Who remembers when morning daytime TV on ITV meant Crosswits instead of people at their wits end?

The 07 September 1987 was a seminal date in Independent Television’s history. Before then, all ITV franchisees from 9.25 am carried schools programming. Instead of The Jeremy Kyle Show or This Morning, viewers tuning into Granada or Central (other franchise holders were available) were treated to How We Used to Live, Middle English, or Stop, Look, Listen.

From the 07 September 1987, ITV Schools programming was transferred to Channel Four. With the summer holidays, ITV Schools on C4 began a week later. By then, almost every part of the UK (apart from a few houses in Top Mossley) could receive Channel Four from an IBA transmitter or relay.

In place of the schools’ programmes, ITV created a new daytime schedule for the next three hours after TV-am. Its opening schedule was:

  • 0925: On Air;
  • 0930: Chain Letters, presented by Jeremy Beadle (Tyne Tees Television);
  • 1000: Santa Barbara, imported soap opera (Dobson Productions/New World Television) – followed by a five minute ITN News Update;
  • 1030: The Time… The Place, live discussion programme set in various regional ITV studios across the UK. Presented by Mike Scott (various ITV franchisees including TVS, Central, Anglia and Ulster).

Thereafter, from 1110 onwards, the first morning included a rerun of Let’s Pretend, followed by Food: Fad or Fact? at 1130. Then The Sullivans half an hour later.

In the previous year, it was clear that ITV’s contractors were watching events at BBC Television Centre. The 27 October 1986 saw the Beeb overhauling their daytime schedule. After Breakfast Time came Daytime on One, a banner for lightweight yet absorbing programmes aimed at unemployed people, shift workers, and the odd truant. This included quiz shows, Open Air (a viewers’ forum from New Broadcasting House, Manchester), and other fluff like Five to Eleven. Oh, and some chat show with a former Knowsley Labour MP.

It was clear that ITV wanted a slice of the daytime action and they succeeded. Ultimately this led to the preeminence of This Morning, Loose Women (like Houseparty on steroids) and, till recently, The Jeremy Kyle Show.

With recent events surrounding Jeremy Kyle’s hour-long confessional, ITV’s post-Good Morning Britain schedule will open with a quiz show: Warwick Davis’ Tenable. The last time this happened was 1998 – 21 years ago. At one time this was the norm, and a norm for eleven years.

Change the ‘N’ in ‘Chain’ to an ‘R’ to make ‘Chair

During the school holidays, I used to like watching the quiz shows on ITV and BBC. Compared with today’s daytime television programmes, a lot better, being as part of the fun was playing along with the on-screen contestants. It was also good to see real people on the television being known for their general knowledge or word power instead of some misdemeanour on Jeremy Kyle’s programme.

Real people, who could answer crossword clues. Real people who didn’t mind having one of Lennie’s Losers’ Ladders if they lost on Lucky Ladders. Forty-somethings excited at picking up an inflatable microphone in the aisles of Supermarket Sweep. Instead of lowering our IQs a few points, the quiz shows were about keeping our brains active. Apart from being enjoyable for the viewers and contestants, almost a public service to keep elderly minds active. Plus they were cheap and cheerful. Sometimes they were staples of ITV’s primetime schedules given a new, mid-morning, lease of life.

We at East of the M60 Towers miss the old morning quiz shows on ITV. Here’s our look at them.

Chain Letters

Chain Letters actually did better in the UK than in the US. In 1985 as Chain Letter, it flopped dismally. With a good slot and the avuncular Jeremy Beadle the game originally had four rounds. The first round was Chain Letters, which was basically “change the ‘R’ in ‘rail’ to an ‘F’ to make ‘fail'” and thereafter till the clock ran out. The second round was Booby Trap, a reverse version of Invicta Plastics’ Master Mind game where you hope your opponent didn’t have the same word as the you thought of.

The final round, entitled Tie The Leader enabled you to add or minus letters depending on the length. Opponents could gain points if their rival contestant answered incorrectly. The victor would go on to the Superchain bonus round where s/he tried to make 10 changes in 60 seconds. If successful, the contestant walked away with £1,000.

