Change the ‘L’ to a ‘G’ to Make ‘Geek’

‘…And You’ll Never Break The Chain’

In a TV Times magazine far far away, or on the very rare occasions I was ever off school (apart from holidays of course), I would come across this fantastic game show hosted by Jeremy Beadle at 0925, shortly after TV-am’s After Nine strand had finished. Back in September 1987, it seemed rather hubristic to see Stop, Look and Listen or Good Health being replaced by Santa Barbara.

Thankfully, Santa Barbara was the boiled ham in ITV’s oven bottom muffin of late-1980s daytime television. At the top was a quiz show, whereas the bottom of the oven bottom was Mike ‘not to be confused with Bob Scott who won Manchester the 2002 Commonwealth Games and London’s 2012 Olympics’ Scott’s The  Time… The Place. Substantially better to hear an audience rabbiting on about Nigel Lawson’s failings as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Derby over Wayne Lawson of Derby’s DNA test results set to the refrain of ‘get a job’.

Among the quiz shows was Richard Madeley’s pallid Runway, the warm and cosy Crosswits presented by Tom O’Connor, the excellent Lucky Ladders hosted by Lennie Bennett, and – in later years – Alistair Duval’s rather spiffy Keynotes (good, but Name That Tune with the host from Crosswits was still better). However, there was one game show which stood head and shoulders above the rest on the 0925 slot now occupied by Jeremy Kyle. Among its presenters, after the late great Jeremy Beadle was Dave Spikey.

I am referring to Chain Letters, which inspires the subject of this ‘chain posting’. As part of a blog based relay started by Peter Cooper (link:, who passed the torch onto fellow comrade Christina Longden, of the Funnylass blog (link:

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Now for the delicatessenably delectable Sandwich Quiz! (Sorry, got carried away thinking of Number 73).

C.L.: What are you working on?

S.V.: At the moment, I still have a number of blog posts in the pipeline and try to seize every spare moment on buses, in cafés or aboard trains to conjure up anything exciting. Right now, I have been planning East of the M60’s April Fools’ Day posting and am in the midst of writing a post to celebrate the 40th anniversary since the foundation of Greater Manchester Transport.

C.L.: How does your writing differ from others in its genre?

S.V.: More than anything, it is based around my perspective and a more working class voice. With my poetry, there is a strong narrative element, one which has worked well with audiences. In this case, I am more influenced by the likes of Jeff Lynne [ELO], Roger Hodgson [late of Supertramp] and Nigel Blackwell [from Half Man Half Biscuit] than William Shakespeare. The only poets who seem to have influenced my work are Sir John Betjeman and Edward Lear. In terms of comedic influences, I would say Alan Bennett, Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, the Monty Python team and Bob Block (of Rentaghost fame).

C.L.: Why do you write what you do?

S.V.: With poetry, my aim has always been to write something which is relevant at this moment, though try to put it in a context which stands up well ten years from now or later. In terms of weblogging, a post can either have a long gestation period, be more immediate in response to recent events and – most importantly – with great emphasis on our area. With blogging, my idea was to offer a more intellectual alternative to the local press, whilst still allowing for some irreverence and surrealism.

C.L.: How does the writing process work for you?

S.V.: Completely random for want of a more direct answer. Knowledge would have been amassed on various subject areas over weeks, months, years even in the preparation of a blog post or a poem. Yet, sometimes, the genesis of a poem or blog entry may come to me on the khazi or a bus, which is why I always carry a notebook around if any visual or verbal references appear from nowhere.

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The Super Chain

Our next two contestants are:

Liz Broomfield, an author of four books on setting up your own business. All will be revealed on her blog on the 31 March which is;

Laura Ripper, a talented proofreader and copywriter able to change gobbledegook before you can say ‘Pookiesnackenburger’. And of course, you can find out more about her work on

Here ends today’s episode of Blog Chain Letters. Next week, Liz takes up the challenge, again we ask the same four questions detailed above.

S.V., 24 March 2014.


2 thoughts on “Change the ‘L’ to a ‘G’ to Make ‘Geek’

Add yours

  1. Hello there! I just wanted to say what a great article as I too, was at school in the late 80s and remember the time as when ITV had one of its regular upheavals, this time finally producing some daytime programmes people wanted to watch, and the switch to 24 hour broadcasting. But wasn’t it Bob Scott, not Mike, who led the Olympic and Commonwealth bids? All the best, Mark


    1. Hi Mark,

      Yes it was Bob, rather than Mike who was behind the Commonwealth Games and Olympics bids (thanks for correcting me).

      I used to love ITV’s daytime quiz shows. Especially Lucky Ladders and Chain Letters. Win, Lose or Draw was pretty decent for the 0925 time slot. At one time, you could be sure of watching Chain Letters, then put the kettle on prior to Going For Gold on BBC One without missing Hans Zimmer’s theme on the opening titles. That too was a pretty likeable quiz.

      Nowadays, the ‘joys’ of Homes Under The Hammer and The Jeremy Kyle Show are a very poor substitute!

      Bye for now,



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