Blankety Blanks

Blankety Blanks

"Blankety Blanks" was a popular Australian game show hosted by Graham Kennedy on Network Ten.


Regular panelists were Ugly Dave Gray, Noeline Brown, Carol Raye and Stuart Wagstaff. Other panelists included Noel Ferrier, Belinda Giblin, Abigail, Nick Tate, Tommy Hanlon Junior, Dawn Lake, Jon English, Wendy Blacklock, Barry Creighton, Peta Toppano and Mark Holden. "Blankety Blanks" initially ran from 1977 to 1978 in a two-season run. It was screened at a rate of five, thirty-minute episodes each week, stripped across an early evening timeslot. It was broadcast at 7.30 PM in 1977, and at 7.00 PM in 1978 [Moran, Albert. "Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series", Allen & Unwin, 1993. ISBN 0642184623 p 676-9] .

Kennedy won a TV Week Gold Logie Award in 1978 for Most Popular Personality On Australian Television. When Kennedy succumbed to laryngitis the show's young announcer Don Blake was forced to host the show for an episode.

The series was a Reg Grundy production based on the long-running American game show "Match Game", which had been created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. Indeed the "Blankety Blanks" set looked similar to that of its American counterpart. Neither show has any connection to another American game show called "Blankety Blanks". "Blankety Blank" is the British version of the format.

In October 1978 the series came up for renewal. The Network was keen to renew the series. Kennedy consulted key panelist Ugly Dave Gray about the potential renewal. Gray felt he had used all his jokes and had exhausted the comic potential of the formula and expressed a desire to not continue with the series. Kennedy observed that the ratings were down from the earlier figures, although the earlier figures were unusually high, ratings in the 40s, and recent figures in the 30s range were still extremely high. In any event Kennedy informed the Network he would not be continuing with the series and so it ended in late 1978. [Gray, Dave. "It's Funny Being Ugly", New Holland Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-74110-409-2 p 151]

The series has been repeated many times since its run ended. It was shown by the Ten Network many times though the 1980s. In the 2000s it has been screened in Foxtel's TV1. Other Australian programs using the same format appeared in later decades. There was a 1985 version hosted by Daryl Somers on the Nine Network but it had little success. This was followed by a second revival in 1996, again on the Nine Network, which had slightly more success lasting two seasons. Both of these versions followed the same format as the Kennedy version, but with a top prize of $5000 (Audience Match amounts were $500-$250-$100, equaling those in the beginning of the US 1970's run of "Match Game").

A DVD set of 30 episodes of "Blankety Blanks" was released in late 2005.

Game play

Two contestants, including a returning champion, competed. The contestants were always a man and a woman - at no point did two people of the same gender compete. The object was to match the answers of the six celebrity panelists to fill-in-the-blank statements.

The main game was played in two rounds. The challenger was given a choice of two statements labeled either "A" or "B." Kennedy then read the statement. The show's questions were designed as "double entendres", such as "Joan and Paul went to bed and Joan asked Paul to her".

The celebrity panelists wrote their answers on cards, after which the contestant gave their answer. Kennedy then asked each celebrity in turn, beginning in the upper left hand corner, to reveal their response. The contestant earned one point for matching answer (or reasonably similar as determined by the adjudicator - producer Tony Connelly who was dubbed by Kennedy "Tony the moustache twirler").

After completion of the round, Kennedy read the statement on the other card for the challenger and play was identical.

The challenger again began Round 2, with two new questions, unless he/she matched everyone in the first round. Only panelists that a contestant didn't previously match played this round. If the players tied with the same score at the end of the round the scores were reset to 0-0. Play continued until there was a clear winner.

The winner of the game went on to play the "Super Match". The contestant had to match a word in a fill-in-the-blank phrase with the most popular response given in an audience poll. The contestant could consult three panelists for suggestions. The most popular answer in the survey was worth $100, the second-most popular $50, and the third most popular $25. The contestant won the amount of the answer they matched with.

If a contestant failed to match any of the three answers, the bonus round ended. If successful the contestant had the opportunity to win 10 times that amount in the "Head-To-Head Match". In this part of the game, they must match another fill-in-the-blank response with a celebrity panelist of his or her choice. If successful, he/she won the money accumulated in both parts of the round. Either way, the winning contestant could keep playing until defeated by another challenger.

Running gags

Many questions were quotations of a fictional character named Cyril, and would begin "Cyril said..." with the quotation recited by Kennedy in a stereotypical gay male voice (Cyril was Kennedy's middle name.) Another recurring character in the questions was "Dumb Dora". In a routine borrowed from "Match Game", Kennedy would read the question which began "Dumb Dora was so dumb..." and be greeted with the chanted reply from audience and panel members of "How dumb was she?", after which he would read through the entire question. A recurring comedy skit between Kennedy and Gray involved discussion about a man named "Dick", leading to "Did Dick?", "Dick did!" exchanges between Kennedy and Ugly Dave Gray.

Kennedy's risque brand of humour often nudged the boundaries of contemporary Australian broadcasting standards. In one running gag, the crew member behind the show's sets pulling the lever that uncovered the correct answers on the board was dubbed "Peter the Phantom Puller". To reveal each answer in turn, Kennedy would call out "Peter could you have a pull", "Pull it Peter!", etc. In another episode Kennedy came on with a prepared list of "rude" words which were deemed acceptable to be spoken on-air. Then throughout the episode he would suddenly launch into a chant of "wee poo bum, wee poo bum!"


See also

* List of Australian game shows
* "Match Game"

External links

* [;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A682943%20|%20Number%3A138152;querytype=;resCount=10 Blankety Blanks at the National Film and Sound Archive]

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