Game Show Memories – Quiz Bowl.

Quiz Bowl (Channel 4, 1991-1992)

This is another game show that I remember watching rather a long time ago now. There seems to be very little about this online, but I always like any excuse to review them. If anyone can fill in any of the gaps of the rules though, then they are welcome to comment. Around the late-80s/early-90s, the popularity of football in the UK was faltering.

People were trying to find alternatives, and get into other sports, until The Premier League came to the rescue. Among these was American Football, which was regularly shown on Channel 4 at this point, which was committed to coverage of less mainstream sports, and even they probably weren’t expecting the increase in interest. The decision was made to turn this into a game show format.

Quiz Bowl was shown on Friday evenings, and the host was Will Buckley, who wore a black-and-white striped shirt just like what the referees did. Two teams of three took part, all and they were all sports writers representing various national newspapers, so for example, a game could be News Of The World v Today, I wonder if there was a rivalry between them.

In the middle of the studio there was a big screen that featured an American Football grid, showing exactly where the ball was at that stage. Various questions would be asked, but this wasn’t how points were scored. The questions were of varying difficulty, and would be worth yards, including 10, 30, all the way up to 70, which is rather a lot.

The American Football scoring system was used, so if they did manage to score, it was a “TOUCHDOWN”, and this was be accompanied by suitable noises and applause. They didn’t do a little song and dance like in that episode of Family Guy though. But they did score six points. Various other rules were adapted, and this carried on until the full-time whistle was blown.

I’m fairly sure that Quiz Bowl was a knockout tournament, with various games being played, until the climax of the grand final to determine the overall series champions, which I’m sure would get the cheerleaders excited. There would only be one series of this, but this was a rather interesting twist, and we found out what the writers really knew about sport.


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