Further rounds to Chain Letters were introduced from 1995 to 1997: Chaingang and Add a Letter. Following its success in mid-mornings, it had also been aired at other times. In Granadaland, 12.30pm before the news in 1988. Throughout 1996, Vince Henderson’s episodes were aired on weekday afternoons at 1.25pm in some ITV regions. Its last series, hosted by Dave Spikey returned to its familiar 9.25am slot.

Where Chain Letters succeeded was in its simplicity. Clear graphics, an easy-to-follow format (even for the eight-year-old creator of this blog) and affable presenters. It would stand up well in 2019.

  • Original format by: Mark Maxwell-Smith;
  • Produced by: Tyne Tees Television;
  • Shown between: 07 September 1987 – 25 April 1997;
  • Also presented by: Andrew O’Connor (1989), Allan Stewart (1990), Ted Robbins (1995), Vince Henderson (1996) and Dave Spikey (1997).

Runway

Whereas Chain Letters had the lure of a grand jackpot, Runway‘s unique selling point had wings. Literally, as the aviation themed quiz show’s big prize was an overseas holiday. The first presenter was Chris In At The Deep End Serle, though its most famous presenter was Richard Madeley.

In the original series, the show opens with Holiday Runway round where contestants had to answer nine questions in 75 seconds. At best, s/he could leave the studios with a European holiday. At worst, a set of luggage. If s/he gambled for the worldwide holiday, another three questions to answer. As a consolation, s/he would have a weekend break.

In subsequent seasons, the opening round was the Passport Round. If one contestant could correctly guess the date of birth of their opponent, two points followed by a set of three questions around their birth year. A great round for identity thieves. This was followed by the Departure Board, a video wall a la Connections. The final round (or penultimate round for subsequent episodes) was Dirty Tricks, where contestants can choose to keep points or deduct points from opponents. On reaching certain thresholds, spot prizes are gained. Consolation prizes included a copy of the Chronicle of the 20th Century, which I wouldn’t have minded having back in 1990.

Runway was a neat original format, though a little complex for the 9.25am slot. The afternoon slot before The Young Doctors and Children’s ITV might have been better.

  • Original format by: Action Time (Stephen Leahy);
  • Produced by: Granada Television/Action Time;
  • Shown between: 12 October 1987 and 19 February 1993;
  • Also presented by: Chris Serle (1987).

Give Us A Clue

Since its introduction on the 02 January 1979, Give Us A Clue was the first primetime ITV panel game to move to mid-mornings. Originally presented by Michael Aspel, Michael Parkinson took over in 1984 and hosted the series till 1992 – shortly before Thames Television was succeeded by Carlton Television. In 1997 it was revived by the BBC with Tim Clarke at the helm.

As for the game in a nutshell, Pro-Celebrity Charades with two teams. Most famously with Lionel Blair and Una Stubbs as captains. In its lifetime it has had three signature tunes: Alan Hawkshaw’s Chicken Man (yes, the original theme music for Grange Hill) then another jazzier piece by Denis King. The third, and most cheesiest incarnation was Alan Braden’s score with its sung intro and outro. Altogether now… “With Michael Paaarkinssonnnn…”. Yes, guaranteed to give you an earworm for the rest of the day.

  • Original format by: Juliet Grimm and Vince Powell (yes, him of Love Thy Neighbour fame);
  • Produced by: Thames Television;
  • Shown between: 02 January 1979 – 19 December 1997;
  • Also presented by: Michael Aspel, Tim Clarke.

Lucky Ladders

By the time Lucky Ladders made its début, ITV’s 9.25am slot came of age and proved that cheap could also be cheerful. Even the Lennie’s Losers’ Ladders had to be given back at the end of the show! Based on Chain Reaction, Lennie Bennett’s series had a simple premise: each word had to connect from top to bottom. Each couple would try to guess the correct word by adding a letter with a target of 200 points. On reaching that target, they would reach the Jackpot Round.

