Watching the first of Challenge’s double bill of Family Fortunes repeats, I was struck once again by how much the set resembled the original interior of the Odeon, Leicester Square. I was also struck by the fact that, immediately afterwards, ITV2 was showing an edition of All Star Family Fortunes. Vernon Kay is no Bob Monkhouse, but I was pleased to see that the designer on the modern version of the show is Richard Plumb, who also designed the original set.
I was also struck by the sheer glee with which Bob launched himself into the show. My old mate James Masterton made a great observation about the show opening. It’s all building up to the main event: Bob. First we meet the families. Then we see all of the prizes. All the while, the Jack Parnell/Dave Lindup sig tune is maintaining a simmer under the action. The heat is then turned up full, and is brought to the boil as Bob bounds down the stairs and proffers a hand to the audience at home, half in greeting, half as if we’re shaking on something. Then, Bob runs into the centre of the set, and does a lap of honour in front of the families, by way of greeting, then it’s into the opening routine. The whole thing has pace, tension and class by the bucketload. Now all we need is for Challenge to buy up some imperial phase Generation Games and we’ll be set.