Everybody’s Equal (ITV, 1989-1991)
Although Everybody’s Equal isn’t particularly remembered that much now, it does have an important place in game show history, as several elements from the show would be used in what is arguably the most successful game show format in the world in the last 25 years. A show produced by Celador, hosted by Chris Tarrant, featuring people pressing buttons on a keypad to try and get the right answers as quickly as possible? Now where have we heard that before?
Everybody’s Equal was a show where the studio audience of 200 were the contestants, but only one of them could win the big cash prize. At the start Chris introduced “the four to follow”, the four contestants that it was determined would be most likely to win, although they never did of course. In the first stage of the game, Chris would ask a general knowledge question with four options. Everyone then had ten seconds to press a button on their keypad which corresponded to one of the answers.
When time was up, it was then revealed who voted for what. The majority usually got the answer right, but there was always one who didn’t wasn’t there, and the computer would be able to identify them so Chris could give them a mild chastening. Chris then revealed the answer by saying “and the solution is…” and the amount that got it right went through to the next question, with the ones who did get it wrong being eliminated.
This carried on for about five or six questions, but only ten could go through to the second round, so if more than ten got the final question right, the ten who did so in the quickest time went through, so it really was fastest fingers first, as someone once said. After the break, Chris would talk to all the ten remaining contestants and then up to four more questions would be asked.
At this point, for every correct answer a contestant won £50. If it gets to the fourth question and more than one has got it right, again who was fastest is used to determine the winner, and they win £1,000, and then go through to the final game. They are given a question with four options, they then have 15 seconds of thinking time. If they can put the four options into the correct order they double their money to £2,000, but if not, it’s shared between the studio audience members who could.
Everybody’s Equal is remembered for a couple of incidents. Firstly, there was an occasion where 166 of the 170 contestants still in play got the question wrong, meaning that the first round ended much earlier than usual, and only four went into the second round, leaving Chris to desperately fill the time. There was also a funny moment when Chris accidentally gave away the answer to a question and he couldn’t believe it.
Everybody’s Equal was also repeated on UK Gold which is surprising now because you usually only see game show repeats nowadays on Challenge, and in 1997 Channel 5 revived the show under the name Whittle. It’s arguable that without Everybody’s Equal there would have been no Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, now that’s a legacy. And thanks goes to Oliver Ashmore who recently uploaded an edition online which it was enjoyable to see again which helped me to put this piece together.