After beating five jackpot rounds, the lucky winners would win a holiday of a lifetime (or something like that) and be retired from the game. Contestants were selected from the Player’s Paddock as Anglia Television made five half-hour episodes in a single studio session. The booby prize – Lennie’s Losers’ Ladders – were only for show. In later episodes, a moon phase watch was awarded as a consolation prize.

Like Chain Letters, Lucky Ladders was rewarded with a decent run and it had a straightforward format. In my formative years I preferred it to Chain Letters now and again.

  • Original format by: Bob Stewart Productions (as Chain Reaction);
  • Produced by: Anglia Television, in association with Action Time and Basada Inc.;
  • Shown between: 21 March 1988 – 14 May 1993.

The Pyramid Game

As a standalone quiz show, The Pyramid Game goes back to 1973 when it was known as The $10,000 Pyramid in its home country. Hosted by Dick Clark, it spawned successful spin-offs around the world. In the UK, its fully fledged version was aired on the 05 September 1981, after ITN News and that week’s episode of Metal Mickey. A member of the public would play with a celebrity, with Kenny Everett and Sandra Dickinson featuring in LWT’s first standalone episode.

It had previously been an item in Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night (1978) and The Steve Jones Game Show (1979). Steve Jones would also present the LWT series and the subsequent TVS series. The TVS episodes were aired at 9.25am with the lure of a substantial jackpot.

The first part of the quiz was three rounds of the Front Game, which was followed by the Winners’ Circle. Each contestant would choose a subject from one of the screens (for example, In The Airport). Their celebrity partner would try and describe the items without mentioning the answer in 30 seconds. The contestant, on giving the correct answer, climbs up the pyramid after answering the next five categories correctly.

On reaching the Winners’ Circle, we see the business end of the game. The victor of the Front Game tries to win the jackpot in 60 seconds. Again, same rules apply, except the bottom part has three £25 screens with two £50 screens above and a £100 screen at the top.

In 2007, the series was revived by Challenge TV with Donny Osmond as its presenter. As for Steve Jones, he later worked for LBC and – like Timmy Mallett – has a collection of colourful spectacles.

  • Original format by: Bob Stewart;
  • Produced by: London Weekend Television (1978 – as part of Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night, 1979 – as part of The Steve Jones Game Show, 1981 – 84), TVS Television (1989 – 1990), Challenge TV (2007);
  • Shown between: 1978, 1979, 1981 – 1990, 2007;
  • Also presented by: Donny Osmond.

Crosswits

The second quiz show to migrate from another slot to the 9.25am slot was Crosswits. Based on Jerry Payne’s The Cross Wits, it was hitherto shown on Tuesdays at 3pm with original host Barry Cryer. By 1988, he was succeeded by its best known presenter Tom O’Connor. A member of the public would have a celebrity partner (for example, this gentleman playing along with Marc Labatt from The Chase). On the 25 April 1988, it replaced Lucky Ladders.

There are four rounds: an anagram round, a song round (where you would guess the song from the lyrics), and a mystery round. The fourth round was the Crossfire round which concluded each episode. If they could solve ten clues in 60 seconds, they would win the holiday. Failing that, a gold pen and pencil set. Runners-up prizes were more useful than in early episodes of Lucky Ladders: a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus and a Roget’s Dictionary.

When I rediscovered the episodes several years later on the Living satellite channel, they still held up well. Once again, a simple premise, nothing too flashy in the graphics department, and word power over animosity. Another one I would love to see revived.

  • Original format by: Jerry Payne (as The Cross Wits);
  • Produced by: Tyne Tees Television, in association with Cove Productions and Action Time;
  • Shown between: 03 September 1985 – 23 December 1998;
  • Also presented by: Barry Cryer.

Keynotes

Sometimes, a good coffee with the dulcet tones of a Bontempi organ could be a good way to spend the morning. Recapturing that scenario was Alastair Divall’s Keynotes, where the first nine notes of the signature tune ‘explain’ the premise in ten seconds. Like Runway, swish graphics were back in vogue. Not bad for a 25-year-old game show format.

