Bob's Full House



Bob Monkhouse


Bobby Bragg


BBC1, 1 September 1984 to 27 January 1990 (109 episodes in 6 series + 8 specials)


Hey everybody, let's go down Bob's Bingo Hall and play some bingo for some fabulous prizes!

OK, so it's old but it has quite a legacy. Thanks to Mr Monkhouse, we've had four versions of this with different hosts and different sets. (Version 2.0 was One to Win with Andrew O'Connor, version 2.1 was Lucky Numbers with Shane Richie, and version 2.2 was The Biggest Game in Town with Steve Le Fevre). However, Bob's Full House was the original and by far the best.

So four people, seated behind desks in a two-tiered seating arrangement (a la Blankety Blank) attempted to get a full house by answering questions. But there was a catch, if they answered a question and got it wrong then they'd be 'Wallied' and wouldn't be able to answer the next one.

Round one was Four Corners, a fairly straightforward opener where it was basically the first person to answer four questions correctly won the round and - yes! - got a choice of 3 prizes.

Round two was the Monkhouse Mastercard and the players would try and light up the middle row. Here, a board in the studio would revolve to reveal an electronic display. On that display would be a list of numbers (0-9, 10-19 etc.) and next to each one would be a different category. The contestants played individually in this round and could win a prize if they found their 'Lucky Number' and answered the corresponding question correctly - but only on their own turn, not if they buzzed in on another contestant's incorrect answer. These prizes were frequently presented as the 'joke' variety, but would in fact be something decent (shades of The Generation Game there) - one example was 'a pair of bloomers', which turned out to be flowers given to the contestant's mother every week for a year. Questions were, as Bob put it, "Open to the others" if answered incorrectly and if another contestant buzzed in at this point and gave the correct answer, he/she could select a bonus number to light up. However, if a contestant buzzed and answered incorrectly when his/her own turn was next, he/she would be 'wallied' and thus lose the turn, but if it was not his/her turn next, he/she would simply be unable to buzz in if the next contestant failed to answer correctly. In fact, rather bizarrely, contestants who lost their turn in this manner would also be frozen out from buzzing in if the next contestant answered incorrectly. Frankly, this seemed rather over the top - surely just losing the turn was penalty enough? The first contestant to light up his/her middle line would, as before, get a choice of another 3 prizes - slightly better ones than in the Four Corners round.

Round three was going for the Full House to decide who was going to play for that fabulous holiday we neglected to mention at the top this description. This again was on the buzzers and played in fast and furious fashion - with the 'wallying' rule very much in force. The first player to light up every square on their card won the game and would get a choice of yet another 3 prizes - again, better ones than in the previous 2 rounds - and of course get to play for the holiday. Moreso in earlier series, many of the questions in the Full House round were multiple choice, but, in most cases, they were designed to catch the unwary contestant in the high speed haze and often the required response was "neither!" Losing contestants would go away with any prizes they had previously won - or if they had not won any, they would get a Bob's Full House hamper.

The winner went through to the Gold Card with a chance of winning a nice holiday. The board had 18 squares on it but some would be starred out. Each square had a pseudo-random number between 1 and 90. Bob had 15 questions and one minute on the clock. When the player got a question right, they'd pick a number on the board. If nothing was behind it, they'd win that number in pounds. If they answered incorrectly or passed, Bob would simply give the correct answer and move onto the next question.

Bob Monkhouse quizzes a contestant in the end game.

Behind some of them was a letter. These letters, when read out in usual reading order, revealed a holiday destination, usually around 7 letters long, and if the contestant could uncover all the letters, then they'd win the fabulous holiday. Lucky they never tried sending them to Llanfair PG really. If they didn't, they'd get the money they'd amassed and a consolation prize relating to the holiday destination concerned, in addition to the prizes they'd already won.

The Golden Card game. Looks like the prize is a holiday to Kowloon.

A very enjoyable and entertaining show, just right for its Saturday-night slot, thanks mainly to Bob's excellent hosting and the fact that it was very easy and fun to play along with.

Key moments

Bob's flagrant cheating when the contestant was rapidly running out of time.

Bob opened each show with about 10 minutes of jokes (often about his wife - how did she put up with it?!) and topical gags. Later series also featured jokes about his unmarried sister, Beryl and his dim cousin, Wilfred (both of whom were, presumably, fictional?)

