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Your starter for ten

24 November 2021

“I’ve started so I’ll finish” is just one of the many catch phrases originating from a TV quiz show. This phrase comes, of course, from Mastermind, widely regarded as the most rigorous and intellectual British quiz show. Quiz shows were originally broadcast on the radio. The Inter-regional Spelling Competition, part of BBC Radio’s Children’s Hour slot, was the first and was broadcast in 1937. In the 1950s, successful radio formats were transferred to television. The earliest quizzes mostly had an educational style, with a panel of experts answering questions and included The Brains Trust (BBC, 1951-61), Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? (BBC, 1952-59) and Top of the Form (BBC, 1953-75), a general knowledge team quiz for school children.

In 1955, with the introduction of ITV, game and quiz shows changed to an entertainment format. Take Your Pick (1955-63) was the first British television show to offer money, alongside Double Your Money (1955-68) – both shows launched within ITV’s first few days of broadcasting.

By 1957, there were eight different game and quiz shows per week including ‘Beat the Clock’, The 64,000 Question which had a top prize of 64,000 sixpences; Twenty-One (1958) and a musical quiz, Spot the Tune.  

Fast forward to 2021 and our love of game and quiz shows hasn’t diminished. Some of the longest running shows are also some of our favourites. 

  • The Chase, first aired in 2009, where contestants play against a professional quizzer, known as the ‘chaser’, to prevent them from winning a cash prize.
  • Countdown. This fast paced, against the clock, word and number quiz was first broadcast in November 1982. Seventy series have been broadcast since its debut and with over 6,000 episodes, Countdown is one of the longest-running game shows in the world.
  • Pointless, where contestants are tasked with finding obscure answers to questions. The series began airing in August 2009.
  • Last but not least, The Weakest Link. This show first aired in 2000 and probably has one of the most infamous of catch phrases “you are the weakest link, goodbye.” 

If you’ve noticed new interference to your Freeview that’s stopping you from enjoying your favourite quiz show – there’s a small chance it may be due to mobile signals upgrades, rather than a quiz master hiding inside your TV set.  We’re here to help, contact us on 0808 13 13 800 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).   

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