The game has two teams: challengers (yellow) and champions (green). Each team had to try and guess the missing word from a piece of published music, which make up the clues to each of the nine notes in the puzzle song. Instead of holidays and dictionaries, cash prizes were at stake. The winning team would go on to the Bonus Round. The Bonus Round is similar to the Golden Medley round on Name That Tune. With 30 seconds they aim to get the nine notes and guess the puzzle song.

Unlike its contemporaries, Keynotes had a fairly short run (three and a half years). Alistair Divall was a lively unflappable host, who later presented A Question of Sex and diversified into voiceover work. I pity the person who had to clear the music for public performance. As for the person who played the puzzle song notes, that was the late great Keith Chegwin. I kid you not.

  • Original format by: Grundy Television, Australia;
  • Produced by: Reg Grundy Productions/HTV West;
  • Shown between: 13 March 1989 – 18 December 1992.

Born Lucky

Despite being Jeremy Beadle’s second contribution to ITV’s daytime output in this article, Born Lucky was a flop. Instead of a studio setting, the Born Lucky team set out their stall in shopping centres and bingo halls. The audience would participate in a three-in-a-row game with categories and letters along a board.

Though the show flopped, the idea of picking people from mass audiences would resurface in Barrymore. Despite suffering from a horrendous cold throughout its short run, I still went to school each morning. Hence my knowledge of the series being so patchy.

  • Produced by: Tyne Tees Television;
  • Shown between: 11 – 22 December 1989.

A brief-ish look back at the 1990s

From 1990, Crosswits, Chain Letters, Runway, Keynotes and Lucky Ladders continued into the new decade. By that year, The Time… The Place continued to coexist alongside This Morning. The 9.25am quiz show slot wasn’t going anywhere yet.

During the first week I started secondary school, a ‘new’ quiz show darkened our television screens. A quiz show where the answer was your question.

Jeopardy!

Recycling was pretty big in 1990: besides crushing cans for the odd Blue Peter appeal, the same applied to ageing quiz formats. One example was Jeopardy!, Merv Griffin’s quiz which was first aired on NBC on the 30 March 1964. In America, the quiz was huge, spawning tournaments. On our soggy little island, a modest success. It made its ITV début on the 9.25am slot on the 03 September 1990. On the 12 January 1983, the UK version was aired on Channel Four at 4.45pm, hosted by Derek New Faces Hobson.

The 1990 episodes were hosted by Chris Donat. For most of its life in the UK between 1991 and 1993, The Pyramid Game’s Steve Jones. There was three rounds: Jeopardy!, Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! – with the middle round having twice the points as the previous round. Hidden beneath each grid are Daily Doubles, where contests could risk a given number of points. These included Video and Audio daily doubles.

In the Final Jeopardy! round, all three contestants have to try and guess a random subject from the video wall. They would bet a given number of points before writing their answers down. This is set to schmaltzy music, which has become legendary in American popular cultural circles.

The UK version of Jeopardy! wasn’t a bad little game show, good enough for the 9.25am slot. It may have lacked the big prizes the American parent had but, hey, that display of vulgarity would take us into The Price Is Right territory.

  • Created by: Merv Griffin;
  • Produced by: Thames Television for the Channel Four Corporation (1983 – 84), TVS Television (1990 – 1992), Meridian Television (1993), Action Time in association with KingWorld Productions and Columbia Tristar Television for British Sky Broadcasting (1995 – 96);
  • Shown between: 13 January 1983 – 02 July 1984 (Channel Four), 03 September 1990 – 09 April 1993 (ITV), 24 July 1995 – 30 December 1996 (Sky One);
  • Also presented by: Derek Hobson (1983 – 84), Chris Donat (1990), Paul Ross (1995 – 96).

