Take Your Pick!

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This article is about the game show. For the album, see Take Your Pick (album).
Take Your Pick!
Created by Michael Miles
Starring Michael Miles (1955–68)
Des O'Connor (1992–98)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Running time 30 minutes
(including adverts)
Production company(s) Associated-Rediffusion
(1955 - 1968)

Thames Television
(1992 - 1996)
(1994 - 1998)

Grundy Television
Distributor Fremantle Media
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 23 September 1955 (1955-09-23) – 28 August 1998 (1998-08-28)

Take Your Pick! was a United Kingdom game show originally broadcast by Radio Luxembourg in the early 1950s. The show transferred to television in 1955 with the launch of ITV, where it continued until 1968. As it was the first game show broadcast on commercial television in the UK (and the BBC did not at that point offer monetary prizes on its game shows), it was also by default the first British game show to offer cash prizes.The programme was later revived from 24 February 1992 to 28 August 1998.


Take Your Pick! host Michael Miles

The first television version was produced by Associated-Rediffusion (later Rediffusion London), while the revival was made by Thames Television (whose arrival as the new London weekday ITV company had led to the original show's demise).

If they got through the "Yes-No Interlude" (in which they had to answer a series of questions without using the words "yes" or "no" or be gonged off the stage), contestants would answer questions to win modest monetary prizes and at the climax of the show had to decide whether to "take the money" or "open the box". The box could contain good prizes (for the time), such as a holiday or a washing machine, but could also contain booby prizes such as a mousetrap or a bag of sweets.

The first version was hosted by Michael Miles (after its demise, Miles hosted a similar show for Southern Television called Wheel of Fortune, not to be confused with the later Wheel of Fortune of the same title). Bob Danvers-Walker, the voice of Pathé News from 1940 until its demise in 1970, was the show's announcer, and Alec Dane was on hand to bang the gong. At the electronic organ was Harold Smart.

Des O'Connor became the host for the second version in the 1990s. His future wife Jodie Wilson was one of the hostesses; she would later be replaced by Neighbours twins Gayle and Gillian Blakeney.

It was revived again for one night only as part of Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon in 2005, a series of the Geordie duo presenting classic ITV gameshows as part of the channel's 50th anniversary in their own style.

A similar formula was used for Pot of Gold, another game show, hosted by O'Connor.

The Des O'Connor series is currently being repeated on Challenge.

Yes/No game[edit]

In this opening game, the host asked the contestant a series of questions for 60 seconds and the contestant could not say yes, no, nod or shake their heads. If they did, the co-host would bang the gong and the contestant would be eliminated (unless other contestants did the same).

Box numbers and the prizes[edit]

There were 10 boxes numbered from 1 to 10 and an additional Box 13. Of the former, there were 3 boxes containing booby prizes, 1 containing a star prize (e.g. a small car) and 6 containing other prizes (of which 1 was a "treasure chest" of cash). One box also included the option to choose Box 13. The host offered an alternative prize of up to about £50 (or, in the revival, a number of hundreds of pounds) in cash and the contestant had to choose between "taking the money" and "opening the box".

In this game, the host might ask 3 out of 4 questions correctly before the contestant picks the boxes from 1 to 10 and activating box 13 within the 10 boxes like cinema tickets, baby food, used condoms, cowboy hats or pork pies which relates to a prize, but also with larger prizes containing such as television sets, video players, cash, karaoke machines, double beds, music vouchers & sofas and booby prizes containing nose hair trimmers, last night's cold food, a box of chocolates, breakfast cereals, rotten tomatoes, cat food and dog food and the star prizes containing kitchen appliances, cars, motorbikes, jet skis, hotels, computers and holidays.

Cultural references[edit]

A sketch in Monty Python's Flying Circus (called "Spot the Brain Cell" in a later audio version) has John Cleese playing an "evil" game show host, hitting contestants over the head with a giant hammer, which is clearly a wildly exaggerated version of Michael Miles (the game he is hosting is a parody of the "Yes-No Interlude" from Take Your Pick!). An early version of this sketch appeared in At Last the 1948 Show. For a time after Miles' death the sketch was not shown by the BBC, but it has since been reinstated.

Also, in the Hungarian Tourist sketch in Monty Python's Flying Circus, a prosecutor (played by Eric Idle) plays the game with Alexander Yalt (played by Michael Palin). The prosecutor manages to gong Yalt "out" for answering a question with "yes" (although, Yalt was probably unaware of playing the game in the first place).

A sketch in the BBC Radio comedy series The Burkiss Way featured a "Dinosaur-Cheese Interlude", in which contestants were required to answer questions without mentioning any species of dinosaur or any variety of cheese (besides Edam, which was "made" backwards). Naturally, all the contestants did accidentally mention them.

A fifth season episode of the radio show Hancock's Half Hour (broadcast May 1958) had Tony Hancock appear on the (unnamed) show and win £4,000.

The British progressive rock band Hatfield and the North named one of their songs "The Yes No Interlude". It is included in their second LP, The Rotters' Club.

The 1970s radio programme I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again made frequent references to Take Your Pick with phrases such as "Stake the bunny!" "Open the box!"


Michael Miles era[edit]

The programme was aired at 7:30 Friday evenings Information needed

Des O'Connor era[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
24 February 1992
11 May 1992
8 July 1992
23 September 1992
12 July 1994
22 November 1994
13 May 1996
26 August 1996
5 June 1998
28 August 1998

External links[edit]