The Full Wiki

Family Fortunes: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Family Fortunes
Family Fortunes logo, 2006
Format Quiz show
Presented by Bob Monkhouse
Max Bygraves
Les Dennis
Andy Collins
(2002: Daytime version)
Vernon Kay
(2006 – present)
Country of origin  United Kingdom
Running time 30mins
(1980–1985, 1987–2002)
Production company(s) ATV
Carlton Television
Talkback Thames
(2006 – present)
Original channel ITV1
Picture format 4:3
(1980–1985, 1987–2002)
Original run 6 January 1980 – Present
Related shows Family Feud
External links
Official website

Family Fortunes (since 2006 known as 'All Star Family Fortunes') is a British game show, based on the American game show Family Feud. The programme ran on ITV from 1980 until 2002 before being revived by the same channel in 2006. It is currently shown on ITV1 each Sunday evening.

It was originally produced by ATV, then by Central and finally by Carlton, who had acquired Central. The 2006 revival is produced by Talkback Thames.


Hosts and presentation

It was hosted by the popular Bob Monkhouse (1980–1983) and then from 1983 to 1985 by popular singer and entertainer Max Bygraves. After being rested for the whole of 1986 (during which time Max Bygraves offered to finance its production himself) it returned with Les Dennis in June 1987, and had a consistently successful run for the next fifteen years. It was then moved out of peak time and became a daily daytime show, hosted by Andy Collins, but it only had a short run in this format before being axed. For 2006, the series was hosted by Vernon Kay, and was renamed "All Star Family Fortunes", as each team would consist of a celebrity and four family members.

Christmas specials would air most years during earlier runs of the show, with prize money going to charity, and contestants being either celebrity families, or a group of actors famous for playing a fictional family.

The most iconic aspects of the show are the large computer screen, named "Mr Babbage" by original host Bob Monkhouse, and the famous computerised "Eh-uh" sound used when wrong answers are given. Both were originally designed to appear high-tech, but have since become fondly regarded for being quite the opposite.


Two family teams, each with five members, would be asked to guess the results of surveys, in which 100 people would be asked open ended questions (e.g. "we asked 100 people to name something associated with the country Wales" or "we asked 100 people to name a breed of dog"). Although rarely acknowledged in the show, the 100 people surveyed would invariably be audience members who had volunteered prior to the show.

Each round would begin with a member of each team (in rotation, meaning all players did this at least once) approaching the podium. As the question was read, the first of the two nominees to hit a buzzer would give an answer. If this was not the top answer, the other nominee would be asked. Whoever's answer ranked higher would then choose whether to "play" the question, or "pass" control to the other team (in reality, the teams rarely chose to pass).

The host would then pass down the line of the controlling team, asking for an answer from each. After each answer, the board would reveal whether this answer featured. If not, a "life" was lost. If a family managed to come up with all the answers given by the "100 people surveyed" (most commonly six in the early part of the show, reduced in number after the commercial break), they would win the pounds equivalent of the total number of people who had given the answers. Every time someone did not give an answer that was on the board, the family would get a "strike", accompanied by a large "X" on the board with the infamous "uh-uhh" sound. (The host may not refer to these as "strikes," rather, he will say that a family has "two lives left" or "one life left.") If they came up with three strikes, the other family would have the chance to come up with one answer that might be among the missing answers. If this answer was among those given by the "100 people surveyed", the other family would "steal" the money; if not, the family who had given the three incorrect answers would win however much money they had accumulated.


Theme Tune

The original theme music used between 1980 and 1985 was composed by Jack Parnell and David Lindup. In 1987 a new theme tune written by Mike Alexander was introduced. Although the arrangements have changed over the years, it's still the same theme. The first version was used from 1987–92, the second from 1993–00, the third from 2000–02 and the current one from 2006.

Double Money

Following three rounds prior to the commercial break, "Double Money" is played. Gameplay would be the same as the first rounds, but each answer was worth £2 for each person who said it, and there would generally be fewer possible answers. The family who passes £300 first would go on to play "Big Money" (known in some overseas versions as "Fast Money") for the jackpot.

In the revived 2006 version, there were three rounds of the main game and two rounds of double money and then the family who had the most money after this would go on to play Big Money, regardless of whether they had £300 or more.

