Of course there’s a massive list of incredible bingo TV shows, right? Wrong. For reasons that us bingo lovers mortals will never understand, there isn’t a whole heap of bingo shows.
What’s not to like? There’s humour, an excited crowd, and the inevitable idiot that will shout “bingo” when they haven’t won. However, it seems as though there have only been a couple of truly great TV shows based on online bingo games. But worry not! We’re going to take a close look at these shows. So, let’s wait no longer and get into the juicy bits.
1. Bob’s Full House
There was no greater TV show about bingo games than Bob’s Full House. Running from 1984-1990, it was wildly popular during its six year tenure and a lot of that came down to the charismatic and cheeky compere of the show itself. Of course, we’re talking about none other than the legendary Bob Monkhouse here. The game’s name makes a little more sense now, doesn’t it?
One of the reasons why Bob’s Full House was such a success was the simplicity of the game. It combined the format of a classic quiz show with aspects of bingo. Contestants were given a card that they have to ‘fill’ with their answers to the questions that Bob asked. Every episode began with some stand-up comedy from the host and he had a truly great rapport with the crowd throughout his six years at the helm. There were three rounds, plus a bonus round.
Round one, also known as four corners, consisted of 50/50 questions and whoever got the buzzer first got to answer the question. The right answer would illuminate one corner of their card, while the wrong answer meant they were “wallied” and unable to hit the buzzer in the next round. The first player to light all four corners of their card won the first round.
Round two, or Monkhouse Master Card/The Middle Line, was a little more complicated. A board with six categories was shown to the contestants, each corresponding to 10 consecutive numbers. Each player got a turn to pick a number from their card, after which they would be asked the corresponding question on the board. Correct answers lit the number, and the wrong answer transferred it to the next quickest person to hit the buzzer. The same rules of being “wallied” applied. The first player to complete the middle row won the game. But there was also a Lucky Number hidden in the cards, which if answered correctly won the player a bonus prize.
Round three, or the Full House round, was similar to round one but players had to try to light all the numbers on their cards that were still unlit. The first player to light their whole card won the round. Players who didn’t win any rounds at least got hampers to take home.
The Bonus Round, or Golden Card Game, came next. Players had the same board as the main game, but there was one space marked off in each row and numbers from 1 to 60 in the others. Contestants had 60 seconds to answer up to 15 questions. The clock continued to run if they didn’t know the answer, but if they got it right the clock would stop and they were allowed to mark off a number of their choice. Some of the numbers had letters which spelled the name of a holiday destination, while others gave cash prizes. The player who guessed the name of the holiday destination won it as a prize, while all others walked away with their banked money.
2. Lucky Numbers
Lucky Numbers had a much shorter run time of only two years and fifty episodes, but it was one of the most popular TV shows between 1995 and 1997. It was hosted by the well-known comedian, and now successful actor, Shane Richie, who brought a wonderful level of cheekiness and banter to the show.
It was quite similar to Bob’s Full House in that players answered questions to light up the squares on their bingo cards. But the rounds were a little more straightforward and were mainly different to each other by the prize amount, which ranged from £500, £1,000 and £2,000 per round in ascending order.
Undoubtedly the most exciting portion of the game was the Cash Dash bonus round. The winner was given the chance to win up to 10 times what they had already banked. To do this, they had to answer quick questions in 45 seconds to try to make up a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line.
The show was sponsored by The Sun newspaper and the rise in the popularity of bingo has been widely attributed to the almost cult status that the show achieved.
3. National Bingo Night and Bingo America
Across the shores of the Atlantic, our American brethren were also giving bingo game shows a go. In 2007, ABC ran a show called National Bingo Night. The show was hosted by Ed Sanders from Extreme Makeover and it had a six-episode run to start with.
The idea of the game was that members of the studio audience each got three cards of bingo during the 60 minutes of the show. They would then compete with the actual contestants and each other to be the first to answer all the questions and get to complete the card first. The prize for completing the card first was $5,000.
Although exciting and absolutely interesting to watch the players try to complete their questions before the audience, the show never got renewed and finished after its six episodes.
However, the Game Show Network picked it up, changed the host to Patrick Duffy (who was eventually replaced by Richard Karn) and completely reinvigorated it into a new format and game — under the name Bingo America.
The contestants would draw balls from a hopper that contained numbers between 1 and 75, as well as a letter from the word ‘bingo’. If they got the corresponding question right, they’d get to keep their number and the first person to get all the letters of ‘bingo’ walked away with $100,000.
One of the most exciting aspects of the now 25 minute show was that viewers could play at home. They could download and print the bingo sheets that were randomly generated from the show’s website and play along at home. If they won from home, they won $50 dollars.
There’s nothing that could make people want to watch a show more than the chance to win 50 bucks from their couch, that’s for sure. The show ran for 2 seasons and 105 episodes before saying farewell.
Until another great bingo TV show is released, you’re going to have to entertain yourself with another digital version of online bingo. In fact, we don’t just have bingo on our bingo site — we also have a whole heap of other fun games like Slingo Bingo and online slots to make sure you can switch it up and keep it interesting!/ 07 December 2020