call my service

Call My Bluff

Call My Bluff was a long-running British game show (adapted for BBC television by Philip Hindin from a short-lived US Goodson-Todman show of the same title) between two teams of three celebrity contestants. The point of the game is for the teams to take it in turn to provide three definitions of an obscure word, only one of which is correct. The other team then has to guess which is the correct definition, the other two being "bluffs". It was brought back to BBC TV by producer Richard Lewis.

Examples of words used in Call my Bluff, taken from a book published in connection with the show in 1972, are Queach, Strongle, Ablewhacket, Hickboo, Jargoon, Zurf, Morepork and Jirble. Queach, for instance, was defined as 'a malicious caricature,' 'a cross between a quince and a peach,' or 'a mini-jungle of mixed vegetation.' The first and second of those particular definitions are bluffs. The U.S. version ran from March-June 1965, broadcast on NBC. Bill Leyden was the host; Bill Wendell the announcer. Despite its short run, Milton Bradley issued a home version board game during the summer of that year.

The show ran on BBC 2 from 1965 to 1988. The original host was Robin Ray, later succeeded by Joe Melia, Peter Wheeler and finally Robert Robinson. Robert Morley and Frank Muir captained the teams. Morley was succeeded by Patrick Campbell, who was in turn succeeded by Arthur Marshall. It finished after Marshall's death, although a general change in the tone and atmosphere of broadcasting at the time may also have affected its temporary demise.

The show was resurrected in 1996 after an 8-year rest (apart from one special edition for BBC2's thirtieth birthday in 1994), now as a daytime series on BBC 1. Alan Coren and Sandi Toksvig became the team captains, and Bob Holness replaced Robinson as chairman.

In 2003, Toksvig was replaced by the journalist Rod Liddle, and newsreader Fiona Bruce took the chair. The series finished again in 2005.

A similar gameshow ran on MTV3 in Finland between 2001 and 2003, called Kuutamolla ("In the Moonlight"), except with fewer celebrities and a focus on anecdotes about the lives of the guests, rather than on word meanings.


Call my Bluff by Frank Muir and Patrick Campbell, published by Eyre Methuen, London, 1972.


Smith - "Skankarific's not a word!" Casey - "It means teriffically skankified, it was on Call My Bluff"

  • In the "Europe" episode of QI, Series E, a segment was featured entitled "Call My Euro Bluff", featuring stories about laws in the EU. The panel then had to decide whether each story was true or a "bløff".

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