Bill Dod


Action Time for BBC 1, 3 January 1995 to 2 February 1996 (73 episodes in 2 series)


Near-perfect lunchtime general knowledge quiz where the main gimmick was that the three Joe Bloggs contestants won or lost time, rather than points.

First round questions were based on the participant's own hobbies. A clever clock-based word game worked well, if rather over-taxed the brain straight after lunch. However, we'd seen the "dirty tricks" final round before in Runway (another Action Time show, incidentally).

A game of Timekeepers in action

The players' scores were time, and it was always a 5 minute clock, with 72 degrees per minute. Also, the clock hand made one revolution every time the players score changed, anti-clockwise when losing time and clockwise when gaining time.

The end game was 15 questions in one minute, with a sand timer with 60 seconds of sand in the top part. The sand drained at one second per second, but a graphic of a bucket was placed above it. Each correct answer and the bucket tipped ten seconds of sand into the top of the timer. At the end, the sand drain stopped and the sand still at the top was the player’s score for the leaderboard. The best scores returned for the final.

The end-game for a place on the leader board was extremely rapidfire, but completely failed to make use of the time the contestant had previously "won" in the game, which is possibly a poor decision.


(After the contestants had introduced themselves): "They're my three Timekeepers!" (Dod obviously liked to personalise wherever possible).

"Each correct answer earns ten seconds... not from me, but from one of your opponents." That was the prize for a correct answer in the quick-fire finale.

Also instead of "correct", Bill always said "Ten from?" as a prompt to nominate an opponent to steal time from.

There was also "All lose ten!" when nobody buzzed in for a question, all three players had ten seconds deducted. Normally the question goes ‘dead’, but is this the only show where this happens?

Key moments

Dod's excellent firm-but-fair hosting - no ajudicators needed here, thank you very much. (And yes, it is Dod, not Dodd.)

Master of time - Bill Dod


Toby Freeman and Stephen Leahy


In one series, the star prize was an antique carriage clock, and during every episode of the series one of three or so inserts was aired of an antiques expert describing the timepiece to the viewers.

The title graphics for the show won an award at the Houston Worldfest - whatever that is.

Screenshot from the opening titles


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