ATV had been offered the chance to licence a successful West German game show, Der goldene Schuß in which a contestant guides a blindfolded marksman around a wall sized target with the commands 'left', 'right' 'up a bit' etc and then told to 'fire' at a specific target. The bullet is in fact a bolt launched from an amended crossbow with a camera attached. Contestants would first phone into the show from home and guide the marksman to fire and if they got a high enough score, they would be invited to appear on the show the following week to use the crossbow themselves and the winner would then have the marksman target a treasure chest for the top prize of three hundred guineas. ATV showed a teaser episode of the show on 1st July 1967 with the first proper edition on 8th July.
Canadian singer Jackie Rae was the first host, but despite his professionalism it was felt he didn't have much of a rapport with the contestants and the audience. A guest on the first series, Bob Monkhouse was then chosen to replace him. His charm and familiarity distracted naturally nervous contestants. They were about to shoot a crossbow bolt at an exploding target in front of sixteen million people on live television after all.
After a wrongful allegation of bribery Monkhouse left the show leading to two of the most woeful hosts even to grace TV. Monkhouse's final show was a master class in slyly getting your own back. It might have looked like sour grapes, but the audience knew what was happening and was on his side throughout. Although his successors Norman Vaughan and then Charlie Williams were, like Jackie Rae, professionals, they lacked Monkhouse's knack of dealing not only with nervous contestants, but a game show with a history of potential physical danger. Although no one actually got hurt a part of the show's attraction was the potential for it to go wrong. Once again, it was people shooting crossbows at an exploding target on live television.
The show also made stars of two of the host's assistants. 'Bernie' (actually played by several people) was the blindfolded cameraman who would load the bolt at the hosts' request 'Bernie, the bolt!' and then would be instructed by the contestant to move the crossbow into position before firing. When the target was hit (and exploded) assistant Anne Aston would then (after the dust had settled) attempt to calculate the numbers on the hit targets. While no Rachel Riley her attempt at adding and subtracting added another layer of tension to the show. Carol Dilworth and Anne Lloyd were among the other 'Golden Girls' who over the life of the show would introduce the contestants.
Thankfully ATV eventually saw sense and Bob Monkhouse returned in 1974, knowing that this would be the final series as he had made it a condition of his return he would be hosting the UK version of Hollywood Squares, and sure enough Celebrity Squares replaced The Golden Shot on the schedules in 1975.
In between the bangs and gags there were musical guests. ATV thankfully wasn't short of money, so sometimes more than one would appear on each show. Paul and Barry Ryan, John Walker, Tom Jones and The Peddlers were among the first guests.
In 1973 Bell Records released Apple Splitter, the then theme for the show written by Tony Macauley, while on Bob Monkhouse's return a new theme 'Lucky Day' was used, written by Lynsey DePaul and Barry Blue.
To apply for the Golden Shot, write to:ATV, The Golden Shot, 150 Edmund Street, Birmingham , enclosing name, address, telephone number and a photograph. Candidates must be over 15 years of age. Photographs cannot be returned.