Game Show Memories – Pop Quiz.

Pop Quiz (BBC1, 1981-1984, 1994)

This is another game show that is all about pop music. It was originally on TV in the early-80s (and there was even a successful board game spin-off), but this piece will concentrate on the version that I remember watching when Pop Quiz returned to the screen after almost a decade in 1994, firstly as a one-off for the 30th anniversary of Top Of The Pops, and then as a full series. The opening sequence featured a lot of CDs floating around, because it’s the 90s now, isn’t it.

The revival was hosted by Chris Tarrant. Now I wouldn’t exactly suggest that his career was in the doldrums at this point, but the huge triumph of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was still about four years away. While you could argue that this wasn’t his greatest moment, I would watch this ahead of many other game shows that Tarrant has hosted during his long career, including the horror that was Man O Manvlcsnap-01285

Pop Quiz featured two teams of three who competed in various rounds, the lineups changed every week, there were no regulars, but there was a team captain. Several pop and rock stars from the 70s, 80s and 90s took part to show off their knowledge of pop music from over the years, including Cathy Dennis who turned up in one edition, nice. The rather excited studio audience probably thought that Take That were going to be on the panel, although you’d be more likely to see the bloke off Status Quo. vlcsnap-01288

Rounds were played as a team or individually, and included having to guess what a song was from its ending, what pop stars were being interviewed on an old TV show, and also trying to work out what some songs were that were being played at the time same, and what song some unusual lyrics appeared in, plus lots of questions on various music genres. But will they get any of them right? vlcsnap-01284

The conclusion was the usual quickfire buzzer round with two points for a correct answer, so as ever, get those fingers at the ready. When time was up, the highest-scoring team didn’t win anything beyond having the honour of coming out on top (but sometimes that’s enough isn’t it, probably), and some editions were rather fiercely contested. The show would end with one more classic song from the archive. vlcsnap-01287

Although Pop Quiz was much more lively than the similar A Question Of Pop (that I reviewed a while back), it was still a long way from the anarchic Never Mind The Buzzcocks that launched a couple of years later, and there was only one series of this version, but Tarrant had bigger things to come. Within the past decade there were some more revivals, including a version that featured some non-famous panellists, and another a few years ago with some 80s pop stars returning to have one more go.

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