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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Early Telly.

Author: screenman from United Kingdom
24 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'What's My Line' was a panel show in which 4 celebrities had to work out the occupations of a series of invited guests.

Between the 4 of them they could ask each guest 10 questions relating to their work, subject to the discretion of the chairman. They couldn't ask 'What's your job?'

An amazing variety of occupations turned up, many of them of an obscure working-class nature with which the panelists would be completely unfamiliar. They also had a celebrity guest on each week for whom the panelists had to cover their eyes.

The celebrity panel was made up from a bunch of establishment crusties of whom I (as a young child) had no previous knowledge. There was some tubby old duffer with a waistcoat and 'albert' watch-chain called Gilbert Hardine. Another was a fading, shrewish beauty called Isobel Barnet. Not sure about the others, but I think a regular TV magician called David Nixon was amongst them. Actually, he was the ONLY TV magician in those days. The broadcasting establishment of the day probably thought his calling a little too flippant to support another. The fourth panelist was a middle-aged American blonde society floozie. Her name has gone completely.

The chairman-host was called Eamon Andrews. In the early days of BBC telly his face was almost as much a staple as the test-card. I remember him in 'This Is Your Life', 'Crackerjack', and several others. He had a curious accent which I gradually learned was Irish and which he was constantly trying to disguise (it didn't sound very BBC).

Today the format probably wouldn't work. People seem to be either in 'Media', 'IT', or unemployed.

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