys, in which 100 people would be asked open ended questions (e.g. "we asked 100 people to name something associated with the country Wales" or "we asked 100 people to name a breed of dog"). Although rarely acknowledged in the show, the 100 people surveyed would invariably be audience members who had volunteered prior to the show.
Each round begins with a member of each team (in rotation, meaning all players did this at least once) approaching the podium. As the question was read, the first of the two nominees to hit a buzzer gives an answer. If this is not the top answer, the other nominee is asked. The team with the higher answer then chooses whether to "play" the question, or "pass" control to the other team (in reality, the teams rarely chose to pass).
The host then passes down the line of the controlling team, asking for an answer from each. After each answer, the board reveals whether this answer featured. If not, a "life" is lost. If a family managed to come up with all the answers given by the "100 people surveyed" (most commonly six in the early part of the show, reduced in number after the commercial break), they win the pounds equivalent of the total number of people who had given the answers. Every time someone gave an answer that was not on the board, the family lose a life, accompanied by a large "X" on the board with the infamous "uh-uhh" sound. If they lost all three lives, the other family was given the chance to "steal" by coming up with an answer that may be among the missing answers. If this answer was present, the other family won the round and was said to have "stolen" the money; if not, the family who had given the three incorrect answers win however much money their other answers had accumulated.
Following three rounds prior to the commercial break (two rounds in series 1), "Double Money" is played. Gameplay is the same as the first rounds, but each answer is worth £2 for each person who said it, and there are generally fewer possible answers. The family who passes £300 (£200 in series 1) first go on to play "Big Money" (known in some overseas versions as "Fast Money") for the jackpot.
In the revived 2006 version, there were three rounds of the main game and two rounds of double money and then the family who had the most money after this go on to play Big Money, regardless of whether they had £300 or more.
This involves two contestants (out of the five in the family team, in the 2006 revival including the celebrity as the second) answering five questions that fitted with those given by the "100 people surveyed", with the questions asked within a narrow time limit. The first contestant gives his/her answers to the five questions within 15 seconds; then the second contestant (who had been out of earshot of the first) give his or her answers within 20 seconds (the extra time was available for the contestant to give another answer if he/she duplicated an answer given by the previous contestant). If they get 200 points or more from the ten answers (i.e. at least 200 people had agreed with all ten answers combined), they win the top cash prize. From 1994 onwards, a bonus star prize was available if all five top answers were found, in addition to reaching 200+ points. If the family could not earn 200 points, they won £2 per point, up to £398. In the revived 2006 version, a loss earns £10 times the points earned in both front and end games, up to £1,990+.
Cash and prizes
The top cash prize in "Big Money" in the first series (1980) was £1,000. From the second series (1981), the prize started at £1,000 then rose by £500 weekly if no one won, to a limit of £2,500 (£3,000 from 1982, which it could stay at for more than one week if it still was not won). Once won, it reverted to £1,000 for the next edition. In the 1987 series, it started at £1,000, and if not won rose by £1,000 per week to a maximum of £3,000. From the 1988 series, the prize was stabilised at £3,000. After the abolition of the IBA's prize limits, the top prize rose to £5,000 from 1996. It should be remembered, though, that the money had to be shared out between five people; by the end of its run even the top cash prize seemed relatively small compared to those available on other game shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
The bonus star prize was always a car between 1994 and 1998. From 1998, contestants had the choice of either a car or a holiday. The car suppliers were Honda in 1994, SEAT in 1995, and then Daewoo after that until 2002.
However, this often led the show to an anti-climax, as having won the cash prize with one or more questions unrevealed, the game had to continue to see whether the bonus prize had also been won. If not, the show ended on a low point, despite the family having won the main prize.
During the programme's brief daytime run in 2002, the prize values shrunk significantly. If the contestants scored over 200 points they won £1,000 and if they found 5 top answers on top, then it was increased to £3,000. (As with the previous prizes, the £3,000 could only be won on top of the 200+ points)
From the second series in 1981 onwards, spot prizes were available in the main game, turning up seemingly at random when certain answers were found. Typically, these were music centres, televisions or video recorders (or in the later years, DVD players). Some were more unorthodox, such as a year's supply of beer, while the same short breaks away – an Agatha Christie Murder Weekend, a stay at a health spa or a canal holiday – were won on the show for many years. The current actors showing the spot prizes are Neil Hurst and Louise Cole.