Bob used to get the audience to shout out the requisite bingo responses to the numbers - such as:

  • "Two little ducks" - "Quack, quack!"
  • "Doctor's Orders, Number Nine" - "Cough, cough!"
  • "All the threes" - "Wogan's knees!"
  • "All the fours" - "Droopy Drawers!"
  • "Five and Nine, the Brighton Line" - "Choo choo!"
  • "P.C. 49" - "Evenin' all!"

In the very first episode during the Full House round, a question was asked "What was the name of the dog in Peter Pan?". A contestant named Tim buzzed in and said "Wendy".

Perhaps giving an indication of the immediate success of the show, the 1984 Boxing Day edition was for charity and was very cleverly done. The four contestants all represented either care or rescue charities/professions - a nurse, a fireman, a lifeboat man and a St John Ambulance nurse. All correct answers won the contestants money for their respective charities, although they themselves took home the prizes, and, pleasingly, they all won at least one prize. All four won their 'lucky number' prizes, the fireman won the Four Corners round, the lifeboat man the Middle Line round and the St John Ambulance nurse both the Full House and the holiday - and she very generously donated the money she had won in the final round to said charity. Very satisfying for all concerned.


(At the start of the show): "Ladies and gentlemen - the master of the house - Bob Monkhouse!"

"Let's meet my Full House guests!"

"You've been wallied", or, "You're wallied, you can't answer this!" Also, on occasion during the 'Middle Line' round, "You're wallied, but that only means that you cannot interrupt should (whoever) get his/her question wrong - which I'm sure he/she won't".

"Join us this week and every week on 'Bob's Full House' - the doors are always open for you!"

Segue into the Monkhouse Mastercard round: "In Bingo lingo clickety-clicks, it's time to take your pick of the six" (surely one of the best-ever catchphrases in gameshow history?)

"Mix the Six!"

(At the start of the Mastercard round): "(Whoever) - you're seated first in order of luck - pick a number from your middle line..."

"It's open to the others".

"...Thirteen - unlucky for some - we hope it's lucky for you..."

(Before the Full House round): "Let's have a look at the state of play - (whoever), you NEEEEED 8 for a full house, (whoever), you NEEEEED 7...(etc etc)"

"Will you please join me at your Golden Bingo Card?"

"Flash the figures - make them big ones!"

(When a contestant failed to win the holiday): "...Well, although we can't send you to New York (or wherever), we can bring New York to you..." This would be Bob's cue to offer the contestant a relevant consolation prize (in this case, on the lines of a hamburger and a big apple).

Not a catchphrase per se, but Monkhouse used to come out with imaginative phrases for the prizes on offer, such as "...The first contestant to light all four corners will get a choice of this plethora of plunder" and "...The first contestant to achieve a full house will get their pick of this bounty of booty".

(The announcer, revealing the prizes to be won): "And for the four corners, Bob...!" then the same again for the middle line and the full house.


Game devised by Terry Mardell and David Moore. In addition, the late John Junkin was one of Bob's writers on the show.

Theme music

Composed by John Mealing, brass band effects by Viv Fisher. An excellent theme tune.

Opening titles


Bob used to write 'Joke' on some of his question cards and made up one-liners on the spot.

Bob was credited at the end for writing some of the questions.

In the early 90s the format was remade in the US as 'Trump Card'.

The bingo numbers only went up as far as 60, which was therefore 'top of the shop', so Bob never got to say, "Clickety-clicks, sixty-six" (apart from during his "In Bingo lingo, clickety-clicks" catchphrase), nor that rather controversial phrase traditionally attributed to 88.

Rather bizarrely, the contestants crossed off their numbers on a manual bingo card as the game progressed - one would have thought that the electronic card on the front of the desks would have been reproduced on screens for the contestants to look at.


Image:Boardgame bobs full house.jpgThere was a Bob's Full House board game.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

Opening titles from the BBC Motion Graphics Archive

See also

One to Win

Lucky Numbers

The Biggest Game in Town

Weaver's Week review of a 1984 episode.


The doors open for the very first time. (Includes the infamous name of the dog in Peter Pan question)


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