Game Show Memories – Masterteam.

Masterteam (BBC1, 1985-1987)

In the mid-80s, BBC1 had a rather awkward 25-minute slot to fill between the end of Children’s BBC and the Six O’Clock News, and various shows were tried out, including a game show which was Masterteam. This was hosted by Angela Rippon and it was essentially a team version of Mastermind, as teams from all over the UK competed against one another in various rounds. vlcsnap-00019

Two teams of three competed against one another. The first round was the Team Challenge. General knowledge questions were asked on the buzzer for two points each. Although if a contestant got the answer wrong, the question was passed to the other team and they scored a bonus point if they got it right, and this carried on until the strange sound effect indicated that time was up. vlcsnap-00020

The second round was the Spotlight round. One team would nominate a member of the other team to play the round. They would then have a choice of six categories, and they would then be asked questions on that category for one minute, with two points for each correct answer. Only two of the three team members played this round, so they had to choose wisely. vlcsnap-00026

The next round was In A Spin. The computer would randomly generate three letters, and the teams had 30 seconds to make the longest word that they could which featured those letters in order, with a five-point bonus on offer for the team that succeeds. This was not always particularly easy, and they had to be sure that their word was in the dictionary. In later years there was a round that was similar to this in BBC2’s game show Catchword. Well, it was just about exactly the same really. vlcsnap-00029

Then two more contestants play the Spotlight round, before there is one more Team Challenge. The highest-scoring team are declared the winners, and they stay on to play a new team. This was also a show where the game straddled, so incomplete games would continue at the start of the next show. Occasionally, celebrity teams took part including ones made up of TV weather presenters or MPs, who were eager to show off their knowledge too. vlcsnap-00030

Masterteam also had a format where if a team won two consecutive games, they won a bronze medal. If they won three games, they won a silver medal, and if they won four, they won a gold medal and retired undefeated. The eight highest-scoring teams throughout the series then returned to play one another in a knockout format, and there was an extra round introduced at this stage called It’s All Yours. In the final the overall series winners are declared that year’s Masterteam.

Masterteam ran for three years, and it seemed to do fairly well with viewers, but then someone had the bright idea of moving the repeat of Australian soap Neighbours to the 5:35pm slot, the ratings soared, and none of the programmes from the previous few years were ever seen on the screen again.


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