Bingo in Pop Culture: A Real Favourite

Bingo and pop culture

Many gambling games make their way onto the silver screen. For James Bond it’s all about the cocktails in casinos while he plays intense games of poker or baccarat. The thrill of roulette has also made its way onto many movie screens. But what about bingo?

Bingo too has had its fair share of action when it comes to pop culture, with many references to bingo games.

That’s of course no surprise. It’s a British institution and there have been many shows based on it, as well as sitcoms and cameo roles for the game.

Below you’ll find some of bingos biggest roles on television, radio and more…

The Humble British Quiz Show

Naturally, bingo has lent itself to the quiz show incredibly well and none more so than with Bob’s Full House, a bingo game hosted by Bob Monkhouse.

Monkhouse was a TV icon throughout his career with the show running on BBC One from 1984 to 1990.

The aim of the game was that players had bingo cards in which they must fill but do so by answering questions. There were many rounds to the game, with it culminating in Full House, where players had to answer questions to get the grand prize.

Such was its popularity, it was even remade for audiences in the USA, Germany, Finland, Greece and a number of other countries.

Lucky Numbers was another quiz show based on bingo on the 1990s and was essentially ITV’s equivalent of Full House, but presented by Shane Ritchie, who was previously a bingo caller.


Paul O’Grady has always been very vocal of his love of bingo and in 2003 he dropped the Lily Savage act and starred in a sitcom by Angela Clarke called Eyes Down.

The show ran for two series before being cancelled and had a rather exceptional cast including O’Grady, Tony Maudsley, Neil Fitzmaurice and a young Sheridan Smith.

There were 15 episodes in total, and it all focused around The Rio, a fictional bingo hall in Liverpool in which O’Grady played the manager, Ray Temple. It was a very working class comedy that followed the ins and outs of bingo hall life, albeit with plenty of hilarity to boot.

Innuendo Bingo

In more recent years, the game of bingo has been adopted by Scott Mills and Chris Stark who have taken it to Radio 1, welcoming a younger audience to the game, albeit with a difference.

Rather than draw balls, Chris Stark went up against Chris Stark, in which both players would fill their mouths with water as Scott Mills played clips in which innuendos were played out. The first player to spit the water out loses, with players ending up spitting the water over each other.

The game has been in many other shows and aspects of popular culture too, featuring in shows such as Coronation Street and Eastenders.

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