Angela Rippon


BBC 1, 17 April to 14 June 1990 (32 episodes)


A quiz but with a sort of tennis theme. The questions were always general knowledge or compartmentalised into categories and scoring system was based on tennis - that is, 15-30-40-Game. This was the show's main attraction, it would seem.

Thanks to Niall Laverty, a former contestant, for this expanded explanation:

Matchpoint was made by the same production team as Masterteam, also presented by Angela Rippon.

The show opened with a non-scoring round, where each team answered questions alternately. Once a player had given an incorrect answer, he/she dropped out of that round. This continued until only one of the teams had lost both of its players. All of this was just to determine which team would start Round 1! Why not just toss a coin or have a backstage mud-wrestling bout?

In Round 1 - The Doubles Round - there were two gadgets that the teams could use: Aces and Lets. At the start of the set (of between 3 and 5 games), each team had 2 Aces and 2 Lets.

Ace - playing an Ace meant that the question was passed over to the opposing team. If they answered correctly, they scored a point. If they answered incorrectly, your team scored a point.

Let - playing a Let meant that the question was 'dropped' without either team scoring a point. Another question was asked in its place.

A correct answer earned your team a point, an incorrect answer gave a point to the opposing team. Points were allocated as in tennis, i.e. 15, 30, 40, game. If both teams reached 40 (i.e. Deuce), the next point scored would give the relevant team Advantage. To avoid a prolonged series of Deuce-Advantage-Deuce-Advantage points, the game ended when either team reached their second Advantage point.

In Round 2 - The Singles Round - the team that lost Round 1 went first. They had a choice of 5 topics, and could select who would answer the questions. A correct answer gave them a point, an incorrect answer gave a point to their opponents. If they scored enough points to win the 'game', then they could nominate one of their opponents and also specify which topic he/she would answer questions on. However, if they lost the first game, then the second team could select the topic and player themselves - quite a tactical advantage. If the first four games of this round were shared, the final topic was played between both teams, using the buzzers.

If the first two 'sets' (Rounds 1 and 2) were shared, then a tie-break round was played. Questions were asked on the buzzer for 90 seconds, with a point being awarded for a correct answer, and no penalty for an incorrect answer (although the question could be offered to the other team). In the round, the tennis points scoring system was dropped, with 'normal' points being allocated (1, 2, 3...).

The series was won by The Wirral Aces. Their prize was a week in David Lloyd's La Manga tennis resort in Spain and a pair of tickets for the 1990 Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Unusually, the show was broadcast at 13:50 each weekday, and repeated the following weekday morning at 10:10.

Key moments

The voiceover judge (Charles Nove, we believe) giving out the scores after each point.

The teams on this show usually had interesting names, hence the show's connection with Masterteam. There was one team called "The Concrete Cows" - no prizes for guessing where they came from!

Theme Music

Ultimate Challenge. Composed for Amphonic Music library by Crispin Merrell (who went on to work on Gerry Anderson's Space Precinct, Lavender Castle and New Captain Scarlet)


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