Big Money

This involved two contestants (out of the five in the family team, in the 2006 revival including the celebrity as the second) answering five questions that fitted with those given by the "100 people surveyed", with the questions asked within a narrow time limit. The first contestant would give his/her answers to the five questions within 15 seconds; then the second contestant (who had been out of earshot of the first) would give his or her answers within 20 seconds (the extra time was available for the contestant to give another answer if he/she duplicated an answer given by the previous contestant). If they got 200 points or more from the ten answers (i.e. at least 200 people had agreed with all ten answers combined) they would win the top cash prize. From 1994 onward a bonus star prize was available if all five top answers were found, in addition to reaching 200+ points. If the family could not earn 200 points, they won £2 per point, up to £398. In the revived 2006 version, a loss earns £10 times the points earned in both front and end games, up to £1,990+.

Cash and prizes

The top cash prize in "Big Money" in the first series (1980) was £1,000. From the second series (1981), the prize would start at £1,000 then rise by £500 weekly if no one won, to a limit of £2,500 (£3,000 from 1982, which it could stay at for more than one week if it still was not won). Once won it would always revert back to £1,000 for the next edition. In the 1987 series, it would start at £1,000, and if not won rise by £1,000 per week to a maximum of £3,000. From the 1988 series the prize was stabilised at £3,000. After the abolition of the IBA's prize limits, it rose to £5,000 from 1996. It should be remembered, though, that the money had to be shared out between five people; by the end of its run even the top cash prize seemed relatively small compared to those available on other game shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

The bonus star prize was always a car between 1994 and 1997. From 1998 contestants had the choice of either a car or a holiday. The car suppliers were Honda in 1994, SEAT in 1995, and then Daewoo after that until 2001.

However, this would often lead the show to an anti-climax, as having won the cash prize with one or more questions unrevealed, the game would have to continue to see whether the bonus prize had also been won. If not, the show would end with a loss, despite the family having won the main prize.

During the programme's brief daytime run in 2002, the prize values shrunk significantly. If the contestants scored over 200 points they would win £1,000 and if they found 5 top answers on top, then it was increased to £3,000. (As with the previous prizes the £3,000 could only be won on top of the 200+ points.)

From the second series in 1981 onward spot prizes were available in the main game, turning up seemingly at random when certain answers were found. Typically these would be music centres, televisions or video recorders (or in the last couple of years, DVD players). Some were more unorthodox, such as a year's supply of beer, while the same short breaks away – an Agatha Christie murder weekend, a stay at a health spa or a canal holiday – were won on the show for many years.

The 2006 series features a top prize of £30,000. Contestants can win £10,000 for getting over 200 points in "Big Money", increased to £30,000 for getting all top answers. The spot prizes remained but were won rarely and were now more action-based such as paragliding lessons. These were always won by other members of the family, instead of the celebrity.

The computer used in the show was affectionately named Mr Babbage by Bob Monkhouse, after computing pioneer Charles Babbage.

Cultural reference points

Perhaps because of its exceptional longevity (hardly any other game shows have remained fixtures in peak-time for two decades, and even those like The Generation Game or Play Your Cards Right which have had long periods off the air), Family Fortunes has become a recurring reference point within British popular culture. The "uh-uhh" sound heard whenever contestants gave an answer that was not given by the "100 people surveyed" is instantly recognisable, and for much of its run the show was the subject of mockery for the alleged stupidity of the contestants, notably by Paul Merton on Have I Got News for You. Certainly, many ludicrous answers were given over the years, many of which are listed at . In the later years of the programme's run, it often seemed as though contestants were aware of its reputation and did not take it as seriously as they had done in earlier series, sometimes deliberately giving answers that they knew to be absurd (e.g. in 1999 one member of a family who had been the subject of affectionate mockery for their strong Suffolk accents had been asked to name a part of the body that everyone has one of, and jokingly said "combine harvester", in the process throwing away a very strong position in the game and allowing the other family to win).

Roger Edwards – Programme Associate on the show for 15 series wrote the majority of all the questions.

The 'Turkey' episode

One of the most talked about episodes of Family Fortunes involved a contestant named Bob Johnson in the Big Money round using the word 'turkey' for three answers in a row, causing the audience and Max Bygraves, who was the host at that time, to break down with laughter.

