Give Us a Clue

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.

Give Us a Clue
Presented byMichael Aspel (1979–83)
Michael Parkinson (1984–92)
Tim Clark (1997)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series17 (ITV)
1 (BBC One)
No. of episodes303 (ITV)
30 (BBC One)
Production
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Thames (1979–92)
Grundy (1997)
DistributorFremantle
Release
Original networkITV (1979–92)
BBC One (1997)
Picture format4:3
Original release2 January 1979 (1979-01-02) 
19 December 1997 (1997-12-19)

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.

Format

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.

Transmissions

SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
12 January 197927 March 197913
229 October 197911 February 198016
31 September 198029 December 198018
41 September 19815 January 198215
56 April 198218 May 19826
67 September 19824 April 198317
76 September 19832 January 198418
813 March 198417 April 19844
94 September 19841 January 198516
1028 May 19852 July 19856
1112 September 198526 December 198515
123 July 198621 August 19868
134 January 198818 March 198855
1414 February 198910 March 198916
155 December 198919 January 199016
1615 January 19918 March 199132
173 September 199125 October 199132
1810 November 199719 December 199730

The first series was not networked. Following the launch of morning programming on ITV in September 1987, the last five series of the original run moved from peak-time to daytime slots. The Thames series ended in October 1991, but a one-off special was broadcast on 4 May 1992. Series 16 was made for the BBC.

Theme music

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 a new theme tune, followed in 1988 by a theme song written and composed by Alan Braden, which remained in use until the end of the Thames series in October 1991. Uniquely, the Braden theme song featured separate lyrics for both the opening titles and closing credits.

Trivia

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

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. Dutch Public broadcasting organisation KRO aired the program from 1983 till 2003 and one series in 2010 under the name Hints (nl).

See also

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