Bob’s Full House


If you were looking to crown a British King of Quiz shows, then surely Bob Monkhouse would be your man. The Golden Shot and Family Fortunes were a couple of his big hitters, although he also had some very obscure shows on his cv.  Ironically, it seems that few people today remember Monkhouse’s Memory Masters whilst his first quiz effort (Do You Trust Your Wife?) has also fallen down a crack in time.

Bob’s Full House is one that’s endured though. And thanks to repeats on Challenge, a heathy selection are available to enjoy on YouTube.

“In Bingo lingo clickety-clicks, it’s time to take your pick of the six”

This was the perfect show for Bob. It allowed him to do a bit of stand-up at the start and then interact with the four contestants in a mildly teasing (but always friendly) way before the serious part of the quiz began.  Although there were a few rumblings that bingo was too down market for the BBC, BFH was actually a pure quiz rather than a televised bingo session (although surely that’s been done by someone somewhere).

Round one was Four Corners, where you had to … well, you can probably guess.  The first contestant to answer four questions correctly would also get a prize (there would be much cooing from the studio audience in that sort of semi-ironic Blankety Blank way).

The pace would pick up with Round two – the Monkhouse Mastercard. This time the contestants could select one of their numbers which matched with a variety of quiz topics.  A slightly more impressive prize would be given to the one who managed to light up their middle line.

By the time we get to round three – Full House – things are going full throttle. Now it’s just a straight race to the finishing line, with a series of rapid fire questions requiring good fingers on buzzers action.  Bob comes into his own here, rattling through question after question like the pro he was.

The winner would then join Bob for the Golden Card. A holiday destination (which always had to be around seven letters) was the prize and there were fifteen questions to be answered.  With a time-limit of just one minute things could get tense – the more wrong answers, the harder it would be to locate the letters (other squares on the board contained money, which was nice but no help when you were looking for an all-expenses paid holiday).

BFH was a hit straight away – by the end of the first series in December 1984, the show was pulling in more than thirteen million viewers. It’s early evening Saturday timeslot may be one of the reasons why it’s fondly remembered today – possibly it wasn’t the programme that we were all tuning in for, but it was a dependable part of the television furniture for a good number of years.

And maybe it plays a little better today than it did then. Bob was respected in the eighties, but he also had to fend off a fair number of brickbats. In the last few years of his life, and in the decades following his death, his critical standing has certainly increased.  Maybe at the time we just took him for granted – now, some thirty years on, it’s easier to see just how good he was.

bob game

16 thoughts on “Bob’s Full House

  1. More about Bob really. He did a good straight acting turn in an episode of Jonathon Creek. It was the first time I actually warmed to him although like a lot of people I held him in higher regard towards the end of his life. As regards BFH i remember tuning in one Saturday to see a girl I took out a couple of times as a contestant. She won too as I recall 😀

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  2. I actually won BFH! I came away with the holiday (two weeks in Kowloon), a stereo stack system, Sony Walkman, Harrod ‘s hamper and some great memories. Bob was very nice and John Junkin was also there. They departed from the usual two men, two women format and pitted me against three men. They were very quick on the buzzer but I love an audience and got very competitive so did pretty well. I was even criticised the next day in the News of the World the next day for not being a worthy winner!

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      • Coincidence running amok here. Dawn you didn’t live in the Horndean area at the time did you and were a member of a theatre group called ‘footsteps?’


      • Hello Chris, I had been living in Waterlooville and was a member of Footsteps yes! When I did BFH I was living in Old Portsmouth but it sounds like me 😁


      • Hi Dawn. It just seemed such a coincidence. I made a veiled reference to you in my original Bob comment and then later you pop up in person. Obviously my link to Footsteps was Suzan who I’m still in touch with on Facebook but I wasn’t sure where the rest of you lived. I do remember you being in Old Portsmouth but it was a very long time ago. Anyway I hope all is well x


      • Hi Chris, yes I read back and saw that. It’s very odd as I hadn’t thought about BFH for ages but a colleague at work mentioned it the other day so we were trying to find a clip of me on YouTube (to no avail) and found this site. I very much remember you and Suzi Watkins as being the power couple of Waterlooville Baptist Church! It’d be lovely to connect with you both again (although I realise you’re not together!) on Facebook. I hope she’s happy and healthy and the same to you. I remember having dinner with you both and feeling very young and gauche next to your seemingly adult sophistication 😁 Happy days xx


      • Hi Dawn well I’m glad you added ‘seemingly’ in reference to our perceived adult sophistication 😀 I never saw you as young and gauche and I’m sure Suzan didn’t either. She’s on Facebook as Suzan Baker btw. My connection with WBC was again through her although I do sometimes still go particularly when I lived in Surrey. They were happy days weren’t they 😊 Anyway please do get in touch on Facebook


      • Looking you both up now Chris. So lovely to connect again and the lovely memories of those days. I’m back in the area having moved about a bit before but don’t tend to go to WBC. X


  3. I also won BFH in 1986. I won a portable TV, video recorder, Harrod’s hamper and £153. I didn’t uncover enough letters so missed out on the holiday to Majorca. I was a fresh faced 19 year old. My winning question “what is the longest running play in the West End of London”. I remember my fellow contestants were Jerry from Liverpool, someone who was a house model for Freemans and someone who worked at the Britannia Hotel in Manchester. Recorded in April 1986 and broadcast in the December. Bob was really nice and I remember meeting John Junkin in the Green Room. Gabrielle Jackson was the contestant researcher. Really good day that I still remember.

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    • It was fantastic fun wasn’t it? The lunch in the BBC canteen, visit to the Blue Peter sunken garden and the recording itself. A very happy weekend in April.


  4. Did you know there was a hidden credit in some of the first series episodes (two that I know of, 1 and 5) for the English Electric Valve Company? For literally one frame of the closing credits, you can see the credit, partially obscured by the slow refresh rate of the board…

    Quote my comment on S1E5 on Youtube… after the “QUESTIONS COMPILED BY:” credit, there’s a brief flash of “STEM” after the colon, and what looks like an edit [as the camera moved slightly]. The message is slightly clearer in Ep. 1, can be read to say “COMPUTER SYSTEM: THE ENGLISH ELECTRIC VALVE COMPANY”.


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