Bygraves: Name something people take with them to the beach.
Johnson: Turkey. (Scored zero points)
Bygraves: The first thing you buy at a supermarket.
Johnson: Turkey. (Scored zero points)
Bygraves: A food often stuffed.
Johnson: Turkey. (Scored 21 points)

According to Bob Johnson had given 'turkey' for three answers in a row because someone had not placed the isolation headphones on him properly, and he managed to hear the third question being answered with 'chicken'. He assumed that what he had heard was actually the first question and that if chicken was a correct answer, then turkey was likely to be correct as well. This story was given by the other four team members on the Channel 4 documentary Our Survey Said, broadcast on 4 June 2005.

In addition, during the same episode, the two teams collectively took at least 5 attempts to 'Name a famous Irishman' in Single Money Round Three.

In another round, from the Monkhouse years, contestants were asked to name a word beginning with Z. Nobody could get that elusive final answer – which was no surprise, as it turned out to be XYLOPHONE (despite not beginning with Z, people gave this answer in the survey, and thus had to be included in the result).

This has been replayed on American television shows such as Game Show Moments Gone Bananas and was featured in a special titled Family Misfortunes which was presented by Les Dennis and focused on the funny answers that had been given over the years.

Famous answers from the show include a contestant being asked to predict the result of a survey asking "Name something that is blue", and answering "My cardigan"; and another being asked "Other than a Grand Prix, name a dangerous race", and answering "Arabs". A famous incident from the Les Dennis era was when a family was asked to name a famous soap opera and a member of the family said "Dove" and in another Les Dennis episode when asked to name "a famous Arthur" the contestant replied "Shakespeare". Les Dennis broke down in tears of laughter although at a later date commented that the contestant had misheard him and thought he had said "Author".


Various prize announcers have been used on the show over the years. For the Monkhouse and Bygraves series, the announcer was Mickey Brennan, while Stephen Rhodes announced for most of Les Dennis's era. From 2000–2002 it was Peter Dickson, while for the 70-episode 2002 series it was University Challenge voiceover Roger Tilling.

Lisa I'Anson was the announcer for the first series of All Star Family Fortunes in 2006, making her the first woman in this role, before Peter Dickson returned for the 2007 series.


On 29 October 2005, Family Fortunes returned as the "grand final" of Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon, a series of revivals of former popular ITV game shows shown to mark the channel's 50th anniversary, and hosted by its most ubiquitous presenters of recent years. This show had Carol Vorderman and Vernon Kay playing for charity along with their own families, with Vorderman eventually winning.

Subsequently, Family Fortunes returned (as All Star Family Fortunes) for a full series that started on 28 October 2006, with Vernon Kay as its host, and celebrities and their families playing the game, hoping to win either £10,000 or £30,000 for a charity of their choice. A significant change from the old series was the use of a multi-coloured computerised scoreboard in place of the classic yellow-and-black LED version – the only other time a colour scoreboard was used was briefly in 1987. Another significant (and rather odd) change is that whilst there are still 5 family members for each team, only 4 of them get "their own round", this despite the program being a 45 minute production now instead of the original 30 minute slot.

A second All Star Family Fortunes series began on 27 October 2007, lasting 10 weeks. A third series began on 13 September 2008, running for 13 episodes. The fourth series (17 episodes, including a Christmas Special) is currently being broadcast on ITV1, on Sunday evenings. This series began on 20 September 2009.


NOTE: These transmissions are original broadcasts and NOT repeats.

Series Start date End date Episodes
6 January 1980
13 July 1980
9 January 1981
11 July 1981
12 December 1981
21 May 1982
1 January 1983
24 June 1983
14 October 1983
1 April 1984
18 January 1985
6 June 1985
27 June 1987
29 August 1987
10 April 1988
30 July 1988
23 September 1988
16 December 1988
1 September 1989
2 December 1989
31 August 1990
28 December 1990
29 November 1991
28 March 1992
10 July 1992
1 January 1993
10 September 1993
31 December 1993
1 October 1994
22 February 1995
1 September 1995
31 August 1996
15 February 1997
13 September 1997
07 February 1998
31 August 1998
25 September 1999
4 March 2000
16 September 2000
2 September 2002
6 December 2002

