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Sale Of The Century (ITV 1971-1983, Nicholas Parsons)



Sale of the Century ITV Nicholas Parsons

Long running quiz show Sale of the Century, hosted by Nicholas Parsons and based on a US original, liked to bill itself as ‘Live From Norwich – The Quiz of The Week‘. The aim for three contestants was to answer questions for money which at the end of the show would allow them to get their hands on various star prizes (which were available at a knockdown price – hence the title of the show. Sometimes the contestants would come back for a second show if they hadn’t won enough money for major prize. The prize packages on offer for the winner were quite good for the era, a brand new TV, a holiday or even a car could be won. The losing contestants also got to keep any money won.

The first year of the show was seen only in Anglia before making a move to more ITV regions at the beginning of 1972. Yorkshire, Tyne Tees, Granada and Scottish didn’t pick up the show until 1974 and Grampian in 1975. However by this stage it was easily one of the most popular quiz shows on TV, even with it’s early Saturday evening time slot.

It’s first year on air actually saw it get a reprimand from the ITA (Independent Television Authority) over the way it talked about the show’s prizes!

There was a celebrity special that aired in 1981 that saw Nicholas Parsons become a contestant, alongside Tom O’Connor and Derek Batey. Steve Jones hosted.

The series was revived in 1989 by The Sky Channel (satellite only) with Peter Marshall. There were a few changes in terms of questions and prizes but essentially the mix was the same. 1997 saw a final revival on satellite channel Challenge TV, this was hosted by Keith Chegwin.

The live from Norwich voice was by John Benson, he also performed voice over duties on fellow Anglia quiz Gambit.

Over the years hostesses who would be on hand to showcase the prizes and bring on the contestants included:
Jennifer Cresswell (1971)
Linda Hooks (1977)
Angela Daniels (1977)
Sneh Gupta (1977)
Tina Robinson (1977-8)
Sophie Batchelor (1978)
Eunice Denny (1978)
Laura Beaumont (1978)
Caro Greenwood (1978)
Christine Owen (1978)
Caroline Villiers (1978)
Carole Ashby (1983)
Karen Loughlin (1983)

production details
UK / ITV – Anglia / 411×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 9 October 1971 – 13 November 1983

Creator: Reg Grundy / Theme Music: Joyful Pete by Peter Fenn

The below are the dates the various ITV regions began broadcasting the show.
Anglia: 9 October 1971
ATV, HTV, Westward, Southern: 8 January 1972
Border: 12 February 1972
LWT, Channel: 19 February 1972
Ulster: 14 July 1972
Yorkshire, Tyne Tees: 13 September 1974
Granada: 27 September 1974
Scottish: 27 October 1974
Grampian: 10 May 1975

1. 1 January 1972