Finders Keepers (2)




Andrew O'Connor (non-broadcast pilot)

Neil Buchanan (1991-96) (and Diane Youdale in 1996)

Jeff Brazier (2006)


Voiceover: Jeremy Stockwell (1991-6)


World Wide International Television in association with TVS for ITV, 12 April 1991 to 1 April 1992 (26 episodes in 2 series)

as Celebrity Finders Keepers, TVS for ITV, 31 August to 5 October 1991 (6 episodes, as part of Motormouth)

World Wide International Television in association with Scottish Television for ITV, 23 March 1993 to 6 August 1996 (47 episodes in 4 series)

The Foundation for CITV, 6 January to 14 April 2006 (14 episodes in 1 series)


"Whose house is it?"

"Scottish Television's House!" what children didn't cry during the ultimate kids fantasy gameshow.

Mr. Buchanan jollying down the stairs.

The show usually starts with teams playing a memory game called Find and Keep where Neil would give a description of either a person, animal, occupation, etc. and then each team would pick a number from 1 to 8 to see if it corresponds to the description that was being described by Neil, if they get it right, they earn the right to raid a room as well as scoring points.

Have a look at the numbers on the board and tell me which table you want.

After that, the real fun begins in a huge house, and hidden inside each of the rooms is an object where Neil would give the teams a clue to what it is and they have to find the object against a 30 second time limit by causing as much mess as possible whilst machines blow around lots of paper and fake snow and stuff. A memorable recurring object from the show is the big blue arrow that was shown on the screens to the audience to indicate the location of the item to be found. If the team successfully found the object within the time, they score points, if not, those points are given to the opposing team.

Yes, you're looking at the item I'm pointing at right now. Now, get it and stop complaining!

One of the rooms in the house was the "Fantasy Room" this room changed every week, usually a laboratory, a castle dungeon, a pirate ship, that sort of thing. The team who got to play in that room had to play "Jeremy's Joker" which usually meant raiding the room while wearing a silly costume, if they found the object, they'd win a special star prize.

Don't ask! We know what they're doing.

The team that did the best went through to the Super Search, a sort of Treasure Hunt throughout the eight rooms in the house and if they can find all eight objects within three minutes (four in later series) they usually win a trip to Alton Towers or something. If not, at least the losers go home with a Finders Keepers Goodie Paaaaaack!

It's Goodie, It's Moody, It's the Finders Keepers Goodie Paaaaaack!!!

New location, New format

In 1996, Nigel Pickard, who had been head of children's programming at TVS, jumped the sinking ship to join Scottish Television, taking Art Attack, How 2 and Finders Keepers with him. When the show was moved from Maidstone to Glasgow, all they did was dismantle the set, pack it up, place it onto lorries, and take it up north. The only problem was that the studio in Glasgow was about 2ft lower, meaning... well, you can guess.

The show's format was given a massive revamp for its final series, Diane Youdale (a.k.a. - Jet from Gladiators) joined Neil Buchanan as host, gone was the fun memory game and it was replaced by kids finding things in "The Garage" to gain a head start in the "newly improved" rooms raids, which we will get to later, two rounds would usually be played before the third round called Pit Stop, which involved wading through a thick pool of "motor oil" to find mechanics' tools to match up on the wall.

The team that found all the mechanics' tools in the Pit Stop round gains a head start and gets the right to choose to either raid the upstairs or downstairs rooms in the "newly improved" rooms raids, which is now basically a race between the two teams to see who can get each object in the four rooms from left to right first to win their place in the unchanged Super Search.

Now, we don't mind programme makers trying to give shows a fresh new flair, but you have to update it the right way so that broadcasters are confident enough to keep that show on the air for the next few years. Look at Get Your Own Back for example, they changed the format and revealed a new look, which paid off for the Beeb and lasted a few more years. Finders Keepers on the other hand dive bombed into the pacific ocean and was never seen again. First of all, the new format is exhausting because both teams were raiding at the same time to find the objects and there is no time limit for any of the room raids which meant that the raids could last for as long as 10 minutes. Secondly, the host(s) just gives them the object they're suppose to find rather than give them clues as to what the object is, which gets rid of the fun part of the show in trying to guess what it is. Finally, there was an overuse of wacky and cartoony sound effects, which had about the right amount of use in previous series, but this series, they were used like nearly every 2-3 seconds, which was absolutely unbearable to get through.

There is one little bit of good that came out of this series and that was the addition of Diane Youdale as co-host, she was pretty decent as host for this series and it aired around the same time as the ninth series of You Bet!, which she was also a co-host on, but it was not enough to save Finders Keepers from the axe, which was dropped after this series. At least Neil still has Art Attack to keep him busy.

Back to Basics for the New Millennium

The show made a surprise return at the start of 2006 and pretty much went back to the original format that we know so well, but this time, hosted by Jeff Brazier. It is quite a relief that they reimplemented the show's original form and not the shark jumping format from 1996, but Jeff Brazier, as much as an enthusiastic host as he is, didn't really hit the right notes that Neil Buchanan had.

The revival not only didn't last, but was moved around everywhere. At first, it started at a simple 4.30pm Friday slot on ITV1, but before long was moved to Saturday Showdown, a show where somehow Jeff Brazier got to appear every week as 'special guest'. Then after just a few episodes, it got moved to the digital graveyard of the CITV Channel, before finally disappearing altogether.


"It could be anywhere!" (Obvious statement, really.)

"Look high, look low!"

"Let's raid the room!" - 1991 to 1996

Host: "Whose house is it?" Audience: "Our House!"

Host: "What time is it?" Audience: "Room-raiding time!"

Announcer: "And here is the owner of the Finders Keepers house...Neil Buchanan!"


Based on the US Nickelodeon show of the same name.

Theme music

1991-96: Simon Etchell

2006: Mr Miller and Mr Porter


A non-broadcast pilot hosted by Andrew O'Connor was filmed on the set of the US Syndicated version in 1988.

From Hollywood, the non-broadcast UK pilot with Andrew O'Connor

The show's original run started out as a Spring replacement for Fun House on Fridays for the first series, then it aired on Wednesdays for the second series to fill in for "said show" when they were taking a year off the screens, the subsequent four series went out on Tuesdays.

Six celebrity specials were aired in 31 August to 5 October 1991 as part of the final series of Saturday morning show Motormouth which was also made by TVS. The shorter version of the game featured two sets of a celebrity paired up with a child and the two teams had two minutes to raid four rooms each. The winner was simply the one who had scored the most rooms in the two minutes. Celebrity contestants included Steve Johnson, Andrew O'Connor, Gaby Roslin, Pat Sharp, Frank Bruno, Alex Langdon, Andy Crane, Daniella Westbrook and Timmy Mallett who was joined by Sonia - not the singer but his Auntie Sonia! After this short run Mousetrap took its place.


A board game was produced, which for some reason used the logo from the American version on the box.

Image:Finders keepers game TVS.jpg


An episode from the first series

Web links

Wikipedia entry


To correct something on this page or post an addition, please complete this form and press "Send":
If you are asking us a question, please read our contact us page and FAQ first.

Name: E-mail:   
A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in