Tony Barber (1980–1991)
Glenn Ridge (1991–2001)

Victoria Nicholls (1980–1982)
Delvene Delaney (1982–1985)
Alyce Platt (1986–1991)
Jo Bailey (1991–late 1993)
Various guest hostesses (late 1993)
Nicky Buckley (1994–1999)
Karina Brown (2000–2001)

Ron Neate (1980)
Pete Smith (1980–2001)
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Nine Network: 14 July 1980 – 29 November 2001

Reg Grundy Productions
Nine Network Australia

This article is about the Australian version of Sale of the Century (also formerly called Sale of the "New" Century), a game show format mixed in with shopping and bargaining, where contestants could answer questions and buy prizes at a low cost.

The show started out as Great Temptation (airing from 1970 to 1975), and was revived as Sale of the Century in 1980. When it was revived a second time in 2005, it was renamed simply Temptation.

Main Game[edit | edit source]

All contestants were spotted with $20 to start. The host read a trivia question to the three contestants (one of which was usually the winner of the previous show). The first to press a buzzer had the opportunity to answer the question (even if the host was still in the middle of reading the question). Players' scores increased by $5 for each correct answer and decreased by $5 for each incorrect answer. If a player answered incorrectly, the correct answer was revealled and the game went on to the next question - that is, only one person could try to answer each question.

Gift Shop[edit | edit source]

Once per round, the highest-scoring player had the opportunity to go to a "gift shop" and was offered the chance to sacrifice some part of their score to "purchase" a prize. The prizes, and the cost, increased in each round. Contestants were allowed to haggle with the host, who, depending on the game situation, could reduce the cost and offer inducements including actual cash in order to entice the contestant to purchase. If two or more players had the same score at this point, a Dutch auction was conducted for the prize.

Some gift shops also included a bonus prize called a "Sale Surprise", revealled only after the conclusion of the gift shop (regardless of whether the contestant bought the prize or not).

Cash Box/Cash Card[edit | edit source]

In the mid-late 1980s, the third Gift Shop prize was replaced by a mini-game (Cash Box in 1986, Cash Card in 1989), giving players an opportunity to win some cash, an extra prize, or earn extra score money:

Cash Box[edit | edit source]

The player in the lead (auction if there was a tie) would be given the opportunity to play for a cash jackpot, which started at $2,000 and increased by $1,000 every day until it was won. To play, the leading contestant would have to give up their lead over the second-place competitor. If the contestant opted to play, they selected one of three boxes. One box contained the jackpot while each of the other boxes contained $100 and $200.

Cash Card[edit | edit source]

In 1989, the Cash Box was replaced with "Cash Card," an opportunity for the leading contestant to either win a cash prize equivalent to perhaps a month's average wages for a middle-class Australian at the time, earn the opportunity to win a car later in the game (see section on major prizes), receive the score they sacrificed back, or reduce the score of a competitor slightly. This cost a player $15 to play.

Four playing cards (the Aces of each suit) were presented; the player selected one, and it was turned over to reveal one of four elements:

  • "$15": Gave the player the money back.
  • "Joker": worth a "booby prize"; essentially a worthless card.
  • "Prize": A bonus prize, usually worth between $2,000 and $3,000.
  • "Cash Card": A growing jackpot that began at $5,000 and increased by $1,000 each night it wasn't won.

For the first three years of this format, if the leading player opted not to go for the Cash Card, the second-placed player was then offered that chance, but the Cash Card was removed from the lineup. In the event of a tie-breaker between the second- and third-placed contestants, a general knowledge question was asked, and the first person with the correct answer played. This option was discontinued after 1992.

In 1993, two significant changes were made to the Cash Card - the Cash Card itself froze at $5,000 (but occasionally was worth $10,000), and the "Joker" was replaced with the "Take $5" card, which allowed the player to remove $5 from one of their opponents' scores.

A year later, keeping with the "casino" theme, the playing cards were replaced with four single-reeled slot machines (referred to in Australia as "poker machines" or "pokies"). Each one was rigged to land on one element, and when the player selected a suit, the co-host pulled the handle to reveal the outcome. In addition, the "Take $5" was relegated to celebrity specials, and replaced on the regular shows with a machine displaying the logo of the car on offer that week. If the player selected this machine, then went on to win the game, the car would be placed on the Winner's Board (see below).