All-Star Family Fortunes

Series 1

Episode No. Airdate Team 1 Team 2
1 28 October 2006 Chris Moyles Fearne Cotton
2 4 November 2006 Johnny Vegas Nicola Stapleton
3 11 November 2006 Jimmy Osmond Sara Cox
4 18 November 2006 Jean-Christophe Novelli David Dickinson
5 25 November 2006 Lee Ryan Melinda Messenger
6 2 December 2006 David Seaman Gabby Logan
7 9 December 2006 Phil Tufnell Kelly Holmes
23 December 2006
Wendi Peters,Bruce Jones,Jayne Bickerton,Samia Smith, and Andy Whyment (Coronation Street) Antony Audenshaw, Deena Payne,Adele Silva,Verity Rushworth and Alex Carter (Emmerdale)

Series 2

Episode No. Airdate Team 1 Team 2
1 27 October 2007 Kym Ryder Brian Dowling
2 3 November 2007 Holly Willoughby Eamonn Holmes
3 10 November 2007 Angela Griffin Antony Worrall Thompson
4 17 November 2007 Louisa Lytton Zoë Ball
5 24 November 2007 Sammy Winward Kyran Bracken
6 1 December 2007 Kirsty Gallacher Stephen Mulhern
7 8 December 2007 Jenni Falconer Ben Richards
8 15 December 2007 Claire King Edith Bowman
9 25 December 2007 Nikki Sanderson Greg Rusedski
10 5 January 2008 Nell McAndrew Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Series 3

Episode No. Airdate Team 1 Team 2
1 13 September 2008 Michelle Collins Christopher Biggins
2 20 September 2008 Gemma Atkinson Antony Cotton
3 27 September 2008 Coleen Nolan Barry McGuigan
4 4 October 2008 Duncan James Will Greenwood
5 11 October 2008 Matt Willis and Emma Griffiths Gary Lucy
6 18 October 2008 Ryan Thomas Lucy Benjamin
7 25 October 2008 Suzanne Shaw William Roache
8 1 November 2008 John Barnes Natasha Hamilton
9 8 November 2008 Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee Joe Swash
10 27 December 2008 Nicole Barber-Lane, Jennifer Metcalfe, Nick Pickard, Claire Cooper and Gemma Merna (Hollyoaks) Andy Devine, Jane Cox, Eden Taylor-Draper, Lucy Pargeter and Mark Charnock (Emmerdale)
11 3 January 2009 Edwina Currie Judith Chalmers and Mark Durden-Smith
12 10 January 2009 Shane Lynch Ruthie Henshall
13 17 January 2009 Amir Khan Jennie Bond

Series 4

Series 4 began taping on 16 June for a 17 episode run (including a Christmas special).

Episode No. Airdate Team 1 Team 2
1 20 September 2009 Sherrie Hewson, Coleen Nolan,Carol McGiffin, Andrea McLean and Jane McDonald (Loose Women) Joe McFadden, Nikki Sanderson, Lisa Kay, David Lonsdale and Tricia Penrose (Heartbeat)[1]
2 27 September 2009 Vanessa Feltz Lucy Speed[2]
3 4 October 2009 Danny Jones Zöe Lucker[3]
4 11 October 2009 Patsy Palmer Katherine Kelly[4]
5 18 October 2009 David Coulthard Anthea Turner[5]
6 25 October 2009 Hannah Waterman and Ricky Groves Ray Quinn [6]
7 1 November 2009 Laila Rouass Sean Maguire [7]
8 8 November 2009 Lesley Dunlop John Barrowman [8]
9 15 November 2009 Donal MacIntyre Charlie Brooks [9]
10 22 November 2009 Antony Costa Elizabeth Dawn [10]
11 29 November 2009 Denise Lewis Eleanor Simmonds [11]
12 6 December 2009 Karen Barber Paddy McGuinness [12]
13 13 December 2009 Jodie Prenger Gareth Gates [13]
14 26 December 2009 Sally Whittaker, Michael Le Vell, Peter Armitage, Helen Flanagan and Brooke Vincent (Coronation Street) Nick Miles, Nicola Wheeler, Tom Lister, Kelsey-Beth Crossley and Lucy Pargeter (Emmerdale) [14]
15 3 January 2010 Colin Jackson Esther Rantzen[15]
16 20 February 2010 Uri Geller Liz McClarnon [16]
17 27 February 2010 Duncan Bannatyne Lisa Maxwell[17]


External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address