Punchlines was a comedy panel game show that aired on ITV from 3 January 1981 to 22 December 1984 and was hosted by Lennie Bennett.[1] The show itself was based on a failed 1979 American game show pilot of the same name hosted by Bill Cullen, which in turn, was an attempted reboot of another American game show from 1966-69 called Eye Guess.

GenreComedy panel game
Presented byLennie Bennett
Voices ofRobin Houston (1983-4)
Theme music composerLaurie Holloway
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series5
No. of episodes79 (inc. 1 special)
Running time30 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production companyLWT
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Original release3 January 1981 (1981-01-03) –
22 December 1984 (1984-12-22)


Main GameEdit

Each week, teams of a celebrity guest and a member of the public had to match the punchlines which were given by 8 other guests who were seated in Celebrity Squares style boxes to the questions that were asked by the host, and the first team to reach 150 points won the chance to win a major prize, while the losing contestant left with a Lennie Bennett doll in the first two series, then from series three onwards, they left with a case of champagne and some glasses.

At the beginning of each show, they would all look into the camera one at a time and introduce themselves. From the third series onwards, the Punchliners consisted of a mixture of the original Punchliners and more well known celebrities. The original Punchliners included Rose-Marie, Fogwell Flax, Bryan Joan Elliott, Aiden J. Harvey, Judy Gridley, Patti Gold and, making his first regular TV appearance, Matthew Kelly.

Bonus RoundEdit

In the final, round the winning contestant had to match seven of the eight punchlines correctly to win the star prize but if they failed to do so, they went away with the prize that corresponded to how many correct punchlines they had matched.

Australian versionEdit

A pilot for an Australian adaptation of the show, hosted by Jeremy Kewley was made for the Seven Network in 1986. However, it never made it to air since then.



Series Start date End date Episodes
1 3 January 1981 28 March 1981 13
2 5 September 1981 19 December 1981 16
3 24 December 1982 9 April 1983 16
4 10 September 1983 31 December 1983 17
5 1 September 1984 22 December 1984 17


Date Entitle
9 May 1981 FA Cup Special


  1. ^ "Lennie Bennett: Stand-up comedian who hosted the 'Punchlines' game". The Independent. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2022.

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