The 2006 series features a top prize of £30,000. The celebrity contestants can win £10,000 for getting over 200 points in "Big Money", increased to £30,000 for getting all five top answers. The spot prizes remained but were won rarely and were now more action-based such as paragliding lessons. These are won by other members of the family, instead of the celebrity.
The original theme music was used from 1980 to 1985 was composed by Jack Parnell and David Lindup. In 1987, a new theme tune was written by Mike Alexander. Although the arrangements have changed over the years, it is still the same theme. The first version was used from 1987 to 1992, the second (credited as Michael Alexander) from 1993 to 1999, the third one from 2000 to 2002 was arranged by Mike Woolmans, and the current one from 2006 was arranged by Ash Alexander and Simon Darlow.
Over the years on Family Fortunes voice over announcers have been used on the show. For the Bob Monkhouse, Max Bygraves and half of Les Dennis' first series, the announcer was Andrew Lodge, while Stephen Rhodes announced for most of Les Dennis' era until 1999. From 2000–2002, it was Peter Dickson, while for the 70-episode daytime 2002 series, it was University Challenge voiceover Roger Tilling.
Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon
On 29 October 2005, Family Fortunes returned as the "grand final" of Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon, a series of revivals of former popular ITV game shows shown to mark the channel's 50th anniversary, and hosted by its most ubiquitous presenters of recent years. This show had Carol Vorderman and Vernon Kay playing for charity along with their own families, with Vorderman eventually winning.
All Star Family Fortunes
Subsequently, Family Fortunes returned (as All Star Family Fortunes) for a full series that started on 28 October 2006, with Kay as its host, and celebrities and their families playing the game, hoping to win either £10,000 or £30,000 for a charity of their choice. A significant change from the old series, was the use of a multi-coloured computerised scoreboard in place of the classic yellow-and-black LED version – the only other time a colour scoreboard was used was briefly in 1987 & 1988. Another significant (and rather odd) change is that whilst there are still 5 family members for each team, only four are assured of participating in a faceoff this despite the program being a 45-minute production now instead of the original 30-minute slot.
A second All Star Family Fortunes series began on 27 October 2007, lasting 10 weeks and the third series began on 13 September 2008, running for 13 episodes. The fourth series (17 episodes, including a Christmas Special) began on 20 September 2009.
Series 5 began taping on 3 September 2010 for a 15-episode run. The show began airing on 11 September 2010. This was also the first series of the show to be filmed and broadcast in high definition on ITV HD (also STV HD and UTV HD).
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||6 January 1980||13 July 1980||26|
|2||9 January 1981||11 July 1981||26|
|3||12 December 1981||4 September 1982||29|
|4||31 December 1982||24 June 1983||26|
|5||14 October 1983||1 April 1984||24|
|6||18 January 1985||6 June 1985||18|
|7||27 June 1987||31 July 1988||26|
|8||25 September 1988||2 July 1989||26|
|9||1 September 1989||22 December 1989||17|
|10||31 August 1990||28 December 1990||18|
|11||29 November 1991||28 March 1992||17|
|12||10 July 1992||1 January 1993||21|
|13||10 September 1993||31 December 1993||17|
|14||1 October 1994||22 April 1995||22|
|15||1 September 1995||26 January 1996||22|
|16||31 August 1996||15 February 1997||25|
|17||13 September 1997||7 February 1998||22|
|18||31 August 1998||20 February 1999||26|
|19||25 September 1999||18 March 2000||26|
|20||16 September 2000||24 February 2001||24|
|21||9 February 2002||31 August 2002||24|
|22||2 September 2002||6 December 2002||70|
Many of the Bob Monkhouse episodes have been wiped from the archives with Episode 1 from Series 1, Episode 23 from Series 2, Episodes 2 & 5 from Series 3 and Episodes 1-12 & 15-26 from Series 4 surviving from the wiping, but Bob Monkhouse saved over 80 episodes from his video tape collection.
- Family Fortunes end credits, 1983
- Fortune smiles on bad boy Vern The Sun, 15 April 2010.
- "Evening Times". Retrieved 13 May 2013.