Keynotes (ITV, 1989-1992)
This is yet another weekday ITV 9:25am show, there were a lot of them, and this was one with a musical twist that was based on an Australian format. Keynotes was hosted with great enthusiasm by Alistair Divall but unfortunately for him he wasn’t seen much on the screen after this show ended although he clearly enjoyed hosting this show.
The main idea of Keynotes was to simply identify old songs based on hearing some notes. Every day two teams of three took part, mostly consisting of now middle-aged Teddy boys who still think that they’re rather trendy and remember all of the popular songs from the 50s and 60s from their youth.
Alistair would invite contestants to the podium to try and win one of the nine notes on offer picked at random that would help them to identify the song. Notes 1, 5 and 9 were given away free to make the round slightly shorter. An old pop song would be played and then they would have choose one of the three options as to what they thought the final word of the song title was. If they get it right they would often have to sing the song as well and then they win the note.
After the note is revealed they rejoin their team who then all scrum down and hug one another to listen carefully as the bouncing ball goes along the revealed notes which are played on a clapped-out old keyboard (Keith Chegwin is rumoured to have taken part in this). They then offer their answer, but if they get it wrong, they play for another note, until it becomes incredibly obvious.
If they do know the song, they all start to sing along and win the round, which also leads to lots of crazy jumping around. The songs could be anything from 60s pop records to nursery rhymes. In the first round, they win £30 for the correct answer, £60 in round two and £120 in round three. This creates the rather awkward situation of teams winning two of the three rounds and still failing to make the final.
In the final, the team would again play for notes, but they now had to identify the songs against the clock. They had 30 seconds and had to buzz in when they thought they knew what the song was. If they identify the final song which they only hear once after playing for all the notes or running out of time, they double their money, all the pink lights in the studio flash again and they can return the next day as the reigning champions, appearing a maximum of five times, and winning a big bonus if they win on their final appearance.
Keynotes was a rare networked production by HTV West, one of the smaller ITV regions. It’s yet another show that I did enjoy watching but you don’t hear much about it now. As far as I know it’s never been repeated on Challenge and there are only a few clips online but it also been a success in Australia, although the American version didn’t get past the pilot stage. It was good fun though.