Wheel of Fortune (UK game show)
|Wheel of Fortune (UK)|
Logo used from 1994-98
|Created by||Merv Griffin|
|Presented by||Nicky Campbell (1988–96)
Bradley Walsh (1997)
John Leslie (1998–2001)
Paul Hendy (2001)
|Starring||Angela Ekaette (1988)
Carol Smillie (1989–94)
Jenny Powell (1995–2001)
Terri Seymour (2001)
|Voices of||Steve Hamilton|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||14|
|No. of episodes||737|
|Running time||30mins (inc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||Scottish in association with Action Time (19 July 1988 - 31 December 1989)
Scottish (19 June 1991 - 21 December 2001)
|Picture format||4:3 (1988–2001)
|Original run||19 July 1988– 21 December 2001|
|Related shows||Wheel of Fortune|
Wheel of Fortune is a British television game show created by Merv Griffin. Contestants compete to solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes. The title refers to the show's giant carnival wheel that contestants spin throughout the course of the game to determine their cash and/or prizes. The programme aired between 19 July 1988 and 21 December 2001 and was produced by Scottish Television for the ITV network and mostly follows the same general format from the original version of the programme from the United States.
Unlike the American version, where the numbers on the wheel correspond to the amount of money won by each contestant, the British version instead referred to these amounts as 'points' – they had no cash value, their only purpose was to determine the grand finalist, or to choose a winner for a particular round. Points earned from all players carried on to proceeding rounds, and were susceptible to Bankrupts, meaning a winner could be crowned that never solved a puzzle, but acquired a large amount of points. This rule would actually encourage sacrificing a player's turn if he or she didn't know the puzzle rather than risking his or her points by spinning again.
Since the puzzleboard was always manually-operated, the host asked a general knowledge question at the start of each round. Whoever buzzed in and answered it first gained control of the wheel. From 1988 until 1993 at the latest, however, each turn started with a 50/50 trivia question. The contestant needed to answer the question correctly in order to spin. Otherwise, play passed to the next player.
Starting by 1993, from Round 3 to the end, the points on the wheel were worth double.
The center player's arrow determined the point value for each consonant in the speed-up round (and during the final spin both Walsh and Leslie employed the catchphrase "No more spinning, just winning!" whilst explaining how the speed-up round worked). Vowels were worth nothing, and consonants were worth whatever the value spun. The values were doubled starting by 1993.
In the Grand Finale, the winning contestant chose from one of three bonus prizes to play for. In 1989–2001, the contestant could pick from envelopes to choose which prize they could win, but there were only three ("A", "B", or "C"), which were later reduced to two ("A" or "B"). The contestant had 15 seconds to solve the puzzle to win the prize. Unlike other versions, the player could solve any one word individually, and then work on any other word in the puzzle. For example, if the puzzle was "A CUP OF TEA," the player could solve "OF," then "A," then "TEA, and finally "CUP" to complete the puzzle.
Unlike the original American version, instead of cash prizes, successful spinners from each round were rewarded with a choice of 3 prizes which might contain household appliances, a holiday, etc. In 1988 the prizes for the final were a trip, a new car, or a cash jackpot at £2,000. In 1989, the cash value increased to £4,000, from 1993 the Cash value increased again to £5,000. Just after the prize limit was dropped in 1993, the prizes became the car and £10,000 during 1994, which was later increased to £20,000 from 1995-1998, with the winning contestant randomly selecting his/her prize by choosing one of two sealed envelopes.
During the daytime series, winners of each round were able to chosen from an array prizes laid out in the studio, such as a CD player, dishwasher etc. The cash prize for the final was dropped to £2000. As with most international versions of Wheel (and the American version until 1988), rather than being given "R, S, T, L, N, and E," the contestant picked five consonants and a vowel.
- During the Nicky Campbell and John Leslie runs, there was a special prize for landing on a certain space. (prime time series).
- During Bradley Walsh's run, if a contestant landed on a certain space and also got a letter on the board, they could win the contents of "Brad's Box". This bonus carried over into the John Leslie era and was renamed "Leslie's Luxury" but during Leslie's series there were two boxes one would be for the guys and the other one would be for the girls (prime time series).
- One puzzle would contain a "red letter" that would net players £100 if they solved the puzzle immediately after finding the letter (both formats).
- The winning contestant had a chance to win another £100 by guessing a special "puzzler" (daytime series).
- A Mystery prize would be awarded to the contestant if he/she picked up the token and solved the puzzle (daytime series).
- A star prize introduced by the hostess was earned if the player picked up the token and solved the puzzle (prime time series).
The top point space was 1000 points, with one such space in round 1. One more space was added in round 2, along with a second Bankrupt, and a third 1,000-point space was added in round 3. Also, starting by 1994, values were doubled beginning from round 3 onward, making the top point spaces worth 2,000 points.
Unlike the board used on the American version since 1997, the United Kingdom version's puzzle board was never electronic, so the regular puzzle would be placed at the top portion of the board while the puzzler would fill any unused lines below. The puzzle board's shape from 1994 to early 2001 was the same as the current American puzzle board. From 1988 to 1993, its border was styled like the one on the American puzzle board used from 1981 to 1993. The background color for unused trilons on the UK's puzzle board was green from 1988 to 1993, after which it was changed to blue.
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||19 July 1988||31 December 1988||14|
|2||5 September 1989||31 December 1989||18|
|3||4 June 1991||27 August 1991||13|
|4||18 May 1992||24 August 1992||13|
|5||7 June 1993||30 August 1993||13|
|6||11 July 1994||12 December 1994||23|
|7||30 August 1995||27 December 1995||18|
|8||24 July 1996||27 December 1996||24|
|9||3 January 1997||27 December 1997||35|
|10||1 June 1998||23 December 1998||26|
|11||2 March 1999||20 December 1999||135|
|12||3 January 2000||8 December 2000||250|
|13||2 January 2001||4 August 2001||125|
|14||12 November 2001||21 December 2001||30|
Regional transmissions information
For the first ten series, the show was broadcast once a week in a primetime slot. With Series 8 a number of station did broadcast episodes a few days later including the last episode on 31st December 1996.
During the eleventh series, the programme was moved to a five-shows-a-week daytime slot and it aired at 2.40pm each afternoon from 2 March, after the sixth series of Dale's Supermarket Sweep concluded its run. It took a break from 28 May to 10 September 1999.
The twelfth series began at the start of the year, and lasted until the start of December. During this series, the show's slot varied in different ITV regions. Carlton (London and Westcountry), Grampian and Scottish broadcast it at 5.30pm. Anglia, Border, Granada, Meridian, Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Ulster aired it at 1.30pm until 31 March 2000, then Friday afternoons only from 18 May to 9 June. Then from 12 June it was moved back to five-times-a-week; from 17 July, it was moved to 2.40pm, so not all the episodes aired. HTV followed Anglia's pattern until 8 May before switching to the 5.30pm slot. Carlton (Central) also followed Anglia's pattern until 12 June before moving the show to 5.30pm. Additional episodes were broadcast by all ITV regions on Sundays during May.
During the thirteenth series, all ITV regions broadcast episodes at 5.30pm from 2 January to 22 June 2001, before being switched to a Saturday afternoon slot until 4 August 2001. The final thirty episodes (series fourteen) were also networked at 2.40pm, from 12 November to 21 December.
- "Evening Times". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Wheel of Fortune (UK) at the Internet Movie Database
- Wheel of Fortune (UK) at BFI
- Wheel of Fortune (UK) at UKGameshows.com