Home > Adults' Programmes > Quiz Programmes

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?

The Brains Trust

Criss Cross Quiz


Double your Money

Juke Box Jury

Opportunity Knocks

Spot the Tune

Take Your Pick

What's My Line?

Quiz and Panel Programmes

'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?' (1952-59)

Unusually popular,considering its learned tone, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? was one of the BBC's first major panel games. Once a fortnight a team of three experts tried to identify a succession of objects taken from Britain's museums. The first chairman was Lionel Hale, but from the second programme, Cambridge University Fellow, Glyn Daniel, hosted the proceedings. Among the numerous experts taking part were archeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler, Adrian Digby, Norman Cook, Dr. W. E. Swinton, Dr. Julian Huxley, Jaquetta Hawkes, Professor Thomas Bodkin and others. David Attenborough was the programmes chief producer.

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Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? video clip

'The Brains Trust' (1955-61)

The Brains Trust

A live discussion programme.

The Brains Trust teamSome of the most eminent people of the time were brought together to answer, spontaneously and without advanced knowledge of the questions, some of the things viewers wanted to know. They would normally deal with six questions in the live broadcast and attempt to be controversial.

The original question-master was Hugh Ross-Williamson.

Dr. Jacob Bronowski (far right) appeared regularly on this programme with Julian Huxley and A. J. Ayers.

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The Brains Trust Introductory clip

'Criss Cross Quiz' (1957-67)

was a crossword quiz presented on ITV by Jeremy Hawk in which two contestants competed against each other to complete a line diagonally, vertically or horizontally with either noughts or crosses; for each correct answer the value of the game (worth up to 100 pounds in the early days) increased. 324 episodes were produced. Later there was a children's version of the quiz which was revived with Chris Kelly as the quizmaster. Other presenters over the years were: Bob Holness, Mike Sarne, Chris Howland, Gordon Luck,Peter Wheeler, Mark Kelly, Bill Grundy and soccer star Danny Blanchflower.

'Dotto' (1958-60)

Early ITV quiz show presenting a game in which two contestants each faced a screen which concealed, in fifty dots, the portrait of a personality. When the contestant gave the correct answer, the appropriate number of dots was filled in and the first to identify the personality was awarded five pounds for every dot not yet filled. Robert Gladwell (centre) presided. Later hosted by Jimmy Hanley and Shaw Taylor. Jerry Allen and his Trio provided the music while the dots were joined up.

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Double Your Money Clip

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Intro to the first TV Double Your Money

'Double Your Money' (1955-68)

Hosted by Hughie Green over its thirteen year network TV run which had begun on Radio Luxembourg. Contestants chose their own subject from 42 available and every time they answered correctly their money was doubled, leading up to the Treasure Trail prize of 1000 pounds (the contestant by then ushered into a soundproof booth for the climactic questions).

Hughie Green and Monica RoseAs much a part of the programme as the quiz itself was Hughie Green's over-the-top showmanship as he clowned around telling corny jokes and poking fun at the contestants. The show's hostesses were also part of the act. The most prominent were Valerie Drew, Jean Clarke, Alice Earrey (a 77-year-old former charlady who had appeared as a contestant), Nancy Roberts, Barbara Roscoe, Julie de Marco, Norma Sykes ('Sabrina') and chirpy London teenager Monica Rose.

Alec Leader, Robin Richmond and later Jackie Brown were the show's resident organists. Hughie Green and hostess Nancy Roberts are pictured above with a lucky contestant.

Opportunity Knocks

This show ran on ITV from 1956 to 1978 and was appreciated for its innovative style and the "clapometer" which measured audience enthusiasm.

The stars it launched over the years, included such luminaries as Little and Large, Peters and Lee, Freddie Starr, Tom O'Connor, Pam Ayres, Lena Zavaroni, Frank Carson, Mary Hopkin and its biggest find, Les Dawson, whose wife had told him that the show represented his last chance at a career in comedy.

Each week Green introduced six new acts of varied quality and content. Among those featured were a chef who "cooked a complete veal dinner in under three minutes", a margarine sculptor and a dancer "who kept tropical fish and danced the sailor's hornpipe". The actress Su Pollard tried her luck but finished second to a singing dog.

At the end of the show, all the acts gave a short reprise of their routine which the studio audience evaluated by applauding. The highest scores on the "Clapometer" were declared the studio winners but this counted for nothing. What mattered ("And I mean this most sincerely folks!") were the votes of the viewers at home, expressed by the mailing in of postcards. The week's winners were then entered into the following week's show to try to keep their winning place amongst a new band of contestants. A winning contestant could return week after week and, at the end of each series there was held an all-winners show.

On the screen, Green's unctuous treatment of performers ("Friends, we want to hear them!" and "Isn't that wonderful folks? Let's have a hand for Bob!") did seem to put amateurs at their ease but was thought by the fastidious both servile and patronising.

'Juke Box Jury' (1959-67)

This popular comptemporary music series featured a celebrity panel of guests giving their verdict to David Jacobs on a selection of the latest pop releases. Jacobs rang a bell for a hit, whilst a rasping hooter signalled a miss. The first panel consisted of Alma Cogan,DJ Pete Murray, singer Gary Miller and young Susan Stranks (as a typical teenager).

There were two theme tunes used for Juke Box Jury.
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Juke Box Jury Theme (1959)

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Juke Box Jury Theme (1960 onwards)

Yes/No Interlude, Alec Dane with the gong, a contestant, and Michael Miles (right) 'Take Your Pick' (1955-68)

Quiz inquisitor Michael Miles put contestants through a series of minor obstacles, including a sixty-second spot where the player had to answer questions without the use of words 'yes' or 'no' ("The Yes/No Interlude") with Alec Dane who would immediately gong out the contestant if they uttered one of the fateful words, and finally three straight questions which led up to the prizes (announced by the voice of Bob Danvers-Walker). Then the fast-talking Miles would enter into some cash bidding for the keys to the box selected by the players; three out of thirteen boxes contained booby prizes. Box 13 contained a mystery prize which was not even known to Miles and then there was the treasure-chest of money and 'tonight's star prize' which was greeted with a crescendo of oohs from the audience as if they'd never seen a three piece suite before.

What should he do? - open the box or take the money?

Take Your Pick 1950s game

'Spot the Tune' (1956-62)

was an early musical quiz game in which contestants had to beat a time-limit in coming up with a correct song title after hearing only a few bars of a melody. Central to the proceedings was songstress Marion Ryan (pictured) backed by the Peter Knight Orchestra. Ken Platt, Ted Ray and Canadian entertainer Jackie Rae were among the masters of ceremonies during the show's run of 209 editions.

'Tell the Truth' under the chairman ship of David Jacobs where three people claimed to be somebody but only one was telling the truth.

'Play Your Hunch' - hosted by Alan Freeman, this was a game show that contestants had to guess which was the real one X, Y or Z. For instance they would have 3 people dressed as chefs with a wedding cake in front of them. Only one would be a real chef with a real cake. The other cakes would be made out of concrete or wood.  

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