The 64,000 Question



Jerry Desmond

Robin Bailey (The 64,000 Challenge)


64,000 Question: ATV, 19 May 1956 to 18 January 1958 (80 episodes)

64,000 Challenge: ATV, 15 June 1957 to 31 August 1957 (7 episodes)


A phenomenally successful version of the American original, which ran live every week and helped cement the new ITV's place as Britain's favourite channel.

Contestants would choose a specialist subject, and answer questions of increasing value - a single question on their subject for 100 and 500, a two-part question for 1000 and 2000, three parts for 4000, four for 8000, five parts for 16,000, six for 32,000, and a question of no fewer than seven parts for the 64,000 top prize.

With each contestant returning on up to six shows, audience interest built to a frenzy, or the 1950s equivalent.

In summer 1957, the most successful contestants to date faced The 64,000 Challenge. Members of the public would challenge them head-to-head on their specialist subjects for cash prizes.


By Jerry Allen and his TV Trio, who were ATV's house band and also provided the music for Dotto, among other shows.


Based on The $64,000 Question


The original prize was 64,000 sixpences (£1,600), doubling late in 1956 to 64,000 shillings (£3,200).

Actor Bruce Seton, who played the title role of the 1955 ITV drama Fabian of Scotland Yard, was the "Guardian of the Questions" for the original version.

Moira Lamb writes:

My husband, BJK Lamb, was the youngest competitor on the show. He appeared in April 1957 answering questions on Astronomy and was 13 at the time.


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