BrainTeaser (Five, 2002-2007)
BrainTeaser was a long-running daytime game show which featured various games that tested the word-power of contestants. It was shown so frequently that it actually had two different hosts who rotated who were Alex Lovell and Craig Stevens. Also, the show was in an hour-long slot and it went out live, and it will become clear why.
Although there were changes to the rules over the years, this is the main format that I remember. Two contestants take part and have to be ready on the buzzer. In the first round a word would be split into various segments and contestants had to guess what it was. Then there was a round featuring a crossword grid, with all the clues being general knowledge questions. However, it seemed that they used the same grid every day.
Other rounds included being offered four clues to a famous person or thing and having to guess was it was as quickly as possible, and a round where a first and final letter of a word was given, plus how many letters were in the word, and contestants had to buzz in and fill the blank, with the word then being confirmed by the dictionary. The sequence then happened again with two more contestants, with the two winners then playing one another, and the winner of that round went into the final to play for the money.
In the final, the contestant would be given a three-letter word, and then they would have to make a four-letter word, with the new letter given as a clue, and they would have to add the other three letters to make the word. However, they were against the clock and had only 45 seconds to complete the pyramid, so they could quit at any stage if they got stuck. If they were able to go all the way and complete the eight-letter word in time they would win £3,000.
BrainTeaser was also one of those shows which had a phone-in competition element. Viewers at home were able to win money if they solved a word puzzle, and this seemed to be referenced every five minutes inbetween every round, which explains its hour-long length which was unusual at the time, and it had to be live so people could phone in to play for cash prize on offer.
BrainTeaser ran almost continuously in the afternoon for over five years, and it passed 1,000 editions, being one of a small amount of UK game shows to do so. However, when the show was caught up in the phone-in scandal and it had been revealed that they announced fake winners to some of their competitions it was taken off air. It didn’t return, and sadly it just about also brought to an end the era of daytime game shows on Channel 5.