game for

Game for a Laugh

Game For A Laugh was a popular British TV light entertainment show which ran for 58 editions between 26 September 1981 and 23 November 1985, made by London Weekend Television for the ITV network.

The original format was called Gotcha and was designed as a BBC TV series to be presented by Paul Daniels, David Copperfield (the British comedian) and Pamela Stephenson. The pilot show was rejected, allegedly, for being 'too vulgar'. Jeremy Beadle then re-wrote the format - with producer Michael Hill in the US - and approached LWT, where producer and LWT Entertainment head Alan Boyd put the finishing touches to it. The show mixed elements of the US series Candid Camera and Truth or Consequences, to which LWT bought rights.

The hosts for its first few series were Beadle, Matthew Kelly, Henry Kelly (no relation) and Sarah Kennedy. When Kelly, Kelly & Kennedy left, the hosts were Jeremy Beadle, Martin Daniels (son of Paul Daniels), Rustie Lee, Lee Peck. The final series was hosted by Beadle, Daniels and Debbie Rix. The show revolved around a variety of practical jokes, either in game-type formats played out within the studio or as often elaborate set-ups on unsuspecting members of the public, either studio-based or shot on location. Each segment would end with the victim being made aware of the joke by a presenter, who would then announce that the person had proved to be "game for a laugh".

Although the other presenters went on to other different types of show, Jeremy Beadle went on to present several more practical-joke type shows, including Beadle's About! and became strongly identified with the genre in the UK.

The production team for the series overlapped with the later Surprise, Surprise, which was originally a spin-off format from Game For a Laugh, designed by Alan Boyd to comprise the 'surprising', bizarre and humorous 'real people' elements from Game For a Laugh.


  • The series' (rather incomprehensible) catchphrase was spoken by the four presenters at the end of the show - "Join us again next week when we very much hope you'll be..." then each of the four would intone, one by one:

Henry - "Watching us..." Sarah - "Watching you..." Matthew - "Watching us..." Jeremy - "Watching you...." (all) - "GOODNIGHT!"

  • Sarah Kennedy started her career as a newsreader for BBC Radio 1. She now presents a show on BBC Radio 2, The Dawn Patrol, which has a cult following.
  • Henry Kelly went on to present the BBC TV pan-European quiz Going for Gold. In 2001 it was voted as one of the worst programmes of all time. Kelly is now a Sunday morning presenter on the British radio station Classic FM.
  • Matthew Kelly started his career as a stooge to Hylda Baker. Dressed in drag, he played Cynthia, whom Hylda was always telling her to "be soon".
  • Game for a Laugh was spoofed in Not the Nine O'Clock News, in a sketch showing a man (Rowan Atkinson) returning home from work to find his wife brutally beheaded. He runs out into the street screaming before being approached by the crew who then shout "Game for a Laugh", whereupon they all share the joke, despite the fact that the man's wife is very obviously dead.

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