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Cluedo (British game show)

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Cluedo is a British game show based on the board game of the same name. Each week, a reenactment of the murder at the stately home Arlington Grange of a visiting guest was played and, through a combination of interrogating the suspects (of whom only the murderer could lie) and deduction, celebrity guests had to discover who committed the murder, which of six weapons (not usually the original six from the board game) and in which room it was committed, whilst viewers were invited to play along at home.

GenreGame show
Presented byJames Bellini (1990)
Chris Tarrant (1991)
Richard Madeley (1992-93)
Composer(s)Richard G. Mitchell
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes25 (inc. 1 Xmas special) (list of episodes)
Running time30 minutes (inc. adverts)
50 minutes (Xmas special)
Production company(s)Granada in association with Waddingtons Games and Action Time
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Original release25 July 1990 (1990-07-25) –
24 May 1993 (1993-05-24)
Related showsCluedo (Australian version)


Encyclopedia of Television suggests the Australian version came into development as part of a strategy by production company Crawfords to diversify into coproductions with overseas properties - in this case the British gameshow.[1] The TV show essentially followed in the footsteps of an earlier detective fiction program named Whodunnit?, where audience members had to guess the identity of the culprit after viewing prerecorded footage and interrogating suspects.[2] The Doctors Who's Who describes Whodunnit? as a celebrity quiz show "not unlike Cluedo...where the panel would see some visual clues and a piece of film and decide who killed whom and in what capacity".[3] Dalek I Loved You described Whodunnit? as "an earlier version of Cluedo".[4] David McCallum, who played Professor Plum in series 2, said "This is not the Royal Shakespeare Company but it still requires technique. It's not overacting and it's not underacting. it's just slightly over the top".[5] Series three's Colonel Mustard Lewis Collins said in an interview with This Morning: "Cluedo is the most nerve-racking thing I've ever done...",[6] despite one magazine saying he was "tailor-made" for the role.[7] Lysette Anthony, who played Miss Scarlett in series 3, said "Cluedo is fun to play because it's camp and it's the complete opposite of what I'm about".[7] Leslie Grantham, series four's Colonel Mustard, said "I'm the last person you'd expect to play [him]. That's why I was so flattered to be offered the role", and added that "Cluedo is great fun to do. It's fascinating to watch these asexual, inanimate characters brought to life".[8] Despite the notion that the Colonel's prior occupation would make him the obvious suspect for every murder, it is stressed that "everyone has equally good reasons for bumping off the victim".[8]

Other country versionsEdit

The gameshow was imported in various countries, most notably to Australia where it ran for two seasons (1992-3).[9]

The German version lasted for one season in 1993.[10] The series is set in Schloss Leonberg (Castle Leonberg), while the gameplay is based on Australia's instead of Britain's, where the audience interviews the suspects instead of celebrity teams, and are playing for a holiday if they solve the case. Later in the scenario after the murder has occurred, the Inspector (Hauptkommissar Rolf Taller) appears to investigate the murder, thereby revealing more information. Each episode is 50 minutes long.[11]

The French version ran for two seasons (1994-5)[12] The cast consisted of Bernard Menez as Doctor Green (Docteur Olive), Andréa Ferréol as Mrs Peacock (Madame Pervenche), André Pousse as Colonel Mustard (Colonel Moutarde), Marie-Pierre Casey as Mrs White (Madame Leblanc), David Brécourt as Professor Plum (Professeur Violet), and Carole Fantony as Miss Scarlett (Mademoiselle Rose). With just two episodes in each season, the titles were Dindes au Marron (Chestnut Turkeys), Le Dîner est Servi (Dinner is Served), La Chute d'une Petite Reine (The Little Queen's Fall), and La Tactique du Critique (Tactics of the Critic).[13]

The Portuguese version lasted for one season in 1995.[14]

The Swedish version lasted for one season in 1996.[15] The murders occurred at the Döinge hus (Dead House), while the storylines were written by Hans Alfredson and Rickard Bergquist. The location shots werefilmed at "Sturehov Slott", which is 19 km from Stockholm. Similar to the Australian series, Criminal Inspector Bert appears in the prerecorded footage to help provide further evidence. The audience tried to guess the correct solution and played for a trip for two to England.[16]


