TV Cream

TV: C is for...


Letters, preyPAUL COIA RAMMED THIS briefly semi-popular BBC Scotland 5pm answer to Countdown amidships with the catchy catchphrase “Cryptic clue coming up. Letter… Letter… Letter… Letter… Letter…” Brian the Computer was supposedly in charge of scoring. Other rounds included the unique anagram round, the synonyms-on-the-buzzer round and the infamous “name a word containing these three letters in order” round – leading to constant invocation of those two really, really long words (“Flocky Knocky” something and that miner’s lung disease). Every fucking time. Crossword types got involved, and rewards were de-emphasised in a vain attempt to distance it from the earlier shows. This is BBC2, after all. Ultimate prize was Archimedes computer, or similar BBC tie-in product.



  1. Mark

    October 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    My maths teacher won this when I was at school. He was so far ahead that when presented with the letters ‘PRP’ rather than going for ‘proprietorially’ he rather splendidly chose ‘priapism’.

  2. Richardpd

    March 20, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    I remember this was often plugged as alternative viewing to Neighbours, but rarely did I get the chance to see it.

    At times the puzzles were very challenging, especially as they had to be quickly answered.

    This is a format that could be revived if the BBC needed highbrow quiz to rival Countdown.

  3. William Tweddell

    March 22, 2024 at 11:47 am

    My other half was in the audience for a few episodes when she was at school. It was filmed at the Queen Margaret Drive studios in Glasgow and the Beeb would sometimes bus in older pupils to watch recordings. She doesn’t remember much about it apart from Paul Coia being absolutely charming with everyone!

    She was also in the audience for an episode of Fun House which was a much noisier affair!

  4. Richardpd

    March 22, 2024 at 10:45 pm

    That’s interesting to know, Victoria Wood once mentioned in one of her routines how she was in the audience for Countdown because her husband Geoffrey Durham was appearing in the dictionary corner. She mentioned they taped a few editions per day, with the audience moving about & swapping cardigans between each one!

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