1 9 6 5 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
1 9 9 6 – 2 0 0 5 (UK)
Originally a short-lived show (just six months) in America, this witty panel game became one of the pillars of BBC2, attracting the type of up-market artist who would not normally go within a mile of game shows.
Two teams tried to guess the correct definition of an obscure word from the Oxford English Dictionary from the three options provided by the opposing team – two of them bogus and one real.
Chairmen of the game included Robin Ray, Peter Wheeler and Robert Robinson, but the series was at its best when the bow-tied Frank Muir was opposed by the stuttering Patrick Campbell. The other regular team captain was Robert Morley.
Each panellist gave a lengthy, humorous definition of the word offered up by the chairman and the other team had to describe which description was genuine. Success or failure was denoted by turning over the description cards to reveal, in big letters, TRUE or BLUFF.
The unscripted witty banter of the programme was incredibly funny at times.
Once, while pronouncing the word “kerseymere” (which means tweed cloth), Chairman Robert Robinson’s two front false teeth shot out and landed on the desk in front.
A one-off programme was shown in 1994 with Joanna Lumley opposing Frank Muir and with Robert Robinson in the chair, before the series returned at lunchtimes on BBC1 in 1996. The new chairman was Bob Holness, with Alan Coren and Sandi Toksvig as captains.