After six years in the wilderness, Jeux Sans Frontières returned to
television screens in mainland Europe, with teams from Belgium, France, Italy,
Portugal and Spain participating. As a cost saving exercise, two heats
featuring the same teams would be made back-to-back in one location and then
spread out through the series.
programme’s return saw the loss of veteran referee Gennaro Olivieri due to
ill-health after eighteen years service. However, fellow veteran referee Guido
Pancaldi and British referee Mike Swann returned for the revival series and
both stayed with the programme for two years.
scoring system saw major changes in this revival series. The number of games
dramatically increased to twelve (and fourteen in the International Final) and
there were no Jokers or Fil Rouge for the first time since 1966.
As well as this, four ‘trial’ innovations were introduced this
the game a team was scheduled to miss (Games 2-6), they could elect to ‘match’
with any of the other four teams. This meant that whatever score their
‘matched’ team scored, they also scored. This ‘election’ system was also used
in the 1989 and 1994 series.
Game 8, the ‘Jeu du Surpris’ (surprise game) was totally unrehearsed and was
not revealed to the competing countries until the night of the actual
Game 10, the ‘Jeu d’amitié’ (friendship game) saw four team members from each
of the other competing teams assist a member of the ‘fifth’ team to get the
best possible time on a game. At the end of the game, a sealed envelope
containing the ident letter of one of the competing countries was chosen by
him. This was repeated five times with a different ‘fifth’ team member, and at
the end of the five heats the envelopes were opened to reveal which country
received which time and therefore the points scored on that game.
final game was the same in each heat - irrespective of venue - and this year
it was called ‘Calculating to 1000’.
Finally, former (and soon to return) Italian presenter Ettore Andenna
presented the winners' trophies at every heat. Whilst a Member of the European
Parliament, Ettore had actively contributed to the drafting of the
Television Without Frontiers paper... a name which was no coincidence, and
had become actively involved in the return of Jeux Sans Frontières this
Just as one door opened with the return of Jeux Sans
Frontières, another closed as the BBC transmitted their last It's A
Knockout, a lavish affair recorded at Walt Disney World in Florida in the
United States of America.