Chain Letters

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== Videos ==
== Videos ==
<div class=video><object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>''First part of a Beadle episode''</div>
<div class=video><object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>''A whole Beadle episode from 1988'' </div>
<div class=video><object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>''The start of the David (yep, David) Spikey era.''</div>
<div class=video><object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>''The start of the David (yep, David) Spikey era''</div>
[[Category:Tyne Tees Productions]]
[[Category:Tyne Tees Productions]]

Revision as of 20:25, 5 October 2008



Jeremy Beadle (1987)

Andrew O'Connor (1988)

Allan Stewart (1989-90)

Ted Robbins (1991-95)

Vince Henderson (1996)

Dave Spikey (1997)


Tyne Tees in association with Barry & Enright Productions and Action Time for ITV, 7th September 1987 to 1997


Three contestants amassed as much money as possible by being able to change words letter by letter into new words. And that is basically it.

The first round was Chain Letters. Each contestant was given a word and 45 seconds to make as many changes as possible, with £5 for each chain made. However, the only stipulations were that you couldn't 'do' proper nouns and you couldn't change the same letter twice in a row (i.e. If you had BALL, you could change it to HALL but you couldn't then change it to CALL, you'd need to change another letter first). For some obscure reason, whoever was winning at the end of each round was invited to 'win a sofa' by the ubiquitous theme tune singing people [it was "winner so far" - Ed.].

The next round is the Booby Trap round. The contestants have a choice of words and are invited to pick one of the letters in that word which will give them loads of freedom to change many times to create many new words. However, the evil opponents secretly wrote down a word which that contestant could possibly change it to. Once they've written it down, the contestant changes the letter. If it's a word then they get the points. Whoo! However, if they so wish, they could double the points if they changed it again, and they could redouble it too. However, if they pick a word that another person has picked, immediate animosity ensues as the points go to them instead. Ha.

After the break was a round that changed depending on the year and host but all of which was basically the same thing.

Dave Spikey, living the dream

The final round was the incredibly fair Tie the Leader round where it didn't matter if you were behind by virtue of not being as good as the rest - one question could make you joint first! A word would be shown as well as a clue whilst Wordsworth highlighted the letter to be changed (or the + symbol, meaning add a letter or the - symbol meaning take a letter away). When you buzzed in, Wordsworth would show you what the word's worth (geddit?): 10, 20, 40 or Tie the Leader.

Whoever had the most points at the end went through to the Superchain, the losers went home with however much money they had accumulated up into then or (strangely) a CD player in later series. So you were better off about 10 years ago then...

In the Superchain, you'd be given a 4 letter word, Wordsworth would highlight a letter and you'd have to change it to make a word. If you did it 10 times within a minute you'd win £1000, otherwise you got £50 for each chain plus the amount of money you'd won in the game.


Mark Maxwell-Smith

Theme music

Mike Moran came up with one of those unusual theme tunes that described the game before the show had even started:

Take a word...
Change a letter...
Do it again...
And you've got a chain!
That's how you pla-a-a-y Chain Letters,
Chain Letters.

Theme music of Chain Letters


Word verification was handled by the Longman Dictionary of the English Language.

The Andrew O'Connor and Allan Stewart versions of the show appeared in peak time.

Most of Dave Spikey's on screen jokes were written by Peter Kay (star of the comedy series Phoenix Nights)

In an out-take, Dave Spikey once got stuck in the big 'Chain Letters' revolving sign.

In another re-take, a taxi driver from Manchester playing the Superchain round changed the R in CART to CANT, then changed the A... you can guess the rest.

The format of the Superchain thing at the end changed towards the end of the programme's run. Apparently, contestants were struggling with Wordsworth's random selection of letters to change - so they made it more predictable. Contestants were told beforehand (although it was never announced on screen) that the letters would be changed in order - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 1st etc. As a result, the Superchain contestant could be constantly thinking ahead.


A whole Beadle episode from 1988
The start of the David (yep, David) Spikey era


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