For the 1997 "Family Challenge" tournament, the Cashcard segment was replaced by a revamped "Cash Box" segment. Four numbered boxes were presented, offering the same results as per tournament Cashcard rounds (either the $5,000 cash, the prize on offer, $15 back on to the score, or "Take 5").

Who am I?/Fame Game[edit | edit source]

A longer-format question generally known as the "Who am I?" question was asked once in each of the three rounds. Here, a succession of increasingly larger clues was given to the identity of a famous person, place, or event. In this round, players could buzz in and answer at any time, without penalty for an incorrect answer. However, each player only had one chance to answer. If one of the players buzzed in and answered correctly, they had an opportunity to play the "famous faces" sub-game, in which they could choose randomly from a game board with nine squares featuring the faces of celebrities, mostly performers on the network's shows. Once chosen, the face selected would be spun around to reveal either a relatively small prize (typically appliances or furniture valued at around a weekly wage) or a $25 money card, which awarded $25 to the player's score.

Later series added additional $10, $15, & $20 money cards to the game board. By 1984, the $10 would be available at the outset, the $15 added at the second "Who am I" and the $25 at the third. In 1986, a "Wild Card" was added to the final Fame Game, in which a contestant could choose either $1,000 in cash ($2,000 during the 1988 World Championship) or a chance to pick again. The $20 was added in 1989 but removed in 1993.

Some international tournaments (such as the "Ashes" and "World Championships") featured locations or animals native to a particular team's country in place of the celebrities' faces.

Fast Money/Mad Minute[edit | edit source]

Originally, after the third Fame Game, three more general knowledge questions were asked, and the contestant with the highest score is the winner. (On the first episode, there was only one question following the last Fame Game question.) This gave way to "fast money", where the host would ask the questions in a particularly rapid-fire manner, attempting to fit in as many questions as possible in a 60 second time limit. Starting in 1989, there was a shorter 30-second fast money section in round two with the original reduced to 30 seconds, later restored to a minute, and renamed "Mad Minute" (although Tony Barber referred to it as such on at least one occasion). Most of the more successful players proved themselves particularly adept at this section.

On 12 November 1986, part-time taxi driver David Poltorak achieved the highest Australian front game score ever, $200, and consequently won the total endgame prize pool on offer (totalling a then-record $376,104). As far as a front game score, a close second may belong to a man named Ian, who in 1985 won a game with a score of $170.[1] Virginia Noel, who won a game in 1984 with a score of $155 while not letting her opponents answer any questions during Fast Money may hold third.[2]

The winner of the game was the person with the most money at the end. If there was a tie for the lead, the tied players answered a tiebreaker "Fame Game" question, where a correct answer from either contestant won the game, while an incorrect answer defeated the contestant in favour of their opponent. (Originally, a tiebreaker would be decided by a standard question; one such moment was featured in a 1982 pitch tape for the 1980s American version of Sale.)

NOTE: This should not be confused with the bonus round from the game show Family Feud of the same name.

Sale of the New Century[edit | edit source]

In a bid to combat declining ratings, the show was renamed Sale of the New Century in 2000. The format was also altered slightly to include four contestants per night in an elimination format; the lowest-scoring player would leave after the second Fame Game, and another just before the final Fast Money round.

In addition, a lengthy question, called a 'brain drain', was introduced. Contestants would score $5, $10, $15 or $20, depending on how early they gave the correct answer.

The "Cash Card" slot machines were replaced by a touch-screen video wall, but again having outcomes fixed on each suit. At that point, the "Prize" was removed from the Cash Card round and replaced by "Take $5". For celebrity and tournament specials, the "Car" was replaced by "Bonus Spin", in which the contestant would earn another chance at playing for the $5,000 Cash Card. Unlike previous versions of the "Cash Card" round, all results for each suit were shown on the screen, regardless of which suit the contestant picked.

