TV Fact #380 – November 7th, 2015:

The British television and radio talent show “Opportunity Knocks” (1956-1978, 1987-1990) started out as a radio show in 1949 through the first half of the 1950’s, later becoming a television-broadcast talent show. When it was revived in the late-1980’s, hosted initially by Bob Monkhouse from 1987 to 1989 and then by Les Dawson in 1990, by BBC it was notable for being the first TV show to decide its winner using the now-standard method of a telephone vote.

Before that, during its initial run, the programme used paper votes. The programme was recorded the Friday before transmission, so votes had to be in by Thursday. Also, according to host Hughie Green, largely to ensure fairness, the votes had to be in “your own handwriting”. While the live studio audience reaction to each act was measured by a clap-o-meter, this did not count towards the final result. The change to telephone voting for the BBC revival was in order to get a more immediate result (although an updated electronic “clap-o-meter-style” on-screen indicator, using stars, was used during the show).

That telephone voting is now common among British TV. The elements are even present in the popular British television talent show “Britain’s Got Talent” (2007-Present), which was “created” by record company executive Simon Cowell. However, the method of deciding a winner by telephone is used on that show and many other similar programs around the world now. While some may consider “Britain’s Got Talent” an evolution of the original “Opportunity Knocks”, you should never forget where credit is due. Who had to take that first step? Well…now you know.

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Published in: on November 8, 2015 at 11:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

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