The program premieres on 14 July, at 7pm on the Nine Network, with Tony Barber as host, Victoria Nicholls as co-host, and Ron Neate as announcer.
The standard intro for Sale of the Century during the shopping era, would start with a stuttered zoom-in on the opened big door, as the car spins around on the turntable, as the announcer exclaims "Tonight, on Australia's biggest bargain sale, we're offering a (luxury car) valued at (price), for (discounted sale price). A (slightly lesser prize, usually furniture, or a trip), valued at (price), for (discounted sale price)".
The camera then zooms out from the door, which is now closed, as the logo forms, in a anti-clockwise motion, as the announcer continues, "Two of the incredible bargains on SALE OF THE CENTURY!"
The camera then focuses on the main door, with the contestant podium at the far right of the screen, as the announcer continues, "And now, here's the star of our show/the Sale/some amusing quip, TONY BARBER!". The doors then open to reveal Tony, who will run/jog/dance/walk out and take his place at the podium.
The set is basically three colours, yellow, orange and brown. The main doors are in an octagonal shape, and the Let's Go Shopping Set, is very bare, with just one or two prizes at either side, with the car in the middle on a turntable made of carpet, with the car makers logo above it. The fame game board uses octagonal panels, and the hostess has to turn them herself for the contestant to be able to see the prize.
After 10 episodes, Ron Neate leaves, and Peter Smith replaces him as the announcer, on the 26th July.
The standard cold opening for carry-over champions would be a camera shot of the champion, with a drum roll playing underneath while Ron or Pete would say, "This is our carry-over champion (champion's full name) from (champion's home state). Stand by to see (name) play for (next level prize) valued at (prize amount)."
For champions playing for the car or the lot, the intro would be changed to, "This is our carry-over champion (champion's full name) from (champion's home state). With (amount needed) and a win in the game, (champion's first name) will take home (name of car) / all the prizes / cash and prizes totalling (total amount)."
Vincent Smith of Sale, Victoria, becomes the first contestant to win 'all the way'. He wins over $64,000 in cash and prizes.
In November of 1980, the names on the podiums are changed to white names on black backgrounds, previously they had been the opposite.
Victoria Nicholls leaves, and Delvene Delaney takes the job. This gives the show a ratings boost.
The set receives an upgrade of sorts. Because Delvene is significantly shorter than Victoria, a riser is added in front of the Famous Faces board, Tony frequently uses this to comic effect in his entrances, and it will remain there until the set upgrade in 1986.
The Let's Go Shopping set is given a slight update, the car podium is made slightly smaller, and is flanked by two diagonal pillars that light up when they enter the set, when the car is being described, and when the cash jackpot is anounced.
The cash jackpot is introduced, with this, the introduction is changed somewhat, instead of the smaller prize being shown, the camera zooms out slowly from the car to the doors, where a large briefcases moves onto the screen, its locks click open, revealing the inside to be full of Australian notes (for the time), the amount of the cash jackpot for the night, then zooms onto the screen, made out in yellow translucent writing. Instead of announcing the smaller prize, Pete says, "Cash to the total of (cash jackpot's amount) for $620". This would be soon changed to, "All the prizes plus a cash jackpot of (cash jackpot's amount) for $700
Originally the cash jackpot banner is multicoloured in red, orange, blue and yellow, and the numbers are written in chunky white lettering
The logo also undergoes a change, as the camera zooms out from the doors, the $ from $ale spins into view, the rest of the word blinks into view, followed by "of the", then similar to how Star Trek or Doctor Who introduced their shows, with a white outline of the name zooming in to form the name, the "Century" part zooms in.
On April 13, Andrew Lockett wins everything, valued at over $85,000.
In August, Lee Tanabe is the first champion to win the cash jackpot, for a grand prize total of $149,091 ($70,000 cash, $79,091 prizes)
In December, accountant David Bock wins everything, including the cash jackpot. His prize pool totals $245,129 ($106,000 cash, $139,129 prizes).
Hayward Mayberley of Chapel Hill, Queensland, becomes the biggest prize-winner in the history of Sale of the Century, and of Australian television. Between 3 and 12 October, he wins a prize pool totalling $343,536 ($206,000 cash and, $137,536 in prizes)
On the 17th October, the "Dirty Dickie" incident occurs. This happens when Tony accidentally reads a question as "In rhyming slang, what does a Cockney call his "Dirty Dickie""? After giggling a bit at the inneundo and the mistake he made, he corrects it to, "In rhyming slang, what does a Cockney call his "Dickie Dirt". The answer being "His Shirt". Delvene makes fun of for the rest of the show, and some of the other episodes taped that week, and Pete even introduces him on the next show with, "And now, here's our own Dirty Dickie, Tony Barber!"
