TV Times 19th May 1990

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Brace Yourself!

Comedy kings Cannon and Ball are laughing all the way to the ‘Casino’ – in their new role as game show hosts. ANDREA KON turned the tables to see how the prize guys are shaping up.

ROCK ON TOMMY! Dynamic comedy duo Cannon and Ball’s career is once more roaring in a new direction … as game show quizmasters.

Life’s become really exciting for the lads from Oidham – their home football club has had a brilliant season and now there’s the new show.

‘We’re thrilled at getting the show and even more delighted that it’s got an entirely different format from any other quiz show,’ Bobby says, ‘There are three sets of contestants and three rounds, For the first time they have to choose the prize they want to win before the first question is fired.’ Well seasoned laughter-makers the Lancashire lads may be, but quizzes are an entirely different ball game, so to speak. So we decided to help them along by putting them on their own ‘hot spot’, playing to their rules. Prizes first, of course, boys.

Bobby chose the holiday. ‘Two weeks in a caravan – at Bridlington.’ Tommy went for a different set of wheels, ‘I want the car because it’s a Lada. Then I can visit Bobby in Bridlington. I’m a hiker so if the car won’t make it alone, I can always strap it to my back!’

Who’s a clever boy then?

Here we put the duo to the test as we ask them eight questions in the categories that will be faced by Casino contestants. Answers opposite.

1 Sport:
Q: What’s a one under par shot in golf called?
A: Bobby: A Birdie or a jolly good golfer.

2 Art:
Q: Who painted the Sistine Chapel?
A: Bobby: The plumber – you did say the Cistern Chapel.

3 Royalty:
Q: Where’s the Queen’s London home?
A: Tommy: 10 Downing Street. Well, Maggie thinks she’s the Queen!

4 Geography:
Q: How far is it from Oldham to Wembley?
A: Tommy: A long way. It’s taken Oldham Athletic more than 90 years to get there.

5 History:
Q: Who discovered America ?
A: Bobby: Thomas Cook holidays.

6 TV and Radio:
Q: Who-had the reputation for being the meanest man on TV?
A: Bobby: Tommy Cannon, because he hasn’t bought me a drink in 25 years.

7 Transport:
Q: What does ‘M’ stand for on roads?
At Tommy: Mad drivers.

8 Inventions:
Q: Who invented braces?
At Tommy: Bobby Ball in 1969 at Eckmondwyke Working Men’s Club. The trouble is they were on his teeth at the time.

Not too brilliant! But we still gave them a chance to open the Casino safe with a few more questions to find the combination.


1 How many wives did Henry VIII have?
Their answer: Eight.

2 How many continents are there?
Their answer: Four.

3 How many calling birds are there in the Christmas carol
Their answer: Nine.

4 How many beans make five?
Their answer: Five.

Tips from the question masters

It may look easy, but being a game show host can have its problems. Here, three quiz show hosts offer Cannon and Ball just a few light-hearted professional tips.


Fun-loving Danny, the host on Win, Lose or Draw, says:
– DON’T boast about being game show hosts. It’s like being a Deutschmark after the First World War.
– AVOID letting the public on the show. There are training camps to teach contestants how to make hosts nervous wrecks.


The host of The Pyramid Game advises Cannon and Ball:
– REMEMBER that while they are professional stars, the contestants are stars for the night.
– DEVELOP a photographic memory for contestants’ faces. It’s embarrassing when you can’t remember a contestant, when they clearly know you.


Brucie, that doyen of quizmasters, who gave the pair their big break in 1978 when he booked them for a regular comedy spot on Bruce For-syth’s Big Night, says:
– Don’t let the contestants get too many laughs and most important of all, don’t allow them to turn you into two straight men.


Round One
1. A Birdie
2. Michelangelo
3. Buckingham Palace
4. 204 miles, according to the AA
5. Christopher Columbus
6. Jack Benny
7. Motorway
8. Exact date unknown – but braces were first worn as a status symbol in 1787

Safe Solutions:
1. Six
2. Seven
3. Four
4. Five

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