Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M (RTE1, 1983-1985)
I have just about reviewed all of the British game shows that I have wanted to on this blog (that I could find clips of at least). I have also reviewed some American versions of game shows that would later launch in the UK and compare them. What I didn’t think of reviewing was Irish game shows. I must admit that I don’t know much about the history of game shows in Ireland, but I found one from the 80s on YouTube recently that was so fascinating I decided it deserves to be featured here.
Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M (nobody seems to have any idea what the significance of the “M” is) launched on RTE1 in 1983 and it was hosted by Mike Murphy. It was a 50-minute game show that made the most of the computer technology that was available at the time. There only seems to be one edition online but I presume that the format was always the same. Three related teams of four took part.
The opening theme and the electronic music that was used all throughout the show was really great, The Human League themselves couldn’t have done any better I’m sure. It reminded me a little of the mighty Bob’s Full House. The show featured three co-hosts who announced the teams and prizes (it is a surprise to remember just how many co-hosts game shows used to have in those days).
The first round was general knowledge questions on the buzzer for £2. When someone buzzed in, the family’s name magically appeared on the screen, and all the buzzer noises were terrific. It did get a little chaotic with 12 people all trying to buzz in at once though. At the end of the round the scores were calculated by a little computer-generated character called Sylvester.
In-between rounds there is a spot prize on offer on the buzzer. There were then three questions where only one family member could buzz in, starting with the youngest child and going up to the father. These questions included picture and sound clues, and there was £5 for every correct answer. Then there were more questions on the buzzer, this time with £3 for a correct answer. After another spot prize, the lowest-scoring team at this point are eliminated, but they take away a consolation prize of a pen and an Atari 2600 along with any money and prizes they already have.
There is then an interval where is a studio audience member is selected at random by Sylvester to answer a question, and if they get it right they win a prize too. A viewer raffle winner is also announced. Then one family member is nominated to play a computer game (and this was before First Class and other UK game shows had this feature). Whoever has the highest score gets six points.
Next is the mystery person. A clue is given for ten points. If no-one knows who it is, another clue is asked for eight points, and so on until the final clue for two points. When someone gets it right, a picture of the person appears animated in the old-fashioned blocky Teletext style. The final round is back on the buzzer with questions for two points. The highest-scoring team make the final. The runners-up win a Dragon 32 computer along with everything else.
In the final, one team member is nominated to play. They have also won a computer, but now they have the chance to play for the star prize of a car. They are asked five questions against the clock, each for an extra prize. Get four of them right, and they only need to get one more question right to win the car, which was something that didn’t happen that often. The show then ended with some more fancy graphics.
Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M ran for a few series, it seemed to do rather well and it appeared on the cover of RTE Guide. There were also some quiz books released. This was another show where I went from not having ever seen it, to rather enjoying it. I always like shows from this era that have a go at featuring computers, it really gives you an idea of how far we’ve come.