It’s time for yet another piece about the classic game show Fifteen-To-One. This time because a few of them have recently been uploaded to YouTube, it’s to time review a grand final, the conclusion of the series when we discover the overall winner. This review will use the series 23 final from 1998 as an example of how a grand final was played and it is of course hosted by William G Stewart. They also added some extra-sparkly bits to the set too which was nice.
The grand final of Fifteen-To-One was always 45 minutes, 15 minutes longer than a regular edition. The 15 highest-scoring contestants throughout the series were invited back to take part. If there was a tie for 15th place an unaired play-off would take place to determine which contestant would take the final place on offer. There are also some familiar names taking part in this final including the defending champion Nick Terry.
At the start of the show the contestant who finished top of the finals board would win a trophy from Laura (who usually provided the voiceover), one of two on offer in the grand final, although very few contestants did the double and won both. In this series the honour went to Roy Smith with his score of 293. Now let battle commence. We begin round one which is played as usual. The contestant standing at position number 1 is none other than Bill McKaig, needless to say he doesn’t have much trouble progressing, and only one contestant is eliminated at the end of this round.
We then move on to round two which is longer than usual because of the higher standard. Bill McKaig is asked the first question in this round and he actually gets it wrong, well I never thought I would live to see the day. They do always get to the point where three contestants are left standing though, and Bill along with David Luscombe and Nick Terry progress to the final of the grand final.
The format of the final was changed after a few series. All 40 of the questions are on the buzzer, and the contestant with the highest score at the end wins. It all excitingly comes down to the final question, and Bill has done it! He has beaten Nick by a very small margin, but he needn’t worry as he would go on to win four series altogether, more than any other contestant. At this point William G Stewart always says to the winner rather modestly considering their achievement “I believe Laura has got something for you”.
Bill is the series champion and accepts the trophy from Laura, although it could be argued that this wasn’t his greatest achievement on the show as a year later he would score his famous maximum 433. I hope he put his trophies somewhere nice. This also wasn’t the closest ever finish in a grand final either – in 2003 one series ended in a tie, with two contestants have the same score and number of lives remaining. This was a very rare occurrence, and as Fifteen-To-One has no tiebreaker rule both contestants were declared joint winners and another trophy had to be found. Anybody who made the grand final though should be pleased with themselves and a lot of very talented people appeared over the years.