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Classic TV Revisited: Give Us A Clue



Classic TV Revisited Give Us A Clue

Popular TV parlour game Give Us A Clue ran on ITV from 1979-1981 and starred Michael Aspel, Michael Parkinson, Lionel Blair, Una Stubbs and Liza Goddard.

Highly popular small-screen version of charades.

Why was it so good?
Its appeal was in whether the contestants would make an embarrassing gaffe involving some terrible double entendre.

Such as?
Lionel Blair had terrible trouble with Passage To India and Faith Brown struggled with Like A Virgin.

How did it begin?
ITV bosses decided it was a cheap and cheerful format which would attract millions.

Were they right?
It did run for 12 years and at its peak in the early ’80s it drew a staggering 17m viewers.

Who was on it then?
That particular episode was hosted by Michael Aspel with team captains Lionel Blair and Una Stubbs. Guests included David Hamilton, Rachel Heyhoe-Flint and Billy Dainty. Would 17m watch them today? Doubt it.

I haven’t played charades for ages, how did the quiz work?
Teams of “boys” and “girls” mimed the names of a book, play, TV show, movie, song or person.

How long did this go on for?
The team got two minutes to guess.

Was there any financial reward for all this effort?
Not a sausage, even if you did it syllable by syllable. It was a case of three points for within the first 60 seconds and two before time was up.

Who was tops on Give Us A Clue?
The master was Lionel Blair.

What was his best time?
Legend has it that he took just 3.5 seconds when he mimed Anchors Aweigh. He also managed The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover in under 30 seconds.

What were his other best moments?
He apparently relished getting to grips with The African Queen, Howard’s End and Free Willy. But he was frustrated with Two Gentlemen Of Verona.

What was Una Stubbs’s main contribution?
Miming Fanny By Gaslight brilliantly.

Any other memorable titles?
Lionel Blair had his hands full with the book A-Z Of Horse Diseases And Health Problems, Signs, Diagnoses, Causes, Treatment.

Who else was in it?
Michael Parkinson took over as host from Michael Aspel in 1984 while later on Liza Goddard replaced Una Stubbs as female captain.

Any famous guests?
Over the years they included Bruce Forsyth, Wayne Sleep, Julie Walters, Paula Yates, Kenneth Williams and Victoria Wood.

Could it be revived?
It was briefly brought back as a daytime series by the BBC in 1997 with Tim Clark as host but it didn’t last long.

Allegedly it was a bit too risque for daytime viewers and an unfortunate mime of An Audience With Bob Monkhouse using hand gestures didn’t help.

Distinguishing features?
Moments of silence; exaggerated hand movements; unlimited opportunities for double entendres.

Do say:
“What a Carry On! It had more double meanings than ‘Allo ‘Allo and Are You Being Served? put together.”

Do not say:
“Charades in the parlour was much more preferable.”

Not to be confused with:
Cluedo; Clueless; pass the parcel; musical chairs.