Grand Slam

By | March 15, 2020

Here’s a fun thing that turned up on Youtube the other day, an entire episode of C4 quiz championship Grand Slam from 2003.

It’s still really nice from a production perspective – looks striking, decent Paul Farrer soundtrack. I still dislike the kick-a-contestant-when-they’re-down round starting rules, and Switch-Switch-Passing (which doesn’t happen here). Clearly some of the questions in the words and numbers rounds are much easier than others. I think the final gets to the heart of why I don’t think chess clock quizzes really work – you can’t claw back a victory from them, you can only hope your opponent messes up (it’s ‘not losing’ rather than ‘winning’). It takes seven minutes for the quiz to actually start.

I still enjoyed it at the time and still think it’s a basically entertaining watch though.

8 thoughts on “Grand Slam

  1. David B

    “Countdown will tomorrow record without an audience”

    How will anyone tell?

    1. Des Elmes

      Conundrums that aren’t solved by the contestants won’t be thrown over to the audience.

      AFAIK, the only previous occasions on which Countdown recorded without an audience were when Countdown Masters was being made for the Channel Four Daily (thirty years ago, crikey).

      1. Thomas Sales

        I wonder if they’re going to acknowledge the lack of audience on screen or if Nick’s going to pretend to throw it over for three weeks?

        1. Matt Clemson

          I haven’t watched in years, do they still do the bit where they have a brief chat with the incoming contestant after each game? Presumably they’d still be present, so will it be just them on their own in an empty audience, or something? What about the other contestants for that filming block? Only one on set at a time?

          How far in advance are these filmed?

          1. Thomas Sales

            They discontinued the incoming contestant chat many years ago; I started watching regularly in 2013/4 and they weren’t doing it then. Prior to Rachel’s pregnancy they were recording about three to three and a half months in advance (they film about fifteen episodes over three days); the episodes they’re recording today are due to be broadcast in early May.

  2. Des Elmes

    I’ve said this before – but I’ve wondered if it was *intended* for Grand Slam to be a one-series wonder, since none of its flaws were sorted out during the run and more often than not it was said that the eventual winner would be “the greatest quiz show contestant of all time” (or words to that effect).

    No contestant won having been behind at the start of the final round, and indeed the number of changes of lead in the entire run could be counted on the fingers of one hand – two of them came in the final alone, which also had the narrowest margin of victory (Clive Spate beating Gavin Fuller by 15 seconds).

    I do wonder if James Richardson – great as he is – got the “pundit” job because C4 wanted to keep him on for a bit after the Italian football went elsewhere.

    And what’s Nicholas Rowe up to these days?


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