Bingo: the Secret Star of our Favourite TV Shows
29 August 2012
Now more than 450 years old, bingo is one of the oldest games on the planet, reinventing itself time and again for generations. From church hall favourite, and one of the biggest crazes of the 1940s, to becoming an online sensation at sites like Jackpotjoy, the game’s simplicity and versatility - not to mention the fact that it’s a lot of fun! – has helped bingo go the distance. Now you can play bingo whenever you want, online, and even on your TV set and if you use one of the promotion you can play bingo for free.
Shows like National Bingo Night and Bingo America emerged in 2007, allowing bingo-lovers to play along at home via their TVs for the first time. But this isn’t the first time bingo has appeared in our living rooms. As testament to the game’s popularity, it’s been popping up in TV shows since the beginning of television itself.
While sites like Jackpotjoy have opened the game up to a whole new audience, it’s a game that used to be heavily associated with the working classes and OAPs. Although no TV show has yet featured the modern online take on bingo, with players crossing their fingers at home as they play at sites like Jackpotjoy, TV producers have used the bingo hall time and again, both to lampoon the game, and to celebrate it. So let’s take a look at the top TV hits that have featured our favourite game over the years.
Terry and June (1982)
This much-loved British sitcom ran from 1979 to 1987. Starring Terry Scott and June Whitfield as a middle-class suburban couple, whose grown-up children have just left home, it’s just one of the TV hits we’ve featured that dedicated a whole episode to the game. Roped into what they think will be a friendly little church hall bingo contest, Terry and June are soon wrapped up in the tension, intrigue, and drive to win, with the vicar asking them to spy on one elderly punter he believes is cheating and fleecing the church of cash!
One of the biggest hits in US TV history, Roseanne followed the lives of the regular working-class Connor family. Created, written by, and starring comedian Roseanne Barr, the show was a riotous hit that wasn’t afraid to tackle serious issues and, centring around a working mom’s struggles, especially feminist issues. The show dedicated a whole episode to the bingo hall in 1992, lampooning the seriousness of some players, addressing the problems of gambling addiction, while celebrating the game’s ability to bring women together. One of the benefits of playing the game at online sites like Jackpotjoy is that you can avoid the uptight attitude and constant shushing of the serious players that Roseanne takes the mickey out of in this episode - anyone who’s ever been to a real bingo hall will know exactly what we’re talking about!
Married with Children (1995)
This smash-hit 90’s US sitcom ran for a full decade, and followed the trials and tribulations of miserable Al Bundy and his dysfunctional family. Bingo is his flame-haired wife Peggy’s favourite game, and in the 1995 episode And Bingo Was Her Game-O, she’s whisked off to the Bingo Invitational Final for the chance to win $10,000 – a prize that even bingo-hating Al can’t sniff at. Not quite the size of the prizes you can play for at Jackpotjoy today, Peggy wins the lot, but comes home with nothing after an eventful, and costly(!), taxi ride home.
Eyes Down (2003)
Before sites like Jackpotjoy made it possible to play bingo from home whenever we want, the bingo hall was the place to play, and the bingo hall forms the heart of this BBC show from 2003. Starring Paul O’Grady, better known as Lily Savage, it centred around Ray, the sharp-tongued, misanthropic bingo caller, and the lives, loves, hopes and disappointments of the staff and punters at The Rio bingo palace in Liverpool. Although the bingo hall has made an appearance in many a British sitcom, this is the only show in British telly history to actually be set in one.
Author: Virginia Hardy -
Virginia Hardy works as a freelance journalist. Her writing has covers a broad range of topics but she takes a particular interest in online gaming. She recommends Jackpotjoy as a great place to play bingo for free.
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