Celador and Thames for ITV, 7 June 1989 to 22 July 1991 (17 episodes in 2 series)
In the beginning...
Once upon a time, there was an ITV programme called Ultra Quiz where contestants were taken around the world. Contestants were eliminated along the way, so the better you performed the more of the trip you got to see.
The cheaper, studio-version of a similar idea was presented by Chris Tarrant. This lively knockout quiz relied on audience participation using the "audience voting" systems that had been developed at the time. 200 studio members had a keypad and voted on the correct answer to a multiple-choice question with four possibilities provided. A wrong answer at any stage meant you were eliminated for the rest of the game. Before the game started, Tarrant would insist on meeting "Our Four To Follow", ie the audience-members who (supposedly) had the most potential. This certainly wasn't the best part of the show and, if anything, it seemed to detract from the quiz itself.
After the question was read out, the audience had 10 seconds to register their vote into the computer. The number of people who voted for each alternative was then displayed. The main comedy of the show was provided by this. Often, the first question was so easy everyone in the audience got it right. Except one. And the computer could tell who that person was and in which seat they were sitting. How we laughed at them!
Ten to one
The questions would keep coming until the number of people had been reduced to ten or less. These contestants would then compete in Round 2. If, at by the end of the sixth question, there were still more than ten people in the game, the fastest ten people to enter their answer into the computer would go through.
Round 2 was much the same with about four questions, right answers were worth £50 each, and that the person who locked in their answer fastest to the final question went through to the final game. In this, the contestant would have to put four things in order, such as "Chronological order of Battles of WWII". This is quite tough given that there are 24 possible combinations. If they did this correctly, they won £1000.
All the other contestants in the audience did this as well; if the finalist got the answer wrong, then the £1000 was split between all the contestants in the audience who got it right. So you might end up with 33 contestants each winning £30.30, or whatever.
The show ran for two series and was one of the more inventive quizzes that ITV has done in recent times.
On one memorable occasion, the question was something mathematical (such as "Roughly, how many seconds are there in one day?"). Of the 170 people still left in the competition by this time, 166 opted for the third answer and were feeling quite smug. Unfortunately, 166 people got it wrong. So Round 1 stopped there and then, and the four remaining contestants went into Round 2. And half the audience that evening were from insurance companies... UKGSP reader Gary Male says "I still remember Chris Tarrant trying desperately to fill the time".
The terrible, terrible opening sequence, featuring a hip-hop dancer, road worker, blue-stocking secretary, nightclub dancer and little old lady. Still, at least the countdown music and "let's look at the answers" jingle was nice.
"...So first, let's meet our 'Four To Follow'..."
"[An amount of time] of your lives!"
"Let's see how you voted..."
"But most of you will leave here tonight with absolutely... nothing!"
Devised by the Triviameister General (author of Journolists, That Book etc.), Mitchell Symons, and Chris Kwantes. It subsequently went on to be sold to France (Que Le Meilleur Gagne), Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Belgium (where it's known as Honderdsteboven) and Hungary (Szazbol Egy). After a 20 year break, the French version was revived in 2012, with its original host.
Mitch writes to UKGameshows Towers thus: "Incidentally, it made us - and Celador - a lot of money!" Hope the commoners are paying their tithes on time, Mitch.
Remade on the cheap by Channel 5 in the form of Whittle.