On the 25th June, the "falling safe" incident occurs. When Tony introduces the cash jackpot the safe holding the money hits him on the way down. From that point until the end of the shopping era, he would stand in the centre of the car platform while introducing the jackpot. This incident has often featured in several blooper specials.
Barry Jones, from Western Australia goes "all the way" between the 4th and 13 of July. He wins $213,712 in cash and prizes ($90,000 cash and $123,712 in prizes)
The Australia vs USA championship, airs. Champions from the program compete against the same from the USA version over a period of 3 weeks. The best 12 Australian champions play the first week, with the winners of each heat, playing on the Friday game, to get the two Australian competitors, the same is done the following week with the Americans, then the 3rd week is devoted to a "best of 5" playoff. The first team to win 3 games, will win $100,000. If one team gets to 3 wins before the end of the week, the rest of the week is devoted to normal episodes.
For this special, the intro starts with a zoom-in on a flag, that has an Australian half (with a cartoon kangaroo on it), and an American half (with a cartoon Uncle Sam on it) in the middle of a starscape background. They then show several short clips of Australians and Americans competing in various sports. Following this, the three (two in the final) competitors for Australia (Virginia Noel and Fran Powell) are superimposed over a map of Australia, while the three (two in the final) American competitors (Frances Wolfe and Alice Conkright) are superimposed over a map of North America)
Peter Smith's introduction for the First 4 Australian and American heats is, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we proudly present (Australia/America), Heat (1/2/3/4) on Sale of the Century! (The 3 competitors playing tonight), clashing head-on for a spot in the (Australian/American final), on SALE OF THE CENTURY!
For the Friday show of both week, there is no number heat, and it is simply changed to "Final", while the "Final" in Australian/American Final, is replaced with "Challenge"
For the Final Australian/American Challenge, Pete Smith's introduction is changed to, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we take great pleasure in presenting the final of the Australian/American Challenge! Two of the greatest competitive nations in the world ever to challenge for national glory, now face each other in the quiz arena, for a grand prize of $100,000 cash. Representing Australia, from New South Wales, Virginia Noel, and also from New South Wales, Fran Powell. Representing America, from New York, Frances Wolfe, and from Arizona, Alice Conkright. The ultimate head-to-head competition with the best players in the world on SALE OF THE CENTURY!"
The Australian team wins 3 straight games, clenching the victory and $100,000.
Vincent Smith releases The Great Australian Trivia Quiz Book
In September, BMW is replaced by Toyota as the main car sponsors, around this time, they regularly begin to have 2 cars as the main prize on the program, they had done this occasionally with BMW, but now it starts to become regular. They do occasionally have 1 car offered, when the car is considerably higher priced. Toyota is soon replaced by Holden (one YouTube clip showing a Holden Jackaroo and Holden Camira SLE being offered in November 1985)
The final episode for the year, is also Delvene's final show.
The main theme is remixed, with a jazz/big band sound.
The second set debuts
The main colour of the set is now white, and the doors are changed to a triangle shape. The riser is removed from the Famous Faces board, and a mechanism is created that allows the Famous Faces squares to spin on their own, previously, the hostess would have to spin them around manually.
Alyce Platt joins the show as hostess
Former champion contestant, Fran Powell, becomes the program's question writer/adjudicator
The Ashes occurs. This was played in the same way as the championship from the previous year, but with Aussies playing against Brits. The Australian team (David Bock and Cary Young) wins, with David Bock named as "Player of the Series"
Following the success of The Ashes, the program holds its Commonwealth Games. Australian, Canadian and New Zealand contestants (from their respective versions of the show) compete against each other. Cary Young wins
The Wild card is added to the third Fame Game
David Poltorak, of Sydney, New South Wales, becomes the new record-holder, winning cash and prizes with a value totalling $376,104 ($244,000 cash, $132,104 in prizes) On his final show, his score is $200, the highest single-episode score on the Australian version. (The highest ever score would be achieved on the New Zealand version of Sale by Dean Sole, scoring $201 on 14 November 1994.)