Each episode starts with the host introducing the 6 possible weapons that change with each episode, and the same suspects and rooms. Then a prerecorded scenario plays out which culminates in the murder of a guest at Arlington Grange. This is followed by the studio sleuths cross-examining the characters to uncover further information. When one team succeeds, a spotlight shines on the culprit as they explain how and why they committed the crime.[17]


Character Season 1 (1990) Christmas Special (1990) Season 2 (1991) Season 3 (1992) Season 4 (1993)
Mrs. Elizabeth Peacock Stephanie Beacham Kate O'Mara Rula Lenska Susan George Joanna Lumley
Col. Mike Mustard Robin Ellis David Robb Michael Jayston Lewis Collins Leslie Grantham
Rev. Jonathan Green Robin Nedwell Derek Nimmo Richard Wilson Christopher Biggins Nicholas Parsons
Prof. Peter Plum Kristoffer Tabori Ian Lavender David McCallum Tom Baker John Bird
Ms. Vivienne Scarlett Tracy Louise Ward Toyah Wilcox Koo Stark Lysette Anthony Jerry Hall
Mrs. Blanche White Dame June Whitfield Joan Sims Mollie Sugden Pam Ferris Liz Smith
Mr. White Graham Rigby
N/A (deceased)


Original seriesEdit

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 25 July 1990 29 August 1990 6
2 24 April 1991 5 June 1991 6
3 4 May 1992 8 June 1992 6
4 19 April 1993 24 May 1993 6


Date Entitle
26 December 1990 Christmas Special

Critical receptionEdit

Understanding the Global TV Format likened the show to Voce Decide, describing them both as "a hybrid, an amalgamation of a gameshow with a fictional situation and story".[18] Similarly, The A to Z of Australian Radio and Television deemed the Australian version a "hybrid gameshow/whodunnit".[19] One magazine said the show "promise[s] to keep us guessing till the very end".[20] One magazine noted the difficulties involved in giving life to a one dimensional character "when the only source material they have to work on comes out of a small cardboard box".[7] One magazine noted the "high level of talent the show can attract", putting it down to Cluedo being a game that most households (including those of celebrities) grew up with.[21] Cluedo fansite Cluedofan deemed it " an absolutely brilliant TV gameshow".[22]


In the second episode of the fourth season, Col. Mike Mustard murdered former comrade and property developer Sir Nigel Hussey (Ian McNeice) with a G-string in the kitchen. A short time after the episode aired, the producers received a letter that was written by the family of one Felix Reese, who himself was a taxi driver who was shot in the head by Leslie Grantham (the actor playing Col. Mustard) while the future star of EastEnders was a soldier stationed in Germany. The Reeses found it distasteful that someone who performed an illegal killing as a soldier would be cast as someone who performed an illegal killing as a soldier.[23]


  1. ^ "Encyclopedia of Television 4 Vol Set".
  2. ^ Tise Vahimagi; Michael Ian Grade (1996). "British television: an illustrated guide". Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ "The Doctors Who's Who - The Story Behind Every Face of the Iconic Time Lord ... - Craig Cabell - Google Books".
  4. ^ "Dalek I Loved You".
  5. ^ "Image: preview2.jpg, (357 × 751 px)". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Clue / Cluedo - The Art of Murder".
  7. ^ a b c "Image: preview3.jpg, (495 × 479 px)". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Image: uk_wotv_17493.jpg, (963 × 600 px)". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  9. ^ Paul Howls. "Cluedo (TV Series 1992–1993)". IMDb.
  10. ^ "Cluedo - Das Mörderspiel (TV Series 1993– )". IMDb.
  11. ^ "German Cluedo Das Mrderspiel TV Series Episode Guide".
  12. ^ "Cluedo (TV Series 1993– )". IMDb.
  13. ^ "French Cluedo TV Series Episode Guide".
  14. ^ "Cluedo (TV Series 1995– )". IMDb.
  15. ^ "Cluedo - en mordgåta (TV Series 1996– )". IMDb.
  16. ^ "Swedish Cluedo TV Series Episode Guide".
  17. ^ "Image: uk_wotv_491a.jpg, (177 × 612 px)". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Understanding the Global TV Format".
  19. ^ "The A to Z of Australian Radio and Television".
  20. ^ "Image: preview2thin.jpg, (177 × 684 px)". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Image: preview4.jpg, (492 × 350 px)". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Cluedo & Clue Entertainment".
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit