Give Us a Clue

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Give Us a Clue
Presented by Michael Aspel (1979–84)
Michael Parkinson (1984–92)
Tim Clark (1997)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Thames (1979–92)
Grundy (1997)
Distributor FremantleMedia
Original network ITV (1979–92)
BBC One (1997)
Picture format 4:3
Original release 2 January 1979 (1979-01-02) – 19 December 1997 (1997-12-19)

Give Us a Clue is a British televised game show version of charades which was broadcast on ITV from 1979 to 1992. The original host was Michael Aspel from 1979 to 1984, followed by Michael Parkinson from 1984 to 1992. The show featured two teams, one captained by Lionel Blair and the other by Una Stubbs. Later versions of the programme had Liza Goddard as captain of the women's team.

A revived version was broadcast by BBC One in 1997 over 30 episodes, hosted by Tim Clark. Teams were captained by Christopher Blake and Julie Peasgood and the show introduced a lateral thinking puzzle (which the host could "give clues to"). Give us a Clue returned for a special Comic Relief episode in March 2011 with Sara Cox, Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair, Una Stubbs, Holly Walsh, Jenni Falconer and David Walliams.


The game was based on charades, a party game where players used mime rather than speaking to demonstrate a name, phrase, book, play, film or TV programme. Each player was given roughly two minutes to act out their given subject in front of his/her team, and if the others were unsuccessful in guessing correctly, the opposing team would have a chance to answer for a bonus point.


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 2 January 1979 27 March 1979 13
2 1 September 1980 29 December 1980 18
3 1 September 1981 17 May 1982 22
4 7 September 1982 4 April 1983 16
5 6 September 1983 2 January 1984 16
6 13 March 1984 26 June 1984 15
7 4 September 1984 25 December 1984 16
8 28 May 1985 2 July 1985 6
9 12 September 1985 26 December 1985 16
10 3 July 1986 7 August 1986 5
11 4 January 1988 18 March 1988 55
12 14 February 1989 10 March 1989 16
13 5 December 1989 19 January 1990 16
14 15 January 1991 8 March 1991 32
15 3 September 1991 25 October 1991 32
16 10 November 1997 19 December 1997 30

Series 1 was not networked, Thames and a few other broadcast the series, around 19:00 while most others station moved it to an early time slot including 15:50. By 1980 all station were broadcasting the series in peaktime slot until 1986. No series was made in 1987 but repeats were broadcast on certain ITV station usually around 17:15, during the summer of 1988 repeats appeared around 17:15.

In 1988 the show moved to an early morning slot, left vacant when ITV Schools relocated to Channel 4, before being moved once again to around 15:00 slot in 1989 onwards. The original run ended in 1991, but a one-off special was broadcast on 4 May 1992.

Theme music[edit]

The original theme tune was called "Chicken Man", which was also the theme tune of Grange Hill. However, while Grange Hill used the original recording, Give us a Clue used a less dynamic custom arrangement more in keeping with the style of light entertainment programming. In 1981, David Clark took over as producer/director and commissioned an entirely new theme tune, then in 1987, a new vocalised theme tune was used up until the show ended in 1991.


The programme has been repeated on satellite TV and is also still parodied in British comedy. It was frequently referred to by Humphrey Lyttelton, chairman of BBC radio's long-running "antidote to panel games", I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, during a round of Sound Charades — usually with a gay innuendo-laden gag at the expense of Lionel Blair.

Other versions[edit]

A licensed version of it aired in New Zealand in the 1990s, after the British original had screened there for several seasons. SVT in Sweden broadcast their own version with the title Gäster med gester.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]