Tim Vine


Grundy for Channel 5, 31 March to 30 December 1997 (130 episodes in 2 series)


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

One of the contestant keypads.

An audience of typically 100 players sits 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.

The audience of 100 people.

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.

There's always one...

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 endgame 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 the 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

The early episode where only one contestant got the first second-round question right, resulting in a lot of awkward time-filling. Just air that episode last and air some outtakes and everybody's happy.

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 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.


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.


Mitchell Symons and Chris Kwantes who made the original version Everybody's Equal.

Theme music

Rick Turk


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 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

Wikipedia entry


What the financial manager at Grundy Productions managed to stretch the second series' budget for. No, not the geeky kid, the hat!
File:Whittle timvine podium.jpgTim Vine wondering how he's going to fill the 30 minute time slot with only 7 people going through to the next round after one question.
File:Whittle_vinewithcard.jpgTim Vine with the traditional game show host holding a question card pose.


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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