Johnny Ball Games



Johnny Ball


BBC1, 4th January 1980 and 2nd January 1981 (2 specials)


Edutainment ahoy! Proving how much of a gulf there is between junior and senior television, this was a pre-Fun and Games attempt by Johnny Ball Esq. to tax the brain and wow the eye with puzzles, songs, dancing and games - something akin to the board game Mindtrap as imagined through the medium of a Rolf Harris TV special.

A quartet of all-singing all-dancing singers (and dancers) introduce the show via the gift of song, and the momentum is prevented from hitting a complete stop by various blasts of inappropriate and over-loud music from the in-house band, and even a dance number incorporating JB himself.

Three nuclear families - labelled with circle, square or triangle name badges - are put through a series of physical games, mental brainteasers and physical puzzles, cajoled by one of the dancers lurking in the background to offer support and generally gurn like a loony.

There appears to have been some kind of ongoing rebus puzzle where squares were removed whenever a right answer was given, a bit like Concentration.

Amazingly, the whole charade was run again the year after, and seems to have dropped the families and brought together teams from Lewisham Leisure Centre and Birmingham Athletic Institute.

Theme music

If you've got a high IQ
If you can't add 2 and 2
Either way, this show's for you
Johnny Ball Games!
If you're 5 or 93
If you've half an hour free
Join in with the family
Johnny Ball Games!
Johnny Ball Games!
Johnny Ball Games!


The families Circle, Triangle and Square..for the purposes of this show, you understand.
Either a Rebus puzzle or proof that they didn't have much budget for the numbered squares.
Somewhere within this mess, there is a puzzle.


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