Lucky Ladders

Lucky Ladders
Genre Game show
Created by Bob Stewart
Presented by Lennie Bennett
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 185
Running time 30mins (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Anglia in association with Action Time and Basada Inc.
Distributor ITV Studios
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 21 March 1988 (1988-03-21) – 14 May 1993 (1993-05-14)
Related shows Chain Reaction (US version)

Lucky Ladders was a United Kingdom daytime game show based on the American format titled Chain Reaction that was produced by Anglia and aired on ITV from 21 March 1988 until 14 May 1993. It was hosted by Lennie Bennett.


Two teams of two people were taken from the "Player's Paddock" (an enclosure containing enough fresh players to enable the producers to make five programmes in one studio session). They were shown a "lucky ladder"—a chain of seven words that connect to each other in some way. The top and bottom words were revealed at the outset, and the contestants would have to try to guess what words belonged in-between, one letter at a time.

The contestants in play would be offered the choice to "give a letter" (a tactical move that would reveal the next letter to the opposing team in the hope that they wouldn't be able to guess the word correctly) or "guess a letter" (generally a safer bet, ensuring that the team remained in play, provided they didn't get the word wrong.) A wrong guess would see play revert to the opposing team. No conferring between players on the same team was allowed.

10 points were awarded per correct word guessed, with 20 points for the final word to complete the ladder. At each game's completion, Bennett explained the connections for the benefit of any viewers in the audience or at home who may not have understood the connections. The points were then increased to 20/40. If the game was not won at this point, the points could be increased to 30/60 or 40/80.

The first team to 200 points won the game, and were invited to complete a "prize ladder", which took exactly the same format as the main game but without the bottom word being revealed at the outset; the players now only had five free letter clues instead of the unlimited supply they had in the main game. Any teams who completed five prize ladders were retired from the game, usually with a big prize. The entire show was made cheaply and en masse in order to fill a weekday half-hour slot, and the prizes were not generally of a great equivalent cash value.

All winning contestants received a Lucky Ladders trophy. Lennie Bennett revealed in Yorkshire Television's One Day in the Life of Television (1 November 1989) that only six of these trophies were made for promotional purposes, and that players were required to hand them back after recording.


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 21 March 1988 22 April 1988 25
2 31 October 1988 16 December 1988 35
3 8 January 1990 16 February 1990 30
4 4 March 1991 26 April 1991 40
5 2 March 1992 10 April 1992 30
6 12 April 1993 14 May 1993 25
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