The third world championship airs. Brian MacDonnell wins
A format re-vamp occurs. Cash Cards, audio questions, a mid-show Fast Money and an extra fame game are now included in the front game. The major prize round adopts the winners board. Now, winning contestants are able to play for a car on any night, and winning seven consecutive shows, guarantees winning 'the lot'
Episode 2000 airs
The second student championship airs. During this series, the show celebrates its ninth anniversary
The Masters series airs. The three winners from the world championships compete against each other. Cary Young wins
Kate Buckingham, of Seventeen Mile Rocks, Queensland, breaks the prize record in October. She wins cash and prizes totalling $471,640 (including a $318,000 cash jackpot). She had first beat John Sargeant of New South Wales who was on his final match.
To celebrate the show's 10th anniversary, the first celebrity series airs
A champion of champions series airs. Kate Buckingham is absent due to the birth of her child
Robert Kusmierski, of Victoria, breaks the prize-winning record. On 1 June he wins the cash jackpot, and his winnings total $676,790 ($508,000 cash, $168,790 in prizes). He really needs the money, because he has to borrow a friend's suit to wear on the show!
Jo Bailey leaves, several weeks before the end of the season. For the remainder of the year, guest hostesses have week-long tenures. Guests include Alyssa-Jane Cook, Denise Drysdale, Effie, Alyce Platt, Jo Beth Taylor, Suuzie Wilks and Dame Edna Everage. Jo is a 'guest hostess' for one week, as well
Minor format changes mean that winning the cash jackpot requires eight wins, rather than seven
Sale's 15th Anniversary Special airs. Tony Barber, Alyce Platt, Jo Bailey and Delvene Delaney, make guest appearances on the hour-long program
A French production team comes to Australia, to film two pilot episodes for a French version of Sale. Using the Australian set, studio and sounds, the shows are made, with the French community organising French-speaking contestants and studio audience members. The show goes well, despite the fact that the host snaps his Achilles tendon prior to recording
As Australian television celebrates its 40th anniversary, Sale airs a 40 Years of Television celebrity series. On one episode, Pete Smith appears as a contestant and also does announcing. He wins his heat against international guest Gary Coleman. In the finals of the series, Gary does the announcing (although the introductions are pre-recorded by Pete)
Nicky Buckley gives birth to her first child, Cooper Alan Bingham. She works on the show throughout her pregnancy, and some viewers express concerns about her "flaunting her pregnancy." Her supporters greatly out-number her critics, though
At the Logie Awards, Daryl Somers presents Nicky with a special Logie for 'most publicised pregnancy'. To ensure the whole family can enjoy the award, it makes a squeaking sound when squashed
When Nicky takes maternity leave, guest hostesses are Rhonda Burchmore, Colleen Hewett, Gina Jeffreys and Kim Watkins. A Battle of the Footy Codes series airs during this time, and each night therein has a different sportswoman serve as hostess.
A Masters series airs. Contestants who win their way through to the finals, play against Cary Young. Cary wins
Other 'specials' to air are the 18th Anniversary challenge (a champion of champions series with most of the big winners from the show's history, won by David Bock), Battle of the TV Shows (won by Russell Gilbert and Wilbur Wilde of Hey Hey it's Saturday) and Battle of the Footy Codes.
Episode 4000 airs
Nicky gives birth to her second child, Jasper Leonard Bingham. When she takes maternity leave, guest hostesses are Livinia Nixon, Chelsea Gibb and Felicity Urquhart (country music performer)
The Nicky for a Night competition occurs. For a week during Nicky's absence, 'everyday' people are given the chance to co-host Sale of the Century. After sending in short 'audition' videos, the producers choose ten finalists, and the viewers vote to determine the winners. Strangely, the 'everyday' people all end up being tall blonde women.
Another Masters knock-out series occurs. The two-week-long series begins with seven champion contestants from the last two years, with one being eliminated every night. They play for the chance to compete in another knock-out series, opposing Cary Young, David Bock and Vincent Smith. David wins
The show is re-titled Sale of the New Century... despite the fact that the 'new century' does not begin until 2001
The most significant format change is the controversial contestant elimination rule. The show now begins with four players, and the lowest-scoring player is eliminated at the end of rounds two and three
The program reverts to the title Sale of the Century
The show returns to a three-contestant format, with the lowest scorer being eliminated before the final 'fast money'
At the end of the year, Glenn Ridge, Karina Brown and Pete Smith are axed from the program. The network later announces that the show will be "rested" for the first half of 2002 and returned with new hosts
A nationwide search for a new host is conducted, with commercials airing inviting people to submit audition tapes
Shafted fills Sale's timeslot, and is planned to air for six months before Sale returns. However, the show rates poorly, is replaced by re-runs of Frasier which rates so well that plans for Sale to return are put on the backburner