Trivial Pursuit



Rory McGrath (1990)

Tony Slattery (1993-4)


Initial for BBC1, 4 September to 18 December 1990 (16 episodes in 1 series)

Action Time for The Family Channel, 1993-4 (2 series)


Two shows based on the same game yet totally different.

The Rory McGrath show was closer to actually playing the board game itself - indeed, the first round was just a very sped up first-on-the-buzzer romp where if you got the question right you gained control of the die. The person with the least bits of pie went out but they were allowed to take something from the studio home with them (there many pieces of strange arty objects just lying about).

Rory McGrath posed the questions on the original version

The three people left played (yes!) the obligatory one minute round on the subject of their choice (of the main six), least amount of correct answers, or the slowest if two people scored equal lowest went out. Everyone always went for Science or Entertainment.

Then the two left had to try and build a bridge to the central hub. If they got a question right, one square went their colour. If they made it to the middle they could then start knocking down their opponents bridge. When the bell went whoever was closest to the middle won.

Rory McGrath in front of the Trivial Pursuit board.

To win the big prize, they had to do a complete circuit round the outside of the board within two minutes. If they landed on a question they had to get it correct before they were allowed to roll again so they wanted to land on as many white 'free go' squares as possible, as if they had the choice! Strange show but quite nice.

Quiz me do

The Tony Slattery version was totally different and relied far more on hitting a buzzer and knowledge than the "strategy-Lite" of the McGrath version. Three people attempted to fill their 'pie' as quickly as possible. Each of the six segments was split into two and the general rule was that if you got a question correct you could decide which colour would come next. One difference between the McGrath and Slattery versions though is that the Slattery version used different subjects, there was a Media round and a strange round which didn't look like the subjects came from a proper set.

Sorry, but he couldn't look more like a smug git if he tried.

In the last round, the Control round, whoever buzzed in and answered a question could decide what subject was next and had the question to themselves. They could keep going like this until they got one wrong, in which case it was open to anyone and if they got it then they took the control. This would keep going until time ran out, in which case whoever had filled the most bits won, or someone filled their pie in which case they won. If someone won and there was a bit of time time left, the other two could keep going and win a glass bowl.

The winner went through to the end game to win a holiday, they had to get one question correct from each subject within a minute to win. Again, quite a nice, switch-your-brain-off kinda show.


We have no information about who devised the Rory McGrath version.

The Tony Slattery version was adapted from a Martindale Hillier Entertainment programme, broadcast on The Family Channel in the USA. The broadcast credit was "Devised by Wink Martindale, Bill Hillier, Peter R Berlin, Rob Fielder."

Web links

Wikipedia entry


Rory McGrath holds all the cards
Rory McGrath holds all the.. oh, you've heard that one


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