Tim Vine


Grundy for Channel 5, 31 March 1997 to 1998


Punmeister General Tim Vine hosted this passable attempt for a Channel 5 tea time quiz.

An audience of typically 100 players sit in a semi-circular amphitheatre, watching a question appear on a giant screen along with four possible answers, exactly one of which is correct.

Host, Tim Vine.

The players then have ten seconds to press a button on their keypads according to which answer they think is correct. Players failing to give the correct answer within ten seconds are eliminated from the game. Because it is difficult to track the 100 people in the audience, "Four to Follow" have been "picked out by the computer as being the most likely people to win" (read: nabbed by the researchers for looking even remotely intelligent), and we chart their progress (or otherwise) through the show.

There's always one...

Ridicule anyone who chooses one of the daft answers. Repeat this up to six times in the first half, which must end with exactly ten players remaining; this is achieved by making the last question a timed question, in which not only are players failing to give the correct answer eliminated, players failing to give the correct answer and be one of the ten fastest correct answers are also eliminated. No money is yet involved in the first half.

90 down, 10 to go

In the second half, only the ten surviving players from the first half are involved. Play continues as before, with surviving players requiring correct answers to continue in the game; however, correct answers now earn ten pounds.

The final ten players

Incorrect answers leading to elimination from the game are punished by the wearing of a Whittle mask - in bright yellow with a large purple W on it. There are up to four questions in the second half, the last one of which may be timed, aiming to find a single winner, who earns a guaranteed £250.

Behold, a Whittle mask

The end game consists of the winner trying to place four items in the correct sequence to turn £250 into £500. However, if they fail, all the audience members who got the correct sequence and typed it into their keypads within 15 seconds get the second £250 shared between them. Typically 5-50 people among the audience will get it right and earn somewhere between £50-£5 each.

An example of the final question

That's it, except to comment that it's hosted with a great deal of style and plenty of fast-paced, very silly gags by host Tim Vine, although the audience could have done with some more warming up to get them into the mood.

The ideas are familiar enough (you've seen them before in Everybody's Equal) but the show works fairly well despite its obviously inexpensive roots.

Key moments

There are often at least two appallingly bad gag answers to each question, and frequently at least one punter will select one of them. Host Tim Vine frequently points them out to general hilarity. The most usual excuse is "my finger slipped". Actual example: "Anne Boleyn's last words, to her executioner, were 'My neck is very...'?"; the answers were slender, dirty, pimply and sweaty. One person chose "pimply". "Slender" is correct, in case you didn't know.


Tim Vine introduced an ever-changing gag catchphrase for the "immense" £500 prize on each show. Examples include "Look out! Here comes a river of money!", "I'll need a financial advisor!", "You can buy anything with that, as long as it costs less than £500" and so forth.


Based on a popular French show.


Your compiler for this entry (hello!) was one of two people to pick "dirty" for the aforementioned Anne Boleyn question at the time and was picked out of the crowd by Tim Vine for some impromptu ad-libbing. Cheers, Tim. Wouldn't it have been much funnier to find out why some spanner chose "pimply"? For reference, I played four games and won a total of £7.14; one thirty-fifth share of £250. I rule!

If there is substantially below 100 people voting in the first round, it either means (a) there's a lot of thick people in the audience, or (b) a bus load of audience members didn't turn up.

One episode was so badly put together you could actually hear both edits at various points in the show (it was quite interesting to hear Tim Vine changing his question to whoever he was talking to each time) and the audience sounded like it was in a tin can.

Web links

Pearson TV


One of the contestant keypads.
The audience of 100 people.
What the financial manager at Grundy Productions managed to stretch the second series' budget for. No, not the geeky kid, the hat!


Here for the sake of completeness are a few outtakes from the first series...

...and a few from the second series.


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