Win, Lose or Draw

Apart from Dotto, can you name another drawing-based quiz show besides Danny Baker’s Win, Lose, or Draw? Based on the Pictionary board game though not a direct copy, the original US version was launched in 1987. Its creators were Burt Reynolds and (Burt’s manager) Bert Convy.

The UK version was produced by Scottish Television and, from 2004, its holding company SMG Productions. From having a less glamorous slot, it was elevated to the dizzy heights of the 9.25am slot on the 07 September 1992. There are two teams with three people featuring a common and garden member of vox populi and two celebrities. They would try to draw a given phrase or item in the first three rounds. The opponents would try to guess what s/he is drawing.

In the final round, the contestant had to try and draw as many items in two minutes. Opponents would interrupt the artist by naming the object. If correct, s/he draws another object and this would carry on till the stopwatch ran out of time.

In 1994, thanks in no small part to Matthew Bannister’s revamp of BBC Radio One, Danny Baker spent more time at Egton House leaving a vacancy. Enter Shane Richie, whom in ’94 was best known for succeeding Peter Simon on Run The Risk. As he moved on to bigger and better things (Lucky Numbers, The Shane Richie Experience and EastEnders), Bob Mills took over in 1995. His stint was almost as long as Danny Baker’s, chairing the show till 1998.

Win, Lose or Draw also spawned two spin-offs in the UK. One was a teen version presented by Darren Day in 1993. In 2004, with a little help from Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, was Liza Tarbuck’s Win, Lose or Draw Late. This was an after-hours version of the game show with added sassiness.

  • Created by: Burt Reynolds and Bert Convy;
  • Presented by: Danny Baker (1990 – 93);
  • Produced by: Scottish Television (1990 – 98), SMG Productions (2004 – as Win, Lose or Draw Late);
  • Shown between: 30 January 1990 – 27 February 1998 – also as Teen Win, Lose or Draw in 1993 (for GMTV) and Win, Lose or Draw Late from 14 April – 22 October 2004;
  • Also presented by: Shane Richie (1994), Bob Mills (1995 – 98), Darren Day (1993 with Teen Win, Lose or Draw), Liza Tarbuck (2004 with Win, Lose or Draw Late).

Supermarket Sweep

If you could think of any early 1990s quiz show that occupied ITV’s 9.25am slot, this one would have got you 93 points in Pointless. Yes, Dale, everyone’s favourite televised trolley dash known as Supermarket Sweep.

The history of Supermarket Sweep deserves its own blog post. It was first aired on the 20 December 1965 on ABC in America using Food Fair supermarkets. When it came to ITV in 1993, Central Television’s Nottingham studios added a mock-up supermarket for its live audience. Firstly, its products were supplied by ASDA; in later episodes, by Somerfield. Three couples would answer questions based on groceries and other items in a typical supermarket.

The first round had easy questions based on groceries set to rhyme. The first person to answer correctly would find a given item in the supermarket for a wee bonus in the Mini Sweep. Each correct answer added seconds to the contestant’s clock which would be added to the final round (known as The Big Sweep).

In the final round, bonuses could be given for picking up inflatables, pricing tin cans, picking up Managers Special items and filling up eggs. The winner at the end of the round would pick three items that add to their prize in the Super Sweep. The jackpot was £2,000 before being raised to £5,000.

I was no fan of the programme as the phrase “dumbing down” sprung to my mind. Then again I had GCSEs to think of, hormones rampaging, and hoped to find a future Ms Stuart Vallantine back then.

I liked Dale Winton as a host, brilliant with the contestants, but the game show just wasn’t my cup of tea. Surprisingly for me, Supermarket Sweep took the world by storm. It became required viewing for students and, when Vanessa took over the 9.25am slot, became essential mid-afternoon viewing.

  • Original format by: Al Howard;
  • Produced by: Fremantle (UK) Productions and Central Independent Television (1993 – 1995; Carlton UK Productions from 1995 – 1997), Central/Grundy/Carlton (1998 – 2001), Talkback Thames, (2007; unaired episodes shown by Challenge TV in 2009);
  • Shown between: 06 September 1993 – 19 December 1997 (then as Dale’s Supermarket Sweep: 01 September 1998 – 06 September 2001, 12 February – 31 August 2007, and April – May 2009).

