Game Show Memories – Name That Tune.

Name That Tune (ITV, 1976-1987)

Name That Tune is a game show that began as a segment on the Thames variety shows Wednesday At Eight and London Night Out before it became a show of its own in 1983. This was a game all about music and it had a couple of unusual quirks. First of all there were two hosts, originally Tom O’Connor, who was replaced by Lionel Blair in 1984. They would always be introduced by the overexcited announcer as “your host and compere”, whatever the difference is. Secondly, the two contestants who took part we were informed were selected to be on the show “in advance for their knowledge of popular music”, which is just as well really, or it could’ve got awkward.

The first round was Melody Roulette. There was a wheel with various cash values on it, the highest being £100, and another wheel with “double” on it. The two wheels were spun at the same time in opposite directions, making an eerie “wee-wah” noise. The cash value that the wheel stopped at was how much was on offer, but if it landed on double as well, the value was doubled, so up to £200 could be won on one question, and this was very exciting if it happened. A tune was then played by the studio orchestra, and if a contestant knew what it was, they buzzed in, and if they got it right, they won the money. This was a best-of-five round, so the first contestant to identify three tunes correctly won the round. vlcsnap-00002

Round two was Sing A Tune. A part of three songs was sung by resident singer Maggie Moone, and the contestants had to write down what they thought it was. After the three songs were performed, they revealed their answers, with £50 for every correct one. Round three was Bid A Note. A clue was given to a song, and then contestants bid on how many notes they needed to hear to name it. Because of the clues, the contestants could work out what the song was before they even heard it played, leading to the show’s most famous catchphrase “I’ll name that tune in one”. The first contestant to name three tunes correctly wins a bonus prize. vlcsnap-00005

After the break, round four is the Golden Medley. Tunes are now played against a 30 second clock. If a contestant knows the tune, they buzz in and the clock stops, with £50 for every correct answer. If they get seven right in time they win a bonus £200 and go through to the final. After a short musical interlude, it’s time for the Prize Tune. A mystery tune is played for 20 seconds by a pianist. The contestant then has ten seconds thinking time in an isolation booth before they have to reveal their answer. If they are correct, they win the star prize of the car. vlcsnap-00006

Name That Tune is a show that comes across as rather naff and overblown now, but at the time it was very popular with viewers, it was one of the highest-rated TV shows of the mid-80s, and it even once appeared on the cover of TV Times. A lot of the music featured was showtunes or pop records from the 50s and 60s, so if those genres weren’t your thing, you’d have no chance, but a lot of people of all ages found it very entertaining.


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