Winner Takes All



Jimmy Tarbuck (1975-86)

Geoffrey Wheeler (1987-8)

Bobby Davro (1997)


Voiceover: Geoffrey Wheeler (1975-86)

Vicky McDonald (1987-8)

Announcer: Gaynor Barnes (1997)


Yorkshire Television for ITV, 20 April 1975 to 28 June 1988 (248 episodes in 14 series + 3 specials)

Yorkshire Television for Challenge TV, 5 May to ? 1997


Contestants start with fifty points and answer a series of five questions, wagering between five and fifty of their accumulated total on their ability to select the correct answer from the five displayed.

File:Winner takes all tarby1.jpgI want my bathroom tiled like that

Each answer was associated with a set of odds, between 2-1 and 5-1 and the outsider at 10-1. Correct answers paid off at the illustrated odds.

File:Winner takes all jimmy with geoff hostesses.jpgGeoffrey and Jimmy together

This takes place twice before the break, and once afterwards, but for pounds instead of points. There was a returning-champion complication somewhere along the line, too.

Image:Winner_takes_all_tarby3.jpgJimmy Tarbuck and hostesses

"Ho-ho!" Tarbuck hosted in the early days, accompanied by the disembodied voice of Geoffrey Wheeler to read out the questions, answers and commentate upon the outcomes. Later shows dispensed with Tarbuck and Wheeler performed both jobs.

The set of winner takes all. The contestants indicated their "bet" via the lights in front of their desks.

A modern version starring Bobby Davro was made for cable station Challenge TV and two things strike you about the show. Firstly, Davro's actually a very quick witted host, and secondly how inconsequential the betting procedure is. If you'd just count how many questions each contestant got right, most of the time you'd reach exactly the same outcome. The Davro revival also saw the return of the disembodied voiceover reading the questions, in the form of YTV newsreader Gaynor Barnes.

File:Winner takes all davro1.jpgBobby Davro hosted the most recent version

For this reason, we can't praise this show to the heights, but nevertheless it's a quiz that was popular in its day.

Key moments

In 1981, redundant sausage cook John Smith won £6620, the highest prize awarded on a British game show at the time. This was bettered in 1986, when Michael Dixon's winnings totalled £7455. It remained the record cash prize for over a decade.

An outtake from the Tarbuck version, when Jimmy was just about to introduce a contestant, the pneumatic cylinder on the chair collapsed and the contestant dropped down with it.

Another outtake, this time from the Wheeler version, concerned a hostess introducing one contestant as "Tony Gold from Haughton-le-Spring" when his nametag actually said Chris.


Classic early-'80s quiz show dialogue. Jim: "Press your buttons and gamble away!" Geoffrey: "Wide difference of opinion here, Jim!"


The show was actually invented by Geoffrey Wheeler, who originally was the voiceover and later the host.

Host, Geoffrey Wheeler (he's the one on the left) with hostess.

Theme music

The original theme was an instrumental piece of library music called Joy Ride by Jim Lawless.


The grand prize was £1,000 in the form of one thousand one-pound notes (remember them?) in a display case - much like Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'s £1,000,000-worth of thick wads of fifties (albeit fake), but not nearly as impressive. We were all hard up in those days, y'see.

The first series was shown in the Yorkshire, Tyne Tees, and Border regions only. It was shown later in 1975 in some other regions, including LWT from 22 August 1975.

Web links

Wikipedia entry


File:Winner takes all jimmy with logo.jpgJimmy's just got in
The 1970s truly were the decade that taste forgot


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