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Chain Letters

Doo, doo, doo-doo-dooTAKE A WORD. Change a letter. Er, do it again. And you got [sic] a chain! Yup, one of the finest ever this-is-how-it-works theme tunes ushered in this linguistic wisp of a show, hosted, of course, by… “Here’s Beadle!” Our man claimed, with his usual modesty, that with this programme he invented the notion of contestants standing rather than sitting. But who are we to quibble. From within a CATCHPHRASE-esque “Wow! The inside of a fruit machine! Futuristic!”-style set, Beadlebum guided his minions through a parlour game annointed one of the centrepieces of ITV’s first ever weekday morning schedule. Ignominy came when Jeremy was replaced quickly by ANDREW O’CONNOR and a million others, at which point proceedings got terminally worse.



  1. Paul Gatenby

    November 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I liked the old TVC version of the theme tune where you finished it off by saying ‘Do it again! And now you’re a wanker’

  2. TV Cream

    November 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    That was back in TVC’s, er, unreconstructed phase.

  3. Andy Elms

    November 4, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Despite enticing promises at the end of each round, none of the contestants ever won a sofa

  4. David Pascoe

    November 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    See, I said that you were capable of doing re-evaluations :0) (See Tom O’Connor).

    • TV Cream

      November 4, 2009 at 8:41 pm

      It was more a case of us packing in that Charlie Brooker creative writing course some time in 2001 and embracing (albeit tenuously) the English language.

      Keynotes still whiffs, mind.

  5. gerard_wiley

    November 4, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I remember some stunning Beadle quotes in an old TVC mail-out re the significance of contestants standing up on Chain Letters. Can anyone humour me here?

  6. Jennifer Turner

    November 5, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Are you perchance referring to the old Action Time maxim that the difference between a quiz show and a game show is that a quiz show is played sitting down, a game show is played standing up? I’ve never been sure whether it was Jeremy Fox or Jeremy Beadle who came up with the formulation first (or whether they came up with it between them) but they both liked to quote it. I suppose it was a decent rule-of-thumb back then, but not anymore.

  7. TV Cream

    November 5, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    If memory serves, we first came across the standing-up rule in Beadlebum’s autobiography (in which, gloriously, he describes himself as a “crazy kinda guy” and opens with a chapter entitled ‘You’ve Been Born!’).

  8. eileen

    November 11, 2009 at 1:42 am

    i was a stand by in ted robbins day and later got on show due to snow! and won the superchain in 20 seconds-i still hold the record.went on to help with auditions for vince henderson and dave spikey.we had to give feedback-so i know who auditioned but didnt get job!!

  9. Mike Brailsford

    March 9, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I appeared in the 1997 series with the great Dave Spikey, who at the time was little known unless you lived in or listened to radio in Manchester.

    I won £1,290, which was the top score of the series.

  10. Des Elmes

    May 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Chain Letters may have had host after host – but it kept Tyne Tees going through some very tough times for the station (financial difficulties, merger with Yorkshire, severe scaling down of operations at City Road, pointless rebranding as Channel 3 North East).

    And it only ended because ITV had become more interested in trashy talk shows…

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