Jeux Sans Frontières
|Jeux Sans Frontières|
|Created by||Guy Lux
|Original language(s)||English and French|
|No. of episodes||30 editions|
|Location(s)||Held around Europe|
|Production company(s)||European Broadcasting Union|
|Original release||26 May 1965– 23 September 1999|
|Related shows||It's a Knockout|
Jeux Sans Frontières (English: Games Without Frontiers, or Games Without Borders) was a Europe-wide television game show. In English-speaking countries, the show is also known as It's a Knockout, the title of the BBC's domestic version.
In its original conception, it was broadcast from 1965 to 1999 under the auspices of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and featured teams from different European countries in outlandish costumes (often large latex suits) competing to complete bizarre tasks in funny games. The original series run ended in 1982 but was revived in 1988 with a different complexion of nations and was hosted by smaller broadcasters.
The idea of the show came from French President Charles de Gaulle, whose wish was that French and German youth would meet in a series of funny games to reinforce the friendship between France and Germany. The games were inspired by the matches between French cities. Some games were played in swimming pools. In 1965, three French men (Pedro Brive, Claude Savarit, and Jean-Louis Marest) spread the idea of the games to other European countries. Teams representing France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy took part in the first edition of the show called Inter Nations Games.
In the United Kingdom, participants came from the heats of It's a Knockout. The original presenter was McDonald Hobley, but he stayed for just one season before handing over to Katie Boyle, who in turn was replaced by David Vine and Eddie Waring. It was not until 1971 that the presenter most associated with the role, Stuart Hall, took over presenting the UK heats and also provided the British commentary for the international version along with Waring, who was better known as the BBC's Rugby League commentator. Wales had its own team between 1991 and 1994 and the programme was broadcast on S4C in Welsh by Iestyn Garlick.
Each participating country hosted one round of the games, presented by the host broadcaster. Every game was umpired by one or two "international" judges.
The first judges became household names in the UK, Gennaro Olivieri (1922–2009) and Guido Pancaldi (1922–2011). Both were Swiss and had been international ice-hockey referees (although Pancaldi is often wrongly referred to as being Italian, probably due to him coming from the Italian-speaking Canton of Ticino).
- Gennaro Olivieri (1965–1982)
- Guido Pancaldi (1966–1989)
- Mike Swann (1988–1989)
- Bernard Galley (1990–1991)
- Denis Pettiaux (1990–1999)
- Carlo Pegoraro (1996, 1998–1999)
- Arthur Ellis (1971–1982)
- Nenad Romano (1979–1982)
- Bernhard Galley (1990–1992)
- Babis Ioanidis (1995–1999)
- Irini Kamperidiou (1994)
- Nikos Mperedimas (1993)
- Beertje van Beers (Dutch, 1997)
- Lehel Németh (Hungarian, 1993–1995, 1999)
- Orsolya Hovorka (Hungarian, 1996–1998)
- Lea Vodusek (Slovenian, 1996-1997, 1999)
Participating countries and wins
|Country||Broadcaster||Years of participation||Editions||Wins|
|Belgium||BRT, RTBF||1965–1982, 1988–1989||20||2 (1965, 1982)|
|Germany||ARD||1965–1980||16||6 (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1976, 1977)|
|France||ORTF, Antenne 2, France 2||1965–1968, 1970–1982, 1988–1992, 1997–1999||25||3 (1965, 1975, 1979)|
|Italy||RAI||1965–1982, 1988–1999||30||4 (1970, 1978, 1991, 1999)|
|Switzerland||SRG SSR||1967–1975, 1977–1982, 1992–1999||24||2 (1972, 1974)|
|United Kingdom||BBC, S4C (Wales)||1967–1982, 1991–1994||20||4 (1969, 1971, 1973, 1981)|
|Netherlands||NCRV, TROS||1970–1977, 1997–1998||10||0|
|Portugal||RTP||1979–1982, 1988–1998||15||5 (1980, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1997)|
|Spain||TVE||1988, 1990–1992||4||1 (1990)|
|Czech Republic||ČT||1993–1995||3||2 (1994, 1995)|
|Hungary||MTV||1993–1999||7||3 (1993, 1996, 1998)|
|Slovenia||RTVSLO||1994, 1996–1997, 1999||4||0|
When a team from Belfast represented Great Britain, they were identified as 'NI' for Northern Ireland rather than GB. Wales participated from 1991 to 1994 on behalf of the United Kingdom, and were identified by the code GB in mainland Europe and by C (Cymru, the Welsh name for Wales) in Wales itself. Welsh was the transmission language of the participating broadcaster (S4C).
The EBU announced plans to relaunch the series in summer 2007 with Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Italy thought to be participating countries. However due to financial setbacks, the plans were put on hold - originally for 12 months but later abandoned altogether.
In popular culture
The show inspired Peter Gabriel's 1980 hit single, "Games Without Frontiers" (the direct English translation of the title), in which backing vocalist Kate Bush sings "jeux sans frontières" during breaks. The lyrics also refer to the original title: "It's A Knockout".
The BBC Radio 4 comedy programme I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again featured a version called Guerre Sans Frontieres where gallant little Belgium always had to play the Joker. It was also used in an episode of "The Goodies" with Graeme Garden as MC.
- It's a Knockout
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1991-1992
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1992
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1993
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1994
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1995
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1996
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1997
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1998
- Jeux Sans Frontières 1999