Hive Minds (BBC4, 2015-2016)
When BBC4 launched almost two decades ago now, their aim was to offer something a little different to viewers. Eventually, a game show was added to the schedule, which was Only Connect. After a quiet start, this ended up becoming a ratings success, and was popular enough to move away to BBC2. It was decided that there should be a replacement, which was this one.
In a way, Hive Minds was rather similar to Only Connect, as two teams of three with names took part, and they tried to solve clues of above-average difficulty. The host was Fiona Bruce, who was better known at the time for working in news. The set design was rather orange and purple. The idea was to find the hidden words in a grid. Every letter was in some connecting hexagons, but this was nothing to do with Blockbusters!
In the first round, there was a grid, and a clue to the word that needed to be found, by highlighting the letter that the answer began with. The earlier the word was found, the more points they scored. If they were having some trouble, some of the letters not in the answer disappeared. If they still couldn’t get the word after half of the letters had gone, it was passed over to the other team. Usually in a grid there was a full word that would be an incorrect answer, or a word that was correct but was incomplete, which made things rather frustrating.
In the next round, there is a choice of categories, and three words have to be found in a grid in 45 seconds. They also have two passes, but if they end up using both of these, the round ends. They then move on to the Supergrid. In this, there are eight answers, and every letter in the grid is used. There are two minutes, and contestants take it in turn to answer. The final round features more words that have to be found, but this time on the buzzer.
As this show had a knockout format, the winners progressed to the next round, and at the end of the series, an overall series champion is declared. At the end of editions, there would also be a clue that viewers could solve. Hive Minds definitely tried to pick up where Only Connect left off, and if you could grasp the idea, then it was definitely something that gave the brain some training. However, there were only two series, and BBC4 hasn’t really tried anything else like this since.