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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hosted by curly-headed comedian Lennie Bennett, 'Punchlines!' was like
a cross between 'Celebrity Squares' and 'Blankety Blank'. Eight
celebrities - amongst them Dave Lee Travis, Sue Holderness, David
Copperfield ( of 'Three Of A Kind' ), Patti Gold ( of 'Russ Abbot's
Saturday Madhouse' ), Rula Lenska, Fogwell Flax ( anyone remember him?
), the late Judy Gridley, American comedienne Bryan Joan Elliott (
whatever became of her? ), toothless Northern comic Albert Pontefract,
'New Avenger' Gareth Hunt, June Whitfield, Rod Hull and Emu ( was there
a show from this time these two were not on? ) - sat in little boxes
atop one another. Bennett read out a joke ( sans punchline ), the
celebrities provided the finish, and contestants would have to remember
not only the punchline itself, but who had delivered it. One celebrity
who stood out the most was the Irish singer Rose Marie. Not only was
she beautiful, but also admitted to being a bit brainless, a fact
Bennett took advantage of. On one edition, he got a big laugh when it
was discovered the word on her card was 'nibbles' and not - as she'd
read out - 'nipples'. From the surprised look on her face I'd say she
was correct, and that the word had been deliberately misspelled to get
a cheap laugh at her expense.
Critics were not kind. One suggested that the show - combined with Bernard Manning's 'Under Manning' - made the most banal 90 minutes viewing on the box. It had a good run though, ending finally in 1984. Bennett then did another game show- 'Lucky Ladders' - before fading into obscurity. In 2002, he was the subject of an item on 'After They Were Famous' in which it was revealed he was running a fast food outlet in Blackpool. It was a sad comedown for someone who had been part of a double act ( along with Jerry Stevens ) once tipped to inherit Morecambe & Wise's crown. He died in 2009.
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