We all love a quiz. It’s virtually impossible to hear a quiz question without blurting the answer out loud, if you happen to know it. We spend our lives accumulating useless facts, information and trivia, most of which just sits quietly in our brains gathering dust, so it’s very gratifying to be able to answer quiz questions and prove all that learning wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Right from the birth of commercial television, in the mid-1950s, quiz shows have been a staple of the nation’s TV viewing habits. People of a certain age will remember Hughie Green’s Double Your Money and Michael Miles with Take Your Pick, but, seven decades later, quiz shows are still going strong – The Chase and Pointless being two hugely successful current examples. The programmes have become more sophisticated and glitzy, the prizes have become bigger and better, but, ultimately, they are still rooted in the very simple premise of a question being asked and a person answering it either correctly or incorrectly, leading to reward or forfeit.
This fascinating, amusing and well-researched book is an affectionate guide to the evolution of the TV quiz show, through all the many changes over the years, leading to the ultimate game-changer, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. The book doesn’t stop there, but it does give a detailed insider’s view of the most important quiz show ever created.
Readers will wallow in nostalgia reading about Bullseye, Sale Of The Century and Blockbusters, and they will learn surprising facts about all the many quizzes we have watched over the years. Did you know that the format for BBC TV’s Mastermind was based on its creator’s experiences of wartime interrogation by The Gestapo?
Tony Nicholson has been a television devotee right from childhood. He started his own lengthy TV career as a jokewriter for The Two Ronnies and Les Dawson. He then became a television producer, as well as a scriptwriter, predominantly in the field of entertainment and comedy, working on many television quiz and gameshows, including a ten year stint on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Now an author, he has written the definitive biographies of comedians Sir Ken Dodd and Larry Grayson, but this is his personal guide to television quiz shows, a genre he has always loved.
Chris Tarrant is the ultimate quizmaster and he has written a substantial foreword for the book, based on his own experiences and personal insights.