The final answer?

When Win, Lose or Draw‘s run on the 9.25 am slot finished on the 30 January 1998, Bob Mills’ show was succeeded by a repeat run of Supermarket Sweep. Three weeks later, the age of the 9.25 am ITV quiz show was over, thanks to another American import.

The confrontational chat show.

Instead of pitting contestants against each other on verbal reasoning and word power, it was divorcees throwing their dirty laundry in public. Ne’er do wells pouring their guts out over five million viewers. Tirades and tantrums over personal issues. A passion for one-person-up-man-ship instead of knowing the lyrics to Hound Dog.

The first move saw Vanessa Feltz’s chat show switched from afternoons to mid-mornings after Lorraine Kelly’s show on GMTV. After controversy with fake guests, September 1998 saw the replacement of Vanessa with Trisha. More of the same, though with a longer run from 1998 to 2004. In 2005 she would move her show to Channel Five.

Then came The Jeremy Kyle Show. Enough said. More of the same, though with a more emotionally charged audience akin to those seen on The Jerry Springer Show.

For ITV, the confessional chat show was a staple of its morning schedule for 21 years. So much so that viewers bombarded ITV this morning [10 June 2019] with complaints about their replacement programmes. Particularly the swapping of Tenable with Dickinson’s Real Deal.

Were they more irate about the swapping of two programmes? Or the absence of Jeremy Kyle shouting “and the DNA test results show…”?

Personally I am glad to see the back of The Jeremy Kyle Show. In its fifteen years on air it is as party to the denigration of working class people as some of our national newspapers. Likewise with programmes like Benefits Street which in my view come from the same spawn of Satan. They are part of a grooming process which has seen the UK denigrate anyone who haven’t had the same life chances as… say any of the Conservative Party leadership challengers.

Whether you love or loathe Tenable, I hope the stopgap leads to a rethink in ITV’s morning schedules. If I’m worried about losing brain cells I would like to exercise them with a new cerebral yet cheap and cheerful quiz show. Or at least anything the equal of the BBC’s afternoon quiz shows. Knowing my luck they’ll bring back Supermarket Sweep, but it would never be the same without Dale Winton, Dale.

Odds and Ends

A selection of other noteworthy and not-so-noteworthy gameshows from the 9.25am slot.

Password

In the last two years of this venerable panel game, Gordon Burns presented Password for Ulster Television between 1988. It has been shown on four of five of the UK’s main terrestrial channels. Could Warwick Davis refresh the format for Channel Five?

  • Created by: Goodson-Todman Productions;
  • Produced by: Associated Television (1963), BBC Two (1973), BBC One (1974 – 75), Thames Television in association with the Channel Four Corporation (1982 – 84), Ulster Television, in association with Mark Goodson Productions and Talbot Television (1987 – 88);
  • Shown between: 12 March 1963 – 10 September 1963 and 22 – 29 July 1988 (ITV), 24 March – 28 April 1973 (BBC Two), 07 January 1974 – 03 January 1975 (BBC One), 06 November 1982 – 14 May 1983 (Channel Four);
  • Also presented by: Shaw Taylor (1963), Brian Redhead (1973), Eleanor Summerfield (1974), Esther Rantzen (1974 – 75), Tom O’Connor (1982 – 83).

All Clued Up

“For those of you at home, here’s the dreaded Stinger…” Believe it or not, TVS Television’s quintessential Sunday afternoon quiz had a summertime appearance in the 9.25am slot from the 24 June to the 23 August 1991.

Hosted by David Hamilton, newlyweds played for a cash prize by guessing words or phrases. Firstly they guess a given word which forms part of the big puzzle (which has a given title or phrase). They choose a lit letter which forms part of the big puzzle via a big keyboard. Simple, yes, but not-so-simple if one of the letters is The Dreaded Stinger (players would miss a turn). Winning couples would go into a soundproof booth and complete as many words in a given time limit.

