TV Bingo Shows - A History Of Television & Bingo

When online bingo started to become popular there was a desire from some quarters to try and tie in the online game with TV audiences. ITV looked to capitalise on the interest by hosting late night games live on the box, whilst brands like BingoJoy thought players would love to play online and watch a dedicated channel at the same time. Whilst everyone went out with great intentions, things didn't quite go according to plan. The great TV bingo revival failed to materialise. TV on bingo is nothing new. Same of you may be old enough to remember quiz shows like Bob's Full House or Shane Richie's Lucky Numbers. In these games players needed to answer questions to complete corners, lines and a full house for the chance to win prizes. Surprisingly neither show has been flagged for a revamp.

ITV's Bingo Night Live

June 2008 saw the launch of the UK's Bingo Night Live programme on ITV. It offered bingo players the chance to play free bingo via an online TV game. The shows featured Melinda Messenger, Jenny Powell, Michael Underwood and others. Russell Grant even popped up in an astrological role akin to Mystic Meg on the lottery. The show received mixed reviews but the reality was that it was very bad. Sadly, despite breaking the world record or the world's largest online bingo game and giving away 500,000 to over 15,000 winners, TV and bingo failed to hit it off. We suspect that ultimately the show failed to bring in the revenue that ITV had hoped for. Instead, online bingo sites started to focus on Live Bingo streamed via the internet and ITV are much happier dishing out prizes via competitions. Anyway here's what happened to those who tried to take on the TV!

Bingojoy

Bingojoy was a brand that used the St Minver platform alongside the likes of Chit Chat, Littlewoods, Woolworths and Ann Summers. They weren't the biggest of brands but they did stand out from the crowd because they had a TV show. With this TV show you could watch former Big Brother winner Brian Dowling call the numbers for Bingojoy! You could find the game running on Sky Channels 158, 168 and 200 during the day. It was a lowtech affair but fun. In many ways it was forerunner for what was to come but having to watch TV whilst being online just didn't work. That and Bingojoy just wasn't a big enough brand.

Gala Bingo

A big brand that could potentially pull off a TV and online set-up is Gala Bingo. Gala TV used to be on Sky Channel 861 and featured many big name celebs including Timmy Mallett who used the show to play his popular Mallett's Mallett game. In April 2011, Gala ceased using the Sky channel which resulted in the Gala TV shows being moved to an online service. Sadly, in 2016 the show was shut down leaving just a handful of other sites offering the bingo studio live experience. Thankfully Gala have started their live shows again and regularly host them onsite albeit without any celebs.

Keith Chegwin & Cheggers Bingo

The late Keith Chegwin was a pioneer when it came to online bingo. He had his own brand on the St Minver Network, Cheggers Bingo. Keith seemed to realise the potential of the internet and was soon running his own shows with quizzes, chat and lots of fun. Like Bingojoy, Keith's shows were most certainly ahead of their time. He was doing things that we now see on the likes of MeccaTV, Gala and many others. We think if Keith had lived longer then he would have been perfect for Bingo All Stars and would have gotten involved with the set-up to try and make it a success.

Big Box Bingo

Bingos was one of the big names in online bingo in the early years. At one point in their evolution they were even endorsed by Kerry Katona. Like Bingojoy they looked to the TV to run a game that played concurrently on the website. The Big Box Bingo game from Bingos allowed you to play six games of bingo each and every Friday evening at 6:30pm on Sky 848! Cards cost 1.50 and you could either print them out online or have them sent to you. This aniquated approach just didn't cut the mustard online and therefore the game didn't last long. Bingos eventually changed platform and moved to the Best Bingo Network before rapidly declining and ending up closing down.

TV Bingo & Live Bingo Timeline

  • 1984 - Bob's Full House Launches on The BBC.
  • 1990 - Bob's Full House ends.
  • 1995 - Lucky Numbers with Shane Ritchie airs on ITV.
  • 1997 - Lucky Numbers ends.
  • 2006 - Gala TV launches replacing the Avago Channel.
  • 2007 - Launch of Big Box Bingo.
  • 2007 - Bingojoy launch a TV Channel featuring Brian Dowling
  • 2008 - ITV's Bingo Night Live runs from June to November.
  • 2009 - Big Box Bingo shuts down.
  • 2011 - Gala.TV closes and moves to an online streaming service.
  • 2014 - Sun Bingo launch Having A Ball, an online bingo TV show.
  • 2016 - Gala Bingo close their Gala Live channel
  • 2017 - Having A Ball ends at Sun Bingo
  • 2020 - Evolution Launch Mega Ball Live

Live Game Shows

Since we last updated this article way back in 2016 there's been mixed reviews when it comes to the live bingo product. Live events such as MeccaTV are now quite popular as are Facebook Lives such as Double Bubble's L'il Bubble, but sadly Sun Bingo's Having A Ball has closed. Bingo All Stars, a Dragonfish brand, launched at the start of 2020 and promised bingo with the celebs like Rustie Lee and Biggins (former Having A Ball favourites). Whilst this idea seemed great on paper it never took off although perhaps the pandemic had some element of effect. On the other hand live casino gameshows such as Mega Ball, Live Monopoly, Live Deal Or No Deal etc have become incredibly popular.

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