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Golden Shot, The (ITV 1967-1975, Bob Monkhouse, Anne Aston)

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Quiz show The Golden Shot was pretty hi-tech when it appeared in 1967, an interactive show that allowed people from the studio audience as well as viewers at home the chance to win prizes.

The format was basically William Tell, in the first round the contestant would have to guide a blindfolded cameraman who had a crossbow attached to his camera (the production team christened the device the Tele-Bow) with instructions that usually went along the lines of “up a bit, left a bit, right a bit, fire” etc to try and hit a target. The contestant only had 30 seconds to take their shot. This was a fully functional real cross-bow and as such was highly dangerous, it was rigged to not be able to fire if anyone was within a set area. Later rounds saw the contestants, if they made it to the studio, get to operate the Tele-Bow themselves.

The Golden Shot itself was the final round where a bag of gold coins was dangled on a thread in front of the target – break the thread and win the coins, this idea quickly changed to a target on a door that had to be hit to reveal the coins. Initially the bags were worth 100 guineas going up by the same amount every week until the prize was won. The cap was 900 guineas whereupon it would revert back to a hundred.

The first host was Jackie Rae, but only for the first fourteen episodes, before he was replaced by Bob Monkhouse (from 15 October 1967) who made the show his own. Monkhouse had been a guest on the tenth edition and basically used his spot to audition for the host job.

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Right from the start each edition featured a musical performance and also usually a guest celebrity shooter. The first edition featured Nina and Frederick, Ted Ray and Conrad Phillips (who had played William Tell in the popular 1950’s TV series The Adventures of William Tell.)

The show always had a Golden Girl who would announce the scores and introduce the guests. Later there would also be a glamorous Maid of the Month who would introduce the guests and show off the prizes.The first run of episodes had three Golden Girls – Carol Dilworth, Andrea Lloyd and Anita Richardson. (Richardson’s last appearance was 31 Dec 1967). Carol Dilworth, Andrea Lloyd and Anita Richardson. Dilworth stayed with the show until 1969.

The most popular Golden Girl by far was Anne Aston who made her debut on 19 January 1969, this coincided with a move for the series from London to Birmingham. Aston was a Birmingham girl with a strong accent, she made much of struggling to add up the contestants scores correctly. Anne stayed with the show right to the end.

Another important member of the team was the person responsible for putting the bolt into the crossbow, initially this was “Heinz” from the German show but very quickly became “Bernie the Bolt.” Alan Bailey, Derek Young and Johnny Baker were the three Bernies used during the show’s run.

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The next couple of years saw the show at its peak with audience figures often up around the 16 million mark. However a hint of scandal saw Monkhouse depart in 1972 when ATV suspected Monkhouse was accepting “gifts” from companies to have their prizes featured on the show. This was not the case but ATV production controller Francis Essex wanted Monkhouse to move on. Norman Vaughan was given the job of new host (from 6 Feb 1972) but he only lasted the one series before comedian Charlie Williams was given the job (from 16 Sep 1973).

Neither Vaughan or Williams made the same impression as consumate game show host Monkhouse and by mid 1974 he was back. Only agreeing to do so if ATV would also agree to make a homegrown version of US show Hollywood Squares that he would also host (this became Celebrity Squares when it began the following year. Around this time ATV updated the show with a new theme song sung by Stephanie de Sykes.

The 200th Edition was an extravaganza that went out live from Warwick Castle with more celeb guests than normal including Scott Walker, Leslie Crowther, Petula Clark, Ken Dodd, Patrick Allen and Kenny Lynch. Charlie Williams, Bob Monkhouse and Norman Vaughan on the last edition of The Golden Shot 13 April 1975.

The final episode went out of 13 April 1975 with Norman Vaughan and Charlie Williams as guests.

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The series, which was based on a German original, was given a TV Times cover and a two page feature for it’s debut with Carol Dilworth the cover star. The show was mostly broadcast live and very few editions are still in existence.

production details
UK / ITV – ATV / 360×45 minute episodes / Broadcast 8 July 1967 – 13 April 1975

Creators: Werner and Hannes Schmid / Theme Music: Philip Green (1967-1974) and Golden Day by Lynsey de Paul and Barry Blue, sung by Stephanie de Sykes and Rain / Producers: Alan Tarrant (1967, 1973), Colin Clews (1967), Albert Locke (1968), Dicky Leeman (1968-1969, 1973-1975), John Pullen (1969, 1973), Edward Joffe (1970), Mike Lloyd (1970-1971), Les Cocks (1972-1973),

Hosts: Jackie Rae (1967), Bob Monkhouse (1967-1972 and 1974-1975), Norman Vaughan (1972-1973), Charlie Williams (1973-1974)

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EPISODES
1972
1. 1 Jan 1972 (The Bachelors)


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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