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Call My Bluff

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2023 11:07 am
by Philip A
Before Countdown and Channel 4 existed, there was a funny old word game on Monday evenings which served as an alternative to the often compelling 9 O’Clock News on the other side.

When BBC Two launched as the UK’s second television channel in 1964, they wanted a unique and identifiably different panel game to lighten and brighten its schedule. Frank Muir, the then BBC’s head of comedy, discovered an American format in Call My Bluff; a game where two teams of three celebrities, including a regular team captain, scavenged to find what utterly obscure words meant (or might mean). While it flopped stateside, it was a success in Britain, running from 1965 to 1988 and giving the illustrious Oxford English Dictionary some positive publicity. Though long sice past its sell-by date, it was revived in the mid-1990’s and occupied the lunchtime slot for just under a decade.

Be warned: trying most of these weird words in Countdown or Scrabble may lead to setbacks! The OED is not the Countdown dictionary!