About Wheel Of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune sees contestants compete to solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes. The title refers to the show's giant carnival wheel that contestants spin throughout the course of the game to determine their cash and/or prizes.
Unlike the American version, where the numbers on the wheel correspond to the amount of money won by each contestant, the British version instead referred to these amounts as 'points' - they had no cash value, their only purpose was to determine the grand finalist, or to choose a winner for a particular round. Points earned from all players carried on to proceeding rounds, and were susceptible to Bankrupts, meaning a winner could be crowned that never solved a puzzle, but acquired a large amount of points. This rule would actually encourage sacrificing a player's turn if he or she didn't know the puzzle rather than risking his or her points by spinning again, especially if he or she had a large amount of points.
In the grand finale, the contestant could pick from envelopes to choose which prize they would win, but there were only three ("A", "B", or "C"), later reduced to two ("A" or "B"). The contestant then had 15 seconds to solve the puzzle to win the prize.
Successful spinners from each round were rewarded with a choice of three prizes which might contain household appliances, a holiday, etc. From 1988 - 1993, the prizes for the final were a trip, £3,000, or a new car.
Just after the prizes limit were dropped, the prizes became the car and £20,000.
During the daytime series, winners of each round were able to chosen from an array prizes laid out in the studio, such as a CD player, dishwasher etc. The cash prize for the final was dropped to £2,000. As with most international versions of Wheel, rather than being given "R, S, T, L, N, and E," the contestant picked five consonants and a vowel.
The top point space on the wheel was 1000 points, with one such space in Round 1. One more space was added in Round 2, along with a second Bankrupt, and a third 1,000-point space was added in Round 3. Also, values were doubled beginning from Round 3 onwards, making the top point spaces worth 2,000 points.
The series was originally hosted by Nicky Campbell, who left the show after the 1996 series and was replaced by Bradley Walsh. Walsh only lasted one series and was succeeded in 1998 by John Leslie, who stayed with the show through the 2000 series before being replaced by Paul Hendy for the final year.
Co-hosts (or "Board ladies" as they were frequently referred to on the show) were Angela Ekaette, Carol Smillie, Jenny Powell and Terri Seymour. The programme was announced by Steve Hamilton.