Finders Keepers (1)



Richard Stilgoe


BBC 1, 20 February 1981 to 1 March 1985 (42 episodes in 5 series)


General lyricist/wit/reporter bod Stilgoe hosts this game of battleships on a 7x7 grid with two sides of three kids each trying to sink each other's fleet. Noted for its BBC Model B graphics for the game board, as well as the constant use of the phonetic alphabet to avoid confusion between letters. When the contestants found their squares on the board, they would be asked general knowledge questions, which included picture and music rounds and pieces of film.

In later series, there was a celebrity guest in disguise in the audience, with his/her name given as an anagram (one of Richard Stilgoe's specialities!) and the teams had to guess who it was by solving the anagram and/or asking the person yes/no questions. The teams also tried to defeat the guest on a general knowledge question they had brought along in order to gain extra points.

In most series, there were also 'Pathetic Prizes' - as Stilgoe rightly called them! Winning teams in the last series simply got lunchboxes! (Eat your heart out, Blankety Blank!)

Overall, an enjoyable and good-natured, if fairly basic, kids' show, although admittedly, this was mostly down to Stilgoe's wit, wisdom and anagrams! It could perhaps have gone on for another series or two, but it was probably due to the arrival of new kids' quizzes such as Beat The Teacher, Secret's Out and First Class that it finished when it did. Still, c'est la vie!


Stilgoe used to make up a witty song every week to introduce each contestant in turn, in between renditions of the main theme song.

To give a few examples of the anagrams of the celebrity guests' names, the late Percy Thrower was 'Cherry Powter', Maggie Philbin was 'Bigleg Hipiman', Johnny Ball was 'Jyll Hobann' and Suzi Quatro was 'OU Quiz Star'. Oh, and we were once given an anagram of 'Richard Stilgoe' in Radio Times - this was 'Giscard O'Hitler' - apparently this was not too controversial at the time.


"Foxtrot seven"

Theme music

Performed by Stilgoe himself at the start, tapping away at a slimline synthesizer:

Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers
Finders Keepers, Where's that square?
Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers
Buzz the bleepers to find that square.
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Roger and out!


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