'Blankety Blank' on BBC1 — release date, host, and everything we know about the return of the classic game show

Bradley Walsh hosts Blankety Blank
Bradley Walsh is back with a new series of 'Blankety Blank'. (Image credit: BBC)

When classic game show Blankety Blank returned for a one-off festive special last year, it became the third most watched programme on Christmas Day. Now, Bradley Walsh is back at the helm for a new nine-part run on BBC1.

‘I love nostalgic telly and Blankety Blank is one of those iconic formats that everyone remembers, so I’m grateful to be back for a brand-new series,’ says Bradley, 61. 

Once again, each episode will see a panel of six celebrities trying to help contestants win prizes by filling in the missing blanks of some daft and often saucy statements.

As the revived game show returns for a new series, here's everything we know about the new series, plus we chat to Bradley about being the show's newest host…

'Blankety Blank' release date

The nine-part series begins on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 9pm on BBC1. 

Look out for a Christmas special later in the year as well!

'Blankety Blank' - a little bit of history!

The show is based on the American game show Match Game, with contestants trying to match answers given by celebrity panelists to fill-in-the-blank questions.

Blankety Blank first aired on BBC1 and was hosted by broadcasting legend Sir Terry Wogan, who hosted the game show from 1979 to 1983. In his tenure, he had a long and very thin microphone which he used to speak to the celebrities on the panel. It was once destroyed by DJ and comedy star Kenny Everett!

From 1984 to 1990, the show was hosted by comedian Les Dawson, who was known for being disparaging about the prizes on offer, and also the legendary consolation prize - the Blankety Blank Chequebook and Pen. He would say things like, "I bet you wish you'd stopped at home and watched Crossroads. Do you want me to lend you your bus fare home?"

And also: "Never mind love, you might have lost, but you'll never be short of something to prop your door open with now..."

The show was revived in 1997 when it was hosted by Paul O’Grady as his drag act persona Lily Savage. Paul’s acid-tongued alter-ego hosted the show on BBC1 until 1999 and on ITV from 2001 to 2002. 

There have been a few special episodes of Blankety Blank since then with Paul hosting the show as himself for a Comic Relief special in 2011.

Vernon Kay hosted a one-off edition for ITV’s Gameshow Marathon in 2007 and David Walliams hosted a Christmas special in 2016.

Contestants Ann and Jon in Blankety Blank.

Contestants try to fill in the blanks in 'Blankety Blank'. (Image credit: BBC)

'Blankety Blank' – a bit about the game!

Contestants fill in the blank word in a statement and earn a point each time a celebrity’s answer matches theirs. There are two rounds with the two best performing contestants going head-to-head to win a prize in the Supermatch Game. 

Who presents the new series of 'Blankety Blank'?

Comedian, actor and presenter Bradley Walsh returns as host of the show after hosting the Christmas special in 2020. 

Before becoming a stand-up comedian, Bradley was a professional footballer.

He's now known as more of an actor and presenter.

As an actor, he's appeared in Coronation Street, Law & Order: UK and Doctor Who. He's also starring in The Larkins, ITV's upcoming remake of The Darling Buds Of May.

As a presenter, he's hosted ITV game shows The Chase and Beat the Chasers and appeared alongside his son Barney in the ITV series Breaking Dad

Bradley Walsh hosts Blankety Blank

Bradley Walsh is the new host of 'Blankety Blank'. (Image credit: BBC)

Who are the guest stars on 'Blankety Blank'?

Adjoa Andoh in Blankety Blank

Adjoa Andoh is among the celebrity panellists. (Image credit: BBC)

Actress Adjoa Andoh, who’s probably best known for play Martha Jones mum, Francine, in Doctor Who (2007-2008), and Collette Griffiths in Casualty (2000-2003). She’s also appeared in EastEnders and Bridgerton

Martine McCutcheon in Blankety Blank

Martine McCutcheon tries to fill in the blanks in 'Blankety Blank'. (Image credit: BBC)

Actress and singer Martine McCutcheon, who’s best known for playing Tiffany Mitchell in EastEnders (1994-1998). After leaving the soap, she embarked on a pop career and her first single Perfect Moment reached No. 1 in the charts. In 2003, she starred in the hit romantic comedy Love, Actually, playing tea lady Natalie to Hugh Grant’s British PM David. 

