“SO FAST AND RAPIDO!”
Where are the quizzes? Right here! Specifically, in Madrid, as here’s a fantastic clip uncovered by Chris Hughes of Ted Rogers and Fiona Curzon making a trip to the Spanish version of 3-2-1. God alone knows what the Spanish viewers thought of this, but even though he can’t speak the language Ted tried his best to ingratiate himself by doing his favoured shaking-hands-with-random-members-of-the-audience shtick. But where’s Dusty? Surely he would have dazzled the Spanish audience had he been there, dressed as a matador, of course. If you want to see more of Ted, there are actually quite a few complete episodes of the quiz/game/fortune-and-fame online, including this one, but sadly it’s after the exploding chevron era. Of course, the clues are still impenetrable no matter what language they’re in.
“THEY’RE GOING TO FILL THE FRAMES TO WIN THE PRIZES!”
That’s a crap catchphrase, Jim, it doesn’t even rhyme. If you were disappointed by the lack of chevrons in that last clip, here’s some more hot chevron action heralding Tarby’s Frame Game, a not particularly well-remembered and short-lived quizzer from 1987, but we’re alighting on it because, as you can see in the other clips here and here, it’s a perfectly acceptable and entertaining format that you can watch over your tea, and we don’t have enough shows like this these days. Commission a hundred episodes of this, ITV, stick it at half past five on a Saturday, and that’s your schedules sorted. It should have been bloody “silver bullet”, you idiots!
“STANDS ON MARK!”
Here’s another example. Odd One Out is probably the least memorable of Paul Daniels’ game show trilogy, but it’s got the best titles and theme tune of them all. It’s a fantastic theme, actually, one of Ronnie Hazlehurst’s best, and Paul’s faces in the titles are brilliant (“Haven’t got it… nearly got it… got it!”). Again it ran for four years and while it didn’t pull up any trees, rather this brainteasing play-along-at-home fare than watching someone explain what it’s like to fall in water from a great height over and over again. Other bits of this episode can be found here, here and, promising “music”, “pictures” and “words”, here, and despite Paul’s rather brittle banter, it’s hard not to get suckered into this simple format, effectively executed. The question is, though, are the letters on the floor spelling “OOO” or “ODD”? It works both ways.
“OUR PRODUCER, GC WILLIAMS!”
One quiz ITV still have, but in vastly inferior form, is Family Fortunes, and the current version is all wrong with episodes shown at nine o’clock, rubbish celebrities and, worse still, contestants passing. Here’s its imperial phase, starting off with Lord Bob right at the beginning, when it was still an ATV production, as well as a later episode, also with BOB <====== and a very odd monologue. When MAX <====== took over, it was of course rotten, but on only his second ever episode, he was at the helm for that family with the famous Irishman and, yes, turkey, and the other three parts are around along the side. Finally, heralded by some TVS continuity, here’s the arrival of Les, where people like to see him, alongside the shortlived colour Mister Babbage and the worst logo in the world. There are no other presenters of Family Fortunes.
“THIS HAPPY SEASON OF BOB AND THE BIG BOX GAME!”
Well, if we’re talking quizzes we’ll have to have a look at some vintage Bob, starting with this ace clip of Celebrity Squares in 1976, including Bob’s rather awkward slide in and the opportunity to write in at the end, although we’re not sure why you would, except to ask Bob where he gets his safari suits. Of course, he bought the rights for the Squares himself and got ATV to commit to making it when he came back to The Golden Shot, and though you may have seen it on Challenge, this episode from 1970 is still delightful, with Bob’s newsflash at the start the best thing ever on light entertainment until Brucie announced the Beeb had bought that England match on Strictly last year. Our fave Bob quiz, though, is Bob’s Full House, and friend of TVC Brig Bother had a full episode up for a while but he had to take it down, alas, so we’ve only got these opening titles. Worth it for the salute, though.
“I BOUGHT BRITISH!”
If we’re celebrating Bob, we’ve got to mention Brucie too, and here’s a complete episode of Play Your Cards Right from 1980 to be getting on with, including a great bit of business with the audience at the start. This is only the first series to feature couples, which was Brucie’s idea, as the first had to use single players for contractual reasons. From a bit later, here’s the start of an episode from 1986 where Bruce F’syth (thanks, Julian off Ulster TV) is joined by all the assistants including the guy who just poured champagne and generally had a great time, surely the best job in the world. One of Brucie’s other jobs at LWT is one of his lesser remembered, being the initial host of You Bet, but footage does exist – no rap, alas, but a trailer, and we forgot the panellists all had their own little desks and illuminated answers in that calligraphy font. Also watch out right at the start for a cracking Look-In cover, and at the end, the notorious Trick Or Treat.
“BUT ALSO TO THE SCHOOLS THEY REPRESENT!”
One of the best bits in One Day In The Life Of Television is the review of Blockbusters, where the writer slags off all the contestants for being obnoxious and wanting to go into advertising, and also points out the trick questions whereby “What K is a picture card in a deck of cards?” would always be “knave” because smart arses would buzz in too quick and say “king”. A real institution in its day, of course, which was every day for a decade, and here’s how it all began back in 1983. The titles are a bit unfamiliar, with no sprawling metropolis, but we like how Bob has his glasses prominently on his desk, for continuity reasons.
“LET THE NOTES ROLL IN THE MELODY ROULETTE!”
One of the great underrated quizzes in telly history is, of course, Name That Tune, or at least under the auspices of the great Tom O’Connor. Here’s the trailer for the first ever episode, where it looks amazing, even if the announcer just reads out the names of the rounds despite them not making any sense on their own (“There’s a chance to Bid A Note!”). And here, accompanied by the little feature Challenge preceded their repeat of it when they used to show something interesting and not just In It To Win It from six months ago, is the start of an actual episode, with over two minutes of solid applause. Alan Braden’s other contribution to the world of the quiz was, natch, the demented theme tune to Give Us a Clue. Parky, you’re on, you bastard, stop chatting. Also great – the likes of John Inman and Windsor Davies in casual clothing.
“WOAH WOAH WOAH HERE’S BEADLE!”
Ah, the 9.25 quiz slot, always a welcome sight for the nation’s “freelancers”, and one that started back in 1987 with Beadle himself launching Chain Letters. If you’d to re-enact your glory student days there’s certainly plenty to be getting on with, including both Chris Serle (with exciting behind the scenes gubbins) and Richard Madeley (with rotation for rotation’s sake) variants of Runway, All Clued Up with the nicest man in showbiz Diddy David Hamilton, the majestic Turnabout and even the opportunity to pull up a chair for a Four Square. But where’s the Bake era Win Lose or Draw, the internet?
“THE VICAR’S DOWNSTAIRS!”
Something else disappointingly not online is Peter Powell falling arse over tit on Blankety Blank, which used to be on telly all the time, even though we can’t recall why he had to run on like that anyway. Anyone? Still, there’s plenty more of Britain’s stupidest ever quiz online, including a full episode from the inspired BBC1 repeat run of Wogan-fronted episodes in 1997, which made for ace viewing. However we’ve got to admit that we prefer the Dawson episodes, not so much for the panellists, the quality of whom plummeted, but for Les himself, who was fantastic, right from his very first episode. And best of all, one week it massively underran so he got to do our favourite of all his routines. And to our viewer in Cheltenham, goodnight and god bless.