  • Produced by: TVS Television in association with Lorimar Telepictures and Action Time;
  • Shown between: 16 April 1988 – 30 August 1991.

Whose Baby?

A cheap and cheerful quiz designed to test the knowledge of the parents of celebrities in their formative years. Often shown in early prime time, it enjoyed a brief 9.25am run from the 01 to the 12 August in 1988. It was created by Eamonn Andrews of This Is Your Life and World of Sport fame.

  • Created by: Eamonn Andrews;
  • Presented by: Bernie Winters (1983 – 88);
  • Produced by: Thames Television;
  • Shown between: 17 January 1973 – 12 August 1988;
  • Also presented by: David Nixon (1973), Roy Castle (1977), Leslie Crowther (1982).

What’s My Line?

One of the earliest and most enduring quiz formats known to man where celebrities try to guess the contestant’s occupation through miming. From 1951 to 2011 it has had several panellists and a few presenters (most famously Eamonn Andrews). Angela Rippon’s episodes were aired at 9.25am throughout the remainder of August 1988.

  • Created by: Mark Goodson and Bill Todman;
  • Presented by: Eamonn Andrews (1951 – 1963, 1984 – 1987);
  • Produced by: BBC Television Service (1951 – 1963), BBC Two (1973 – 1974), Thames Television (1984 – 1990), Fremantle (UK) for HTV West and Meridian (1994 – 1996), BBC Four (2005), bbc.co.uk (2011);
  • Shown between: 16 July 1951 – 06 March 2011;
  • Also presented by: David Jacobs (1973 – 74), Penelope Keith (1988), Angela Rippon (1988 – 1990), Emma Forbes (1994 – 1996), Hugh Dennis (2005), Stephen K. Amos (2011).

Talkabout

Andrew O’Connor’s Talkabout had a simple premise: just talk about a given subject so long as you mention all ten of the computer’s key words. Supposing I wanted to talk about Pacer units, the subject area’s ten hidden hot words may include ‘Leyland’, ‘Workington’, ‘bus’, ‘National’ and ‘boneshaker’. If the contestants didn’t guess the other six hot words, their competing couple may try to guess them.

The winners would go on to a Bonus Round with two subjects to choose from. For much of its time, Andrew O’Connor’s gameshow was shown outside the hollowed 9.25am slot. In fact, the series made it to the morning slot on the 21 June 1993 – over a month before its last new episodes were shown. According to TV listings at the time, it was shown till the 03 September 1993. Possibly with its 9.25am debut being a repeat run of the series from 1990 onwards.

  • Created by: Mark Maxwell-Smith;
  • Presented by: Andrew O’Connor;
  • Produced by: D.L Taffner (UK) Ltd and Yorkshire Television;
  • Shown between: 30 October 1990 – 23 July 1993.

Jumble

Anagrams, with a celebrity partner. The first series began on the 12 March 1991 running till the 26 April 1991. The second series of Jumble made its 9.25am debut on the 27 July 1992 and ran for 30 episodes. Both seasons were hosted by Jeff Stevenson, a professional warm-up man and well-established comedian. In Only Fools and Horses, he is the comedian seen at The Old Nags Head during Rodney’s and Cassandra’s wedding episode (Little Problems).

  • Presented by: Jeff Stevenson;
  • Produced by: Anglia Television;
  • Shown between: 12 March 1991 – 04 September 1992.

Your Number Please

A number-based quiz show with a lurid set and keypads. Thankfully I was in secondary school when this was aired.

  • Presented by: Neil Buchanan;
  • Produced by: Thames Television/Atticus Television;
  • Shown between: 29 June – 24 July 1992.

Your points of view

Do you have any memories of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ 9.25 am quiz shows? Did you spend your dole years or bunk off school to watch Chain Letters? Did you take part in any of the aforementioned shows? We particularly welcome comments from former contestants and front-of-house and rear-of-house staff as well as viewers.

S.V., 10 June 2019.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s