1 9 5 5 – 1 9 6 8 (UK)
478 x 30 minute episodes
Canadian ex-pilot Hughie Green brought this show to TV from Radio Luxembourg in 1955, with the very first episode airing on Monday 26 September of that year.
Contestants chose from 42 (originally 58) available subjects and went through preliminary rounds, beginning at £1, leading up to the £32 level, with each question worth twice as much as the preceding one.
At that point a contestant would exit and return the following week to decide on entering the ‘Treasure Trail’, leading to the £1,000 jackpot prize. Contestants could quit at any time and leave with their winnings.
In order to enable the contestants to concentrate completely, and to avoid any possible answers shouted from the studio audience, all questions from £32 on up were asked while contestants were sealed inside an isolation booth.
Green (who went on to greater fame with Opportunity Knocks) demonstrated his over-the-top showmanship as he clowned around, told corny jokes and poked fun at the contestants.
A number of hostesses worked on Double Your Money, including leggy 18-year-old Valerie Drew, Jean Clarke (who was famous for wiggling her bottom), Alice Earrey (a 77-year-old former charlady who originally appeared as a contestant answering questions on cookery), Nancy Roberts, Barbara Roscoe, Julie de Marco, Norma Sykes (the famous 40-inch chested ‘Sabrina’) and chirpy cockney teenager Monica Rose.
Monica was 16 years old and earning £4 a week as a junior clerk when she appeared as a contestant on the show and her repartee caught the imagination of viewers and Hughie Green, who brought her back as a hostess.
She stayed with the show until it was killed by the ITA in a sweep against the long-running cash quiz shows. Robin Richmond and later Jackie Brown were the show’s resident organists.
Probably the most famous contestant was young footballer Bobby Charlton, who won £1,000 with questions on pop music although he flouted the rules by refusing to go in the soundproof glass box to answer the jackpot question.
When the show was axed in 1968 Hughie Green was characteristically bitter:
“For thirteen years we have been consistently in the Top Ten. My only crime, apparently, is I have been popular for a long time. They say they want more culture and that Double Your Money is too trivial. But do people really want more culture? I very much doubt it”.
Hughie and Monica Rose returned in 1970 with The Sky’s The Limit.
Julie de Marco