Game Show Memories – Turnabout Grand Final.

Turnabout Grand Final (BBC1, 1991)

As you should know by now, Turnabout is one of my favourite BBC daytime game shows from the 90s. I wanted to do another piece about this show, so I thought that I would review a series grand final, because these had a slightly different format from the usual, and there was also a big prize at stake. I have decided to review the final of the second series, which was shown on 16 May 1991, and as always was hosted by Rob Curling.

I’m not sure if this format was used for every grand final, but this was the first series to have the more familiar look, with the red, green, and blue spheres, and the famous pool in the middle of the studio. 72 contestants have taken part in this series, and now only three remain, hopefully they will offer a good game. The finalists are Andy Page from Bristol playing red (who I think was also a regular on Fifteen-To-One around this time), Jackie McLeod from London playing green, and Darryl Francis from Mitcham playing blue. vlcsnap-00940

This is their third appearance on the show, following a qualifier and a semi-final, and the star prize is a holiday to New Zealand. In the first round, there are 16 grey spheres. The contestants take it in turns to turn a sphere their colour. The number of spheres they can turn is the number of correct answers they gave in their Star Game semi-final, can anybody take an early advantage, it’s all very tense. 13 spheres are turned. vlcsnap-00951

The first round then begins, which is about five minutes, and there is no Turnabout of the letters at the halfway point. The clues are of a higher standard than usual, most of the words wouldn’t be in the average person’s vocabulary. But they are still very quick on the buzzer, and they better remember the awkward red/green/blue sequence that is still used at this point. You won’t be seeing many combos here. vlcsnap-00968

In the Star Game, all three contestants play the same board, so the other two have to get up and leave the studio so they get no hints, and there are only 40 seconds on the clock. At this stage of the game, Jackie is in the lead. For round two, again there’s about five minutes of questions and no Turnabout, and the board now has the more familiar four grey spheres in the centre, along with the sequence changing to blue/green/red. vlcsnap-00952

It’s still very close as it’s time for another Star Game, which is also the final round. Again, every contestant plays the same board, and the overall winner and series champion with 190 points is Jackie McLeod! She is off on holiday and is thrilled, while the runners-up take away the consolation prize of an all-in-one fax machine, telephone, and answering machine, what a remarkable piece of technology, that’s almost as good as a dictionary. vlcsnap-00984

And also, in 1992 there was a Champion Of Champions game played between the winners of the first three series of Turnabout, and Jackie McLeod won this too.


3 thoughts on “Game Show Memories – Turnabout Grand Final.

  1. Michael says:

    Hey Adam Beckwith, nice review on Turnabout Grand Final which was shown on BBC1 on 16 May 1991. Also, at the end of that show on YouTube, there’s a Turnabout Production for the BBC animated endcap with Ā© BBC Elstree MCMXCI and with the 1971 rounded BBC logo rather than the 1986 one with the underlines underneath the slanted boxes which was designed by Michael Peters.

    Here’s the link:


    • Well, the underlined logo *was* still in the process of being rolled out in May ’91 – Playdays was also still using the 1971 logo in its copyright strap; the One, Six and Nine O’Clock News were all still using their title sequences from 1986, 1984 and 1988 respectively; and BBC Television Centre was still displaying its original signage from 1960.

      Plus, BBC1’s virtual globe and BBC2’s “new age” 2 idents – all featuring the underlined logo – had only been in use for three months. šŸ˜‰

      Production of Turnabout, like that of Going for Gold, moved up to Manchester not long after this. Obviously, that meant replacing “Elstree” in the copyright strap with “North” – and adding the underlined logo too, if it hadn’t been added already. šŸ˜‰


  2. Less than two months before this Turnabout final aired, Jackie appeared in the final of series 21 of Countdown (one of only a few number 8 seeds to make the final, incidentally), losing to Barry Grossman.

    Darryl already had plenty of Countdown experience – appearing in the very first series in 1982, winning series 6 in 1985, and participating in the third Championship of Champions in 1987. He, Jackie and Barry all went on to take part in the Supreme Championship in 1996, and then the 30th Birthday Championship in 2013 – where Barry beat Jackie in a repeat of that series 21 final, before losing to Darryl.

    (Don’t know if Barry himself appeared on Turnabout, or indeed that other early and mid ’90s BBC word game, Catchword, which also attracted a fair few Countdown contestants.)

    Andy was indeed a Fifteen-to-One regular in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and reached the final of series 3 in 1989 (finishing third while the legendary Kevin Ashman won). He won John Humphrys’ first series of Mastermind in 2003, and finally appeared on Countdown in 2004, winning two games in series 51.



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