In addition, contestants who won "the lot" then competed in a "best of three" play-off entitled "Super Sale." The first two contestants to win since the format change played against each other to win the same amount of cash as the latter contestant's cash jackpot. After this, the "reigning champ" would play against the next Grand Champion to play for a cash amount equal to their jackpot prize.

The "New" was dropped from the title in 2001, and the show returned to a three-contestant format, but continued to eliminate the lowest scorer before the final Fast Money round.

Bonus Games[edit | edit source]

The show went through two bonus games during its 21-year run:

Shopping format[edit | edit source]

A series of seven (six by 1982) prizes was offered, culminating in one or sometimes two luxury cars. A contestant could take their cumulative winnings, buy a prize, and retire, or elect to return the next day and try to win enough to buy the next most expensive prize (or lower level prize of their choice).

Starting in 1982, any champion who had banked $620 could take home a large cash jackpot, which started at $50,000 and increased by $2,000 per night until a player won it, or play for at least one more night to win all seven prizes (totalling over $100,000) and the cash jackpot (the combination of those prizes was referred to as "the lot"). The largest jackpot ever won was $508,000 in 1992.

First episode (14 July 1980)

The major prize pool originally consisted of eight levels requiring accumulated scores as listed:

Prize level Accrued score Prize or approximate prize value
1 $55 $500
2 $143 $1,000
3 $220 $2,000
4 $300 $4,000
5 $390 $7,000
6 $450 $15,000
7 $530 Car
8 To be won the night after winning the car All prizes

Episodes from 1982 to 1988 Shortly after the introduction of the Cash Jackpot in 1982, the first six prizes could be bought for $55, $115, $185, $225 $330, $405, and the the car could be bought for $475. In 1983, the car sold for $405 and the prizes plus jackpot for $550. By 1984, the following accumulated scores were used for eight prize levels of increasing value:

Prize level Accrued score Prize or approximate prize value (1984) Prize or approximate prize value (1985 to 1988)
1 $75 $2,000 $6,000
2 $155 $4,000 $10,000
3 $240 $8,500 $15,000
4 $330 $12,000 $20,000
5 $420 $15,000 $25,000
6 $515 Car(s) (value varied between $30,000 and ~$60,000)
7 $605 All prizes except Cash Jackpot
8 $700 All prizes and Cash Jackpot

Winner's Board[edit | edit source]

In 1989, the shopping format was replaced with a 12-space board. The Winner's Board contained six prizes on 12 cards - five pairs of matching cards, one "Car" (or "Cars") card, and one "Win" card (if picked, the next number selected resulted in an automatic match). The contestant called off numbers and the first prize matched was the first prize won, but in order to win the car, the player needed to select the "Win" card first before selecting a number that had the "Car/s" card. In 1993, the "Car" and "Win" cards were replaced by another prize; as mentioned above, picking the "Car" card in the Cash Card (or winning with a score of at least $100 as of 1992) allowed the "Car" and "Win" cards to be placed. If a champion cleared the board but didn't do either of the aforementioned tasks, their next game would be played for the car.

After the player made a match, they could choose to either leave with all the prizes earned off the board, or risk them and play another show. A loss cost the player all their prizes from the board, while clearing the board and winning one more game (taking seven days from 1989 to 1992, and eight days from 1993 to 2001) earned them the cash jackpot in addition to those prizes.

Celebrity Weeks[edit | edit source]

Starting in 1990, occasional weeks were set aside for celebrities to play the game. Each week usually consisted of sixteen celebrities playing over four days. The four winners from those shows met in a two-day final, in which the celebrity with the highest score over those two days won the competition. The first celebrity special was run to mark Sale of the Century's Tenth Birthday in 1990.

Each celebrity played for a home viewer, who would win all cash and prizes earned during the show. The ultimate winner's home viewer also won an extra prize, usually a car.

Opening announcements[edit | edit source]

14 July 1980 (debut episode)

  • Tonight on Australia's Biggest Bargain Sale, we're offering a luxurious Mercedes valued at $32,000 for $530. A $16,000 yacht for $450. Two of the incredible bargains on Sale of the Century. And now, here is the star of the show - Tony Barber!

