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TV: U is for...

Ultra Quiz

POSSIBLY THE only instance of a Japanese-originated format crossing over to the west, starting off with 1000 contestants perched nimbly on the pebbles of Brighton Beach, ears agog to MICHAEL ASPEL (safely back in the studio). Out in the field were JONATHAN KING and SALLY “WAS” JAMES; ASP presided over a panel who pontificated as to who was most likely to win. RUSSELL GRANT did it astrologically, some computer bod did it statistically, along with someone else, probably WILLIE RUSHTON. The first round saw the 1000 whittled down to about 200 with true or false questions, and a few ‘You Bet’ style ‘will they won’t they’ stunts. Amongst these were Eddie Kidd doing a leap on a jetski, the Robin Hood Karate team from Nottingham kicking the hell out of a piano in four minutes, and a parachute team trying to land in a tiny circle in the sea. Contestants had to stand in a giant square that had either a tick or a cross in it while you were holding a helium balloon, and let it go if you had the wrong answer. Next round took place on a steam railway line near Winchester, was a bit more quizzy, and had old ARNOLD “GODFREY” RIDLEY asking one of the questions. The spurious eliminations continued on to France, Holland, Bahrain and Hong Kong, before finally one lucky winner who came away from it all…precisely one grand richer. What a fucking waste. Second series was an altogether more streamlined affair with DAVID FROST, but the third series never made it beyond Britain, perhaps understandable as it was hosted by STU “GRAPE” FRANCIS.



  1. Des Elmes

    September 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    There’s actually been quite a few shows in recent years that originated in the Land of the Rising Sun – Cilla Black’s The Moment Of Truth (LWT, 1998-2001), Three’s A Crowd (BBC3, 2003) with Claudia Winkleman, and of course, Dragons’ Den and Hole In The Wall.

    • Peter maynard

      December 26, 2017 at 12:37 am

      Ultra quiz 1985 grand final held at international conference centre on Saturday evening August 17th. The absolute final question ever on ultra quiz was us president after JFK…..answered correctly as Lyndon bird Johnson by peter William Maynard……Milton Keynes…….don’t ask who lost the head to head wasn’t the other guy ….get it !!for the then biggest prize ever at that time on British television…..get over it Pete….I,’ve done better things!!at least I met some good celebs including cannon and ball….Johnny Logan…..Lisa Goddard,hazel Connor,wall street crash,etc etc,peter maynard

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