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We endured Bob Monkhouse's cheesiness in the early 70s for the moment
when Bernie loaded the Bolt and the camera looked down the shaft of the
arrow towards the target.
Bernie was blindfold and tension was in the air as the contestant had to tell him how to aim. Everyone had to say "up a bit... down a bit..." etc. That was the terminology. Anything else was pretentiousness.
Maybe it wasn't as incredibly naff as it sounds... or probably it was.
Sometimes the prizes could be quite big. Like a car (cheapest one on the market). It was working-class entertainment. For a while we always watched it. What else was there to do on a Sunday afternoon over the jelly and ice-cream? After a while we became more sophisticated and wouldn't be seen dead watching it. As it were.
I must slightly correct my fellow poster. True, this was naff, but the
first host was not Bob Monkhouse, but Jackie Rae. Also, only old fogies
like me remember that the original catchphrase was "Heinz The Bolt",
before Bernie came along, although I vaguely recall Heinz making a
comeback for one show.
Part of the show's charm, apart from its naffness (many things went wrong when it was on live), was Anne Aston's struggles with mental arithmetic!
Oddly enough, this is one show which I would love to see return, but sadly I don't see it happening. 30 years on, I suspect the "powers that be" would be too safety conscious about cameras dressed up as crossbows!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A few years back, Sky's 'Challenge T.V.' repeated editions of 'The
Golden Shot' as part of a season of archive game shows ( how about
another season, Challenge? Hint. hint. ). I watched in fascination ( as
you do ) when confronted by a show one had not seen in literally years.
'Shot' was a fixture on Sunday afternoon television for years, but began life as a peak-time Saturday night show. Hosted by Jackie Rae, a genial Canadian, it was okay but nothing special. Blindfolded contestants aimed a William Tell-style crossbow at a target while directed by another member of the public via telephone. The bows were loaded by 'Bernie The Bolt' ( who was always called that, no matter his real name ). The ritual went something like: "up a bit, left a bit, down a bit...fire!".
Whosoever hit the target ( or got closest to it ) won a cash prize. The targets changed from game to game ( one week, they had a special show to tie-in with the children's sci-fi show 'Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons' with the hostesses dressed as Spectrum Angels ). At the end of each show, the target was a golden apple, and if hit a cascade of glitter poured forth, drawing gasps from the studio audience.
'Shot' was moved to Sundays by Lord Lew Grade, and Rae replaced by the marvellous Bob Monkhouse. Both decisions proved correct. Rae had been humourless and stiff, but Bob had this amazing ability to improvise ( and needed it for the show went out live ). He often told on chat-shows years later how a man insisted on taking part even though his T.V. set had been repossessed by Rumbelow's, and the only way he could view the show was through the window of a T.V. shop in the High Street. Charming though this story is, one must take it with a pinch of salt - T.V. shops would not have been open in those days on Sundays.
The other well-remembered participant was Anne Aston, cute, blonde and daffy ( a sort of Carol Vorderman without the mathematics ).
Monkhouse made the show a hit, but left somewhat suddenly in 1973. In his autobiography, he later revealed that A.T.V. suspected him of taking bribes from contestants. It was untrue, of course.
Bob was replaced by ex-'Sunday Night At The London Palladium' host Norman Vaughan. I have to say I never found the man the least bit funny, and his stint on 'Shot' was dire. He never stopped talking, once telling a lengthy joke only for the the punchline to be met with complete silence.
Norman's replacement, Charlie Williams, was even worse. The first black comic to make it big in Britain, the Yorkshireman became a sensation on Granada's 'The Comedians', and was in great demand for television, theatre, advertising etc. He was even the subject of a strip in the children's comic 'Shiver & Shake'. Williams later described his run on 'Shot' as 'the biggest mistake of my career'. He was right. Watching one of his editions again recently I felt genuinely sorry for him. He was just not cut out to be a game-show host, and came off looking like chief mourner at a funeral. When the show ended, his television career ended with it.
In 1975, the I.B.A. ( Independent Broadcasting Authority ) ruled that 'Shot' had run its course, and took it off. Monkhouse came back for the final edition, along with Norman.
'Shot' was briefly revived a while back by Ant & Dec, but as I never saw it ( nothing on Earth would want to make me watch those two ), I cannot comment.
The old Sunday teatime game show slot was later ( more than adequately ) filled by Jim Bowen's 'Bullseye', ironically co-created by Norman Vaughan, and it remains his best known achievement. Having made up with Monkhouse, A.T.V. eventually gave him a new game show - 'Family Fortunes'.
For those of us of a certain age, we cannot consume a Spam sandwich nor mandarin oranges with Carnation ( its nice - try it some time! ) without remembering this show, and some poor twit going: "Down a bit, right a bit, up a bit...fire!".
People always make the mistake of thinking that Bernie the Bolt was the
blindfold shooter. This was not the case. Bernie the Bolt loaded the
crossbow; the arrow fired by a crossbow is called a bolt hence he was
called ".... the bolt".
But it was a mysterious individual in evening dress "the blindfolded cameraman" who actually responded to the "up a bit, down a bit" instructions. The crossbow was in fact attached to his camera and so when the participants gave him instructions he moved the camera controls to respond.
This role was undertaken by a real cameraman on the show by the name of Derek Chasen.
"Golden shyte" more like... this was a terrifically naff game show programe which use to get thrown up on a Sunday afternoon in the 70s on ITV. If you ever thought "Bullseye" was cheesy then think again! first hosted by Bob Monkhouse and then Norman Vaughn; my sole interest as a mere nipper in watching it was to admire the well endowed physical attributes of buxom Anne Ashton and the voluptous Sue Longhurst.
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