The late and great Sir Terry Wogan was the pioneering host of Blankety Blank from its conception in 1979. For four years Wogan presented the show, and is remembered for his rather unusual stick-like microphone and his funny failure to keep the guests in check. On one memorable occasion, Kenny Everett bent the mic in half. From this moment on, every time Everett appeared on the show there’d be an attempt to destroy what became known as Wogan’s Wand.
When Dawson took over from Wogan in 1984, he triumphantly snapped Wogan’s Wand in two, and said he felt “about as comfortable as a lame turkey sat on a pile of paxo listening to Christmas carols”. Blankety Blank was infamous for its awful prizes, and Dawson once quipped: “You are not going away empty handed, you have a map of Penrith!” – he was known for his sarcasm and his deadpan wit.
From 1998 til the show’s end in 2002, Paul O’Grady hosted Blankety Blank as his drag alter-ego Lily Savage. Bringing pure sass to the studio, Savage was notorious for her hilarious cruelty to her guests – whose names she would often “forget” – and her haphazard approach to presenting.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news