George Marshall


Channel X for BBC 1, 15 November 1993 to 26 January 1994 (32 episodes)


Probably only watched by students after lunch, and possibly created just because no-one had made a quiz show beginning with X before. Noted for its cringeworthy, yet memorable, catchphrases (see below).

Like Blockbusters, players (in this case, three individuals) competed for "letters" which were also the initial letter of the answers to the questions corresponding to them. Unlike Blockbusters, there was no board to speak of - merely, a series of slots in your desk where you inserted your letters (Perspex rods). You could either get one from the board, or steal them off your opponent. The ultimate aim was to get the longest contiguous series of letters (why, rather like "XYZ"), rather than having the most letters.

Not astoundingly original by any means, but it should have been given more of a chance to develop a cult following.

Key moments

The (in)famous consolation prizes to all losing players - the XYZ mug tree (postage and packing extra).


Before the game starts: "Letters Play!"

During play: "It don't mean a thing if it ain't in a string"

At the end of the programme: "ABC-ing you!"


Devised by Simon and Amanda Ross.


Apparently, the programme was developed at short notice to fill the space vacated by the cancellation of BBC soap flop Eldorado, which was repeated at lunchtimes.

Host George Marshall is an impressionist by trade, his party piece being Sean Connery.


Excerpt of an episode


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