TV Cream

TV: B is for...

Beat the Teacher

FROM THE DESK OF DOIG. Yup, this was another of Clive’s 1980s epics, only this bestrode the schedules like some corduroy collosus. Not once, not twice, not thrice, but four-weekly pupils v teachers grillathon based, somewhat lazily it has to be admitted, on plain old noughts and crosses. Pupil was “O”, their teacher “X” and “Board” was giant annoyingly clacketty tic-tac-toe grid, each space with four possible configurations – “O”, blank, “X”, blank. Answer a typically riddle-me-ree question correctly (sample: Is the day after tomorrow week the same as yesterday fortnight? How many legs does each contestant have in a three-legged race?), and get to turn squares a certain number of times by nominating positions, in a style later ripped off by Rob Curling’s TURNABOUT, with ultimate aim being, well, tic-tac-toe. First brought to us by HOWARD STABLEFORD before, and this order is correct, PAUL JONES (yup, out of Manfred Mann) then TREVOR “Bruno” BROOKES. Naturally it went downhill from there, Brookes’ arrival coinciding with the replacement of the half-decent Grange Hill-style opening theme with an annoying rap effort and lots of objectionable kids running about objectionably in the title sequence. Winners of first series, if you’re out there, were the pupils and teachers of Monk’s Wall School, Welwyn Garden City.



  1. THX 1139

    September 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    There’s an episode of this on YouTube, the Paul Jones version with the great Mike Batt theme tune, and it may be noughts and crosses but it has enough quirks (eg. playing the Joker) to make it really satisfying. The real winner was the viewer, as always with Mr Doig.

    It jogged my memory that I knew someone who went on this, but more than that I’ve forgotten, can’t even remember his name. How cruel, the advancing years. Anyway, if BBC Four are looking for a replacement for Only Connect, they could do a lot worse than reviving Beat the Teacher.

  2. Richard16378

    September 16, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I remember many questions had a accompanying graphic generated on a BBC Micro.

    Filling the board completely with Xs or Os would get an 80 point bonus, one teacher managed this twice in a game.

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