TV Cream

TV: E is for...

Every Second Counts

THE SECOND, and undoubtedly the greatest, instalment of PAUL DANIELS’s great Beeb game show trilogy (alongside ODD ONE OUT and WIPEOUT), this was a long runner and no mistake. You knew you were in for a thrilling time when the announcer welcomed you to “EVERY! SECOND! COUNTS!” with the camera zooming into a door on every word, before Paul walked through it and gave a toe-curlingly twee wave. Three heterosexual couples would face true or false questions (“If you think it’s a Beatles song, say ‘fab’!”), talking it in turns to be in the ‘driving seat’ and give the answers – double the points in the second half, so of course the husbands always went second. There was a nice “boo-wip” sound effect if they got it right and a nice “uh-uuur” sound effect if they didn’t. Paul would often dispense silly hats and props in one of the rounds to jolly things along a bit. The winning couple would go through the final to win progressively better prizes, and at this point it was the law that somebody in the room would ask if they actually won all the prizes. In fact they didn’t, what with it being licence payers’ money, with the previous prize being grabbed back when you won the next. It was all a bit low-rent next to the glamorous ITV opposition but ran forever anyway. Everyone’s favourite bit came at the end, though, when there was an extra twiddly bit in the theme tune to allow Paul to do an even more toe-curlingly twee wave.



  1. Neil

    January 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Every Second Counts1986 to 1983 on BBC1

    You mean 1986 to 1993?

    Great site by the way – you have done wonders and it is appreciated.

  2. televisualcabbage

    January 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Every Second Counts? Perhaps every second counts for Paul Daniels to do some spiel with a housewife from Westbury or Salisbury… Only famous for the logo on the prize television at the end, page 195 a recreation of Paul’s wig….

  3. Matthew Harris

    January 7, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    It ran for minus three years. Now that’s magic.

  4. David Smith

    March 1, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Was this the show with “the wibbly wobbly sound” at the end of rounds? 🙂

  5. Richard16378

    March 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I remember the logo turned into a clock between rounds.

  6. Richardpd

    March 9, 2024 at 11:52 am

    While this was an OK way to spend 30 minutes for the 9 seasons made, it seemed a little stuck in the mid 1980s. The sets were looking dated by the 1990s with the pastel & neon styling, though the later on the designs was jazzed up, thanks to one site having a screen shot.

    While looking through the broadcast dates I was aware one edition was postponed due to The Late Late Breakfast Show being suddenly axed due to a fatal accident in rehearsals, & One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing being quickly scheduled for the Saturday. A similar thing happened the next week until the BBC worked out how to redo the schedules, not sure what film was shown then.

    These unaired editions were shown over the Christmas period, with one being an unseasonal showing for Christmas Day, as noted elsewhere on this site! The other one was on New Years Eve, but that’s usually a dumping ground for programming that didn’t get shown throughout the years.

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