Game Show Memories – A Word In Your Ear.

A Word In Your Ear (BBC1, 1993-1994, The Family Channel, 1995)

Around the time that the long-running The Krypton Factor finally began to run out of steam, Gordon Burns moved on to host a similar show, but this time featuring celebrity teams. A Word In Your Ear (which was also co-created and co-produced by Burns) featured several games where contestants had to use their observation and communication skills.

The show featured two teams of two, and celebrities took part including Jim Bowen, Bob Holness, and Leslie Grantham, along with many others having to work together. Occasionally, a team would consist of a married couple such as Paul Coia and Debbie Greenwood, so we really could find out how much they knew about each other and how well they could pass on information, and there was plenty of humour in how well (or badly) they did this. vlcsnap-00515

There were usually five rounds. These included one contestant having to describe the shape of an object, and the other having to draw it on a board and then guess what it is, and there was also a round where one provides commentary on a clip that the other one can’t see, and then they are asked questions about it, so all the important information has to be passed on. vlcsnap-00538

Other rounds included having to piece together a picture of a face from a description against the clock, one where there is a shape and one has to describe it while the other makes it out of building blocks, and one where phrases had to be described using particular words. They would then be marked out of ten by Gordon, and although a winner was announced, there were no prizes, but they all got very excited about their success anyway. vlcsnap-00540

There were about 50 editions of A Word In Your Ear, and the scheduling is rather curious. The first series was shown on BBC1 in a daytime slot. The second series was promoted to a Saturday evening slot, but later editions went back to daytime. The third and final series moved to The Family Channel, the predecessor of Challenge, and some BBC1 editions were repeated in daytime in 1998. vlcsnap-00542

One good thing about the show was that it revealed more about a celebrity’s personality and abilities than most. In 1996, about a year after A Word In Your Ear ended, Gordon returned to BBC1 with a similar series called Relatively Speaking, featuring more communication challenges that also used the latest technology, but this time families took part, and it can almost be considered to be an attempt at a team version of The Krypton Factor. However, there was only one series, and I don’t remember watching it.

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