Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1980s Family Fortunes

Family Fortunes

1 9 8 0 – 2 0 0 2 (UK)

ATV bought the British rights to an American game show called Family Feud and re-presented it as Family Fortunes in 1980 with Bob Monkhouse hosting.

Two family teams answered questions about the answers other people would give, as calculated on a computer called Mr Babbage (named after the inventor of the first computer in 1837), competing for a jackpot of £1,000.

Viewers and contestants were baffled at first, but soon cottoned on and the show grew to a respectable audience of 14 million regular viewers.

Many of the answers given were left on the cutting-room floor. Two of those were: “What do children miss most on holiday?” to which one contestant replied “the toilet”, while the question “Apart from the Grand Prix, name a dangerous race” drew the response, “Arabs”.


One show pitted members of the two aristocratic families of Lord Bath and Lord Montagu against each other. It taught viewers a thing or two about how the other half lives: Question: “Name a High Street store”. Answer: “Harrods”. Question: “What kind of birds do you see in your garden?” Answer: “Peacocks”.

Max Bygraves (pictured above right) took over from Bob in 1983 and found all the explaining of the rules somewhat taxing, but enjoyed reminding contestants that they could win “Big Money”.

One contestant won a cassette recorder. Max proudly gave her a SinagalongaMax vinyl LP and said: “here’s some music to play on it”. Perhaps she’s still trying to slot it in . . .

Les Dennis took over the job in 1987.

Bob Monkhouse
Max Bygraves
Les Dennis