Nick Owen


Pipe Dream, Talbot Television and TVS for ITV, 28 February to 30 May 1989 (14 episodes in 1 series)


Nick Owen has come a long way since hosting TV-AM all those years ago. There's Hitman, and there's... and there's... and there's... hmmm. [What about Sporting Triangles? Actually, I see your point - Ed]

From the tagline, "the show where they get the answers before the questions!" you know this is going to be a tedious observational quiz. And you'd be right! But it was a quiz which had quite an interesting final round.

Three people would watch a clip which was basically a three minute history lesson on a somebody or an event or somesuch. What then transpired was a quickfire quiz with the last person to get a certain amount right going home.

Round two had another clip but this was a little different. Each player had a certain amount of hitmen on a battlefield (one extra for whoever had got into the round first), and for every question correct, they could take out one of your opponents hitmen. Exciting strategy based contest? Erm, no, as the winner was the person who doesn't lose all their lives.

Round three however tried something a little different (but by 'different' we don't necessarily mean 'good'.) The player would stand with his back to a large screen. On that screen were a number of rows. These would fill up randomly with Hitmen so there would be between 1 and 5 in each one. Within a minute, the player would answer questions on the two clips they had seen earlier in the show. First they picked a column and for every answer they got correct a hitman would disappear. If they complete a column they won £1000, and they could clear up to three columns. However, here's the sneaky bit, the player doesn't know who many questions are needed to clear a column but everyone at home and in the audience does. Tremendous.

BANG!!! There goes another one.

In fairness, 'Hitman' was at least good-natured and easy to play along with, and with the additional benefit of a pleasant and affable host who, let's face it, couldn't do unpleasant and inaffable if he tried. Not a classic, then, but not terrible either. At a stretch, we could probably put it in the 'proverbial curate's egg' category - good, but only in parts.

This show is not to be confused with 'The Hitman and Her', a late eighties music show starring Pete Waterman and Michela Strachan introducing quality acts like Sonia each week. We know which one we'd rather watch.


"...Now, in this show, we give you the answers before we ask you the questions - and those answers come in the form of a story..."

"So now, stand by for your questions on (whatever)..."

"...But if you buzz in and get an answer wrong, you have to sit out for the next question..."

(Before the end game): "That sound easy? Well, here's the catch - you're not going to be able to see the columns, because I'm going to turn you round..."


Based on the US show by Jay Wolpert.

Theme music

Ed Welch


The announcer, Rod Roddy, signed off the final episode of the American original with: "If you would like to be a contestant on Hitman... FORGET IT!"


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