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.

The 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.

The 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 year:

  • On 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 recording.

  • 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.

  • The 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 year.

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.

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Neil Storer and Alan Hayes
with Ischa Bijl, Julien Dessy, Sébastien Dias, David Hamilton, Denis Kirsanov, Paul Leaver, Philippe Minet,
Christos Moustakas, David Laich Ruiz, Marko Voštan and JSFnet Websites