(NB: For the below opening announcements, introductions for the host varied between episodes, particularly when Tony Barber hosted the show. "And now, here is the star of the show" is used on all below introductions as a general example only.)

General episodes, 1980 to mid-1982

  • [if a champion contestant was playing] This is our carry-over champion, [NAME] from [STATE]. Stand by to see [NAME] play for a [PRIZE] valued at [PRIZE VALUE].
  • Tonight on Australia's Biggest Bargain Sale, we're offering a [CAR MODEL] valued at [PRIZE VALUE] for [DISCOUNT PRICE]. A [PRIZE + PRIZE VALUE] for [DISCOUNT PRICE]. Two of the incredible bargains on Sale of the Century. And now, here is the star of the show - Tony Barber!

General episodes, 1984 to 1986

  • [if a champion contestant was playing for a general prize] This is our carry-over champion, [NAME] from [STATE]. Stand by to see [NAME] play for a [PRIZE] valued at [PRIZE VALUE].
  • [if a champion contestant was playing for a car, all prizes or the lot] This is our carry-over champion, [NAME] from [STATE]. With [FINAL SCORE] and a win in the game, [NAME] will take home [CAR] / all the prizes / cash and prizes valued at / totalling [PRIZE VALUE].
  • Tonight on Australia's Biggest Bargain Sale, we're offering [CAR MODEL/S] valued at [PRIZE VALUE] for $515. All the prizes plus a Cash Jackpot of [JACKPOT VALUE] for $700. Two of the incredible bargains on Sale of the Century. And now, here is the star of the show - Tony Barber!

General episodes, 1987 and 1988 (general example below; announcements varied between episodes)

  • [if a champion contestant was playing] This is (our carry-over champion) [NAME] from [STATE]. Last night, [DESCRIPTION OF WHAT THE CHAMPION WON]. Tonight, [NAME] is playing for a [NEXT LEVEL PRIZE] valued at [PRIZE VALUE].
  • Tonight on Australia's Biggest Bargain Sale, we're offering [CAR MODEL/S] valued at [PRIZE VALUE] for $515. All the prizes plus a Cash Jackpot of [JACKPOT VALUE] for $700. Two of the incredible bargains on Sale of the Century. And now, here is the star of the show - Tony Barber!

General episodes, 1989 to 1999

  • [if a champion contestant was playing for a general prize] This is our carry-over champion, [NAME] from [STATE]. [NAME] is returning to risk [PRIZE]/prizes valued at [PRIZE VALUE].
  • [if a champion contestant was playing for the lot] Can this [1st CHALLENGER OCCUPATION] from [STATE] or this [2nd CHALLENGER OCCUPATION] from [STATE] stop [CHAMPION'S NAME] from winning all the prizes, plus the Cash Jackpot, totalling [VALUE]?
  • Tonight, we're offering a [VALUE]-dollar [PRIZE], A [HIGHER VALUE]-dollar [PRIZE], [CAR/S on offer], plus a Cash Jackpot of [JACKPOT VALUE]. All on the World's Richest Quiz, Sale of the Century. And now, here is the star of the show - Tony Barber/Glenn Ridge!

2000 to 2001

NB: During this period, the champion contestant only appeared at the start of the episode if they were playing for all prizes and the Cash Jackpot.

  • [on champion contestant's final night] This is our carry-over champion, [NAME] from [STATE]. With a win tonight, he/she will take home all the prizes, the [CAR] and the Cash Jackpot, totalling [VALUE].
  • Tonight on the World's Richest Quiz, we're offering a [VALUE]-dollar [PRIZE], A [HIGHER VALUE]-dollar [PRIZE], [CAR on offer], and a Cash Jackpot of [JACKPOT VALUE]. All on Australia's Premier Quiz, Sale of the (New) Century. And now, here is the star of the show - Glenn Ridge!

A Rumored Revamp?[edit | edit source]

In July 2018, it was rumored that Network Ten [3] was interested in bringing back a "new-look" version of Sale for their network. According to the article from TV Tonight, it says that "Ten has been readying to provide studio space at Pyrmont for FremantleMedia to pilot the game show". However, nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Spin-Off/Revival[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

Links[edit | edit source]

YouTube Videos[edit | edit source]

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