Connections (1)

Line 45: Line 45:
"What's the connection?"
"What's the connection?"
"No, that's not our connection..."
(If neither contestant managed to find the connection), "...So I'll have to ask Charles to tell us the connection."
(If neither contestant managed to find the connection), "...So I'll have to ask Charles to tell us the connection."

Revision as of 22:24, 17 April 2010



Sue Robbie (original host)

Richard Madeley

Simon Potter


Marian Chanter (with Richard Madeley)

Voiceover: Charles Foster


Granada for ITV, 1985-90

Later series co-produced by Action Time


Typical quiz in the ITV summer-replacement-for-Blockbusters-in-the-afternoon style. This one was rather more entertaining and enjoyable than the rest - admittedly not quite as good or long-running as Blockbusters, but certainly a decent enough show. Two contestants (initially teens, adults in later series) buzz on a question, earn points, reveal picture, try and spot connection, win bonus. (This round was called 'Connect The Clue'). Also, in the Sue Robbie and Richard Madeley eras at least, there was a 'Find The Figure' round, in which a correct answer revealed either a number or a mathematical symbol: the sum went in a clockwise direction around the board, ending with an 'equals' sign, and the contestants had to buzz in to give the answer to the sum, which was concealed behind the centre square. Madeley used to claim that he hated that round, because he had apparently struggled with his maths exams - as if we cared.

The winner went through to an end game ('Link The Letters') where they'd be given 45 seconds (represented by 45 lights beneath the game board that would gradually light up) they'd try to answer eight questions. If they got one right then one of the screens would reveal a letter (the first letter of the answer) - Sue Robbie would always very sensibly remind the contestant beforehand to 'keep your eye on the board'. After the eight questions, whatever time they had left the contestant would use to try and find the mystery eight letter word, arranged clockwise, much more difficult with some of the letters missing and without knowing where the word started. They did change this in a later version of the show by having the eight letters arranged in circular form, but still without revealing where it actually started. Scarily. During the early Robbie-series, contestants would only be allowed one chance to guess the word, with the inevitable result that some words, especially those that were a combination of two four-letter words, would be incorrectly identified (such as 'Backdraw' instead of 'Drawback' and 'Lamphead' instead of 'Headlamp'). Thankfully, the rule was changed in later series to allow more than one guess - but even then, success was certainly not guaranteed, especially on one occasion, when a Scottish contestant had to identify the word as 'Mahogany' and he, not unnaturally, given his nationality, thought it was 'Hogmanay' and could offer no further guesses. Bizarrely, although the 'first letter of each answer' rule applied throughout all the series, only Robbie ever seemed to make any regular mention of it - Madeley and Potter very rarely, if ever, did so. During the Sue Robbie era, the winners stayed on with the chance to play up to four 'Link The Letters' games to win prizes of increasing value, the top one usually being a worldwide holiday (rather like the Gold Runs on Blockbusters). During the Madeley- and Potter-eras, the game usually only served to increase the contestants' scores, rather than win them prizes.

During the Simon Potter era, the end game (by then known as 'The Final Connection') involved being given the first and last of eight pictures (normally of famous people) on the board, then, with the help of up to three clues, having to identify the next picture in the sequence, which would have a connection of some sort (such as a shared surname) with the pictures before and after it. (One example was: Tony Hancock; Sheila Hancock; John Thaw and so on until the final one, which was Sid James).

Noted for a set that looked quite hi-tech and very eighties. Quite cool actually.

The quiz always seemed to work better with student, rather than adult, contestants, and Sue Robbie was always the best presenter - somehow, neither Richard Madeley nor Simon Potter (Madeley in particular) ever seemed quite right for it. It was certainly no bad thing that Madeley only lasted one series on the show - however, Potter, to be fair, did improve somewhat in his final series.

Key moments

Good, tense end game.

During one of the Sue Robbie series, the first two pictures on the board in the 'Connect The Clue' round were 'Sue Robbie' and 'Throwing a punch'. When asked to find the connection, the teenage contestant responded, "They all have trouble in nightclubs!" Sue was not impressed and answered, "You cheeky thing - no, that's not our connection!" before moving swiftly onto the next question. (The actual connection was 'Names of puppets', 'Sue' being as in Soo from 'The Sooty Show).


(Sue Robbie): "Hello - and a very warm welcome from all the 'Connections' team!"

"What's the connection?"

"No, that's not our connection..."

(If neither contestant managed to find the connection), "...So I'll have to ask Charles to tell us the connection."

(Before the 'Link The Letters' round): "You've got fifty seconds in which to do it - keep your eye on the board - and your connection time!" (Simon Potter came out with a similar catchphrase, namely: "Your 'Connections' clock!")

"Let's see if you're right!"

(If a contestant failed to 'Link The Letters'): "Bad luck - let's fill in the letters and see what the word should read...."

"Charles - don't keep us in suspense - tell us what he/she's won!"

"Well done - you've made the connection!" or "Found the figure" or "Linked the letters" - depending obviously on the round concerned.

(Richard Madeley, when reading out a question as the 'time's up' buzzer sounded): "I've I'll stop!"


Host Sue Robbie also did Saturday Morning show TX with Tony Slattery and was last seen doing insurance adverts with Bill Dod (of Timekeepers and Aldi fame). Another notable point about Sue was that she was one of the first female quiz hosts to present on her own, since up until the mid-1980's, the quiz host role was almost entirely male-dominated. She was soon to be followed by the likes of Debbie Greenwood (First Class), Angela Rippon (Masterteam and What's My Line?), Penelope Keith (also What's My Line?) and Sarah Kennedy (Busman's Holiday), among others.

Marian Chanter co-hosted in the year following her success on The Krypton Factor. She presented the part of the show in which she was somewhere in the UK associated with a famous person and she would give clues related to that person in order for viewers to write in with the answer and win one of 5 prizes, which may have been the 'Connections' goody-bags that contestants were also given. Marian did an excellent job in this slot, which was one of the few good points of an otherwise substandard series.

During the Sue Robbie-era, all contestants were given a 'Connections Camera' and the money that they won went to a charity of their choice. During the Richard Madeley-era, the contestants won a 'goody-bag', and the 'money for charity' arrangement continued. When Simon Potter took over, losing contestants would get a mini-TV and the winners would play for money in the end game - initially £1,000, later £400.

John Huntley, the producer for early series of the show was also a presenter and producer of Granada Reports at the same time. He later became head of news at Granada before leaving the company in 1992.

Originally produced at Granada's own digs in Quay Street, Manchester, later series were recorded at a studio in Kearsley (between Bolton and Manchester).

Bizarrely, a US pilot was shot for this in 2006.

Theme music

Composed by Bill Connor

The opening titles from the Sue Robbie era


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