Johnny Vegas in Blankety Blank

Johnny Vegas is on the celebrity panel in the first episode of the new series. (Image credit: BBC)

Comedian and actor Johnny Vegas, who’s biggest TV role to date was as Geoff Maltby, aka ‘The Oracle, in ITV’s Spanish holiday sitcom Benidorm. More recently he’s starred in a series of comedy whodunnits beginning with Murder on the Blackpool Express in 2017.

Jimmy Carr in Blankety Blank

Jimmy Carr makes a return appearance after being in the Christmas special. (Image credit: BBC)

Comedian Jimmy Carr, who’s a regular on TV game shows and is the host of C4’s comedy panel game 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Chizzy Akudolu in Blankety Blank

Former 'Holby City' star Chizzy is among the first set of celebs in 'Blankety Blank'. (Image credit: BBC)

Actress Chizzy Akudolu is best known for playing heart surgeon Mo Effanga in Holby City (2012- 2017) and has appeared as a panellist on ITV’s lunchtime discussion show Loose Women. In 2017, she took part in Strictly Come Dancing, but was eliminated in the first week. 

Joe Swash in Blankety Blank

Joe Swash appears in the first episode of 'Blankety Blank'.  (Image credit: BBC)

Actor and presenter Joe Swash rose to fame as Mickey Miller in EastEnders from 2003 to 2008. In the same year he left the soap, he won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! He went on to present the reality show’s spin-off series I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp (originally called I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, NOW!) from 2009 to 2018. He also won Dancing on Ice in 2020 and was a finalist in the most recent series of Celebrity MasterChef!

Later, in the series the other guests will include comedian Joel Dommett, Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett, plus singer and presenter Peter Andre, McFly and The Voice Kids star Danny Jones and comedian and presenter Sue Perkins.

Q&A with 'Blankety Blank' host Bradley Walsh

Here, Bradley Walsh tells us about hosting the show, why it’s always such a hit and following in the footsteps of his comedy heroes…

How does it feel to be bringing back 'Blankety Blank'?

It’s a joy to be back. I love nostalgic telly and Blankety Blank is one of those iconic formats that everyone remembers, so I’m grateful to be back for a brand-new series. Filming the Christmas special last year was a lot of fun and it felt great to bring viewers a little bit of laughter during a particularly tough year. It’s the funniest show I’ve ever worked on. 

Why do you think the Christmas special was such a hit with viewers?

I think it was successful because the show is so legendary and can be enjoyed by the whole family. We’ve had great feedback from viewers who enjoyed the nostalgia of the show with the return of the theme tune, cheque book and pen and ridiculous questions! 

Were you able to have a live studio audience?

The highlight of filming was being back in front of a live studio audience which is something we really missed when we filmed the Christmas special. Audiences always create such a fantastic atmosphere and it’s never quite the same without one. I love being busy and I love my job so being in the studio is such a thrill. 

Was filming the series different to filming the Christmas special?

When we filmed the Christmas show, I wasn’t allowed near the celebrities because of the Coronavirus restrictions, so that was a bit tricky because I could only go up the stairs on either side of the panel. But for this series I was allowed to go behind them top. What’s brilliant about that is that I could see what they were writing as their answers. Some of them are unprintable and you couldn’t put them on the telly, but they did decide to change them. You will probably see me walk behind them and start laughing, saying ‘Why have you put that?’ It’s just brilliant and really funny. 

Did you find it difficult not to collapse into hysterics?

Despite my age, I’ve got a very juvenile sense of humour and anyone who employs me now knows that’s going to happen anyway so they just keep the cameras rolling and let me do my thing. I’ve got to say that Blankety Blank is the funniest show I have ever worked on. 

Did anyone get out of hand?

If I was to give you a list of celebrities, there would be one name that would stick out and you would be able to guess who it was. I’m not saying who it was but they were very unruly and very, very funny. It got to the point where it was almost unmanageable. I spent most of the show looking down the camera saying, ‘What can I do?’ It was hysterical. 

How does it feel to follow in the footsteps of your comedy heroes who previously hosted the show? 

It’s an honour to follow in the footsteps of Sir Terry Wogan,  Les Dawson and Paul O'Grady. I worked as a warm-up man on the show when Les hosted the show, so to come back as the host is a real full circle moment for me.