Show Discussion: Popmaster TV

By | June 25, 2023

Monday to Friday (and the next Monday) 8pm,
More 4

It’s radio’s cult music quiz Popmaster but now Ken Bruce isn’t working for Radio 2 anymore, it’s on More 4.

There are some modifications for this TV outing – five sixty-minute heats all this week with the winners going through to the Grand Final the following Monday, and each heat will have five contestants in it. As I understand it, although may have duff info, the five will get reduced to two in various rounds and they will play a traditional game of Popmaster to determine the winner. Whether it will have better prizes than the one on the radio remains to be seen. You can play along with the daily show on Greatest Hits Radio every weekday from 10:30am, if somehow you weren’t previously aware of its existance.

Let’s hope it’s better than a 3 in (out of) 10. Let us know what you think in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Popmaster TV

  1. Brekkie

    We’ll see how it plays out but gut feeling is it would have been better as a half hour show (which never happens now) with 3 contestants playing the traditional format then the winner playing 3 in 10 at the end.

  2. Brig Bother Post author

    Mmm, this felt like harder work than I think I probably wanted or anticipated, not helped by the fact that so many questions went begging which doesn’t make for great TV – perhaps it might have been an idea if the opening round at least was tailored at least a bit to things the contestants might have some scope in – I’d prefer four questions on Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus than Cat Stevens as well all told.

    It doesn’t do anything wrong as such, although but the rounds are extremely standard music quiz fayre, not much original here you might have seen on Pop Quiz with Mike Read but with a more anorak-y twist, especially compared with something like The Hit List which has a myriad of ways to keep “name the song” interesting. The most telling thing, I think, is that the best bit is the Original Popmaster at the end which fairly zips along.

    I don’t know, I’m happy to accept I’m not the audience for this and maybe there is a big enough audience for it – I love a music quiz but I didn’t think this was that much fun all told, even with Ken Bruce and an exciting One Year Out sting. It hits differently than it does on the radio where it tends to be more background, on TV you’re forced to pay it more attention and I think it’s found wanting.

  3. Chris B

    I’m a Popmaster aficionado and tend to agree with Brig that it was probably a little too hard work towards the end (apart from the original PM, naturally). You can’t have everything, but in an ideal world it would have been 15 minutes shorter with one less contestant and it would have been about right

    Would feel more at home paired up with something like Countdown, or Eggheads on 5. Not sure I have the endurance to watch this stripped every night but will dip back in on demand I suspect.

    Couple of thoughts for fellow Popmaster fans

    – Noted that this was credited as created by both 19 Yard and PMTV. PMTV is owned by Ken et al, but interestingly a company created in September last year. Even if Ken’s exit from Radio 2 was sudden, he’s obviously had the idea on the back burner for a little longer than maybe he let on.

    – Thought Ken would be keen on the logo to match everything on the merch they flog for it (and was also the logo and both Radio 2 and Greatest Hits). Think the logo is a bit meh, but I do like the giant record he sits in. Assume all the jingles etc must be owned by Greatest Hits but funny they have recorded them all twice in six months

    – Didn’t mind some of the new rounds. Era wise, seems comfortably 70s,80s and 90s based which is what it is now on GHR and to be fair probably fits whatever More 4s demo is. To be fair to GHR, since the first month they have started putting more “modern” questions in, but nowhere near the frequency in Radio 2 days. Actually here did have a few deep cut modern questions when they did turn up, the ones of GHR are usually more obvious.

    – In “original” Popmaster at the end, one minor difference on the bonus round the actual question is asked after the music is played not before.

    Not sure what the prize at the end of it all is, maybe you get 30 seconds of tedious shout outs to your family and friends?

    1. Steve Williams

      Just watched the final now, and amused to discover that actually was the prize.

      This was OK but I would agree with Brig’s original comment that the first round absolutely should at least start with a favourite band or genre of the contestants, as it’d get some points on the board straight off as it’s not much fun seeing contestants get no points, and failing to score there rather guarantees a swift exit. If not that then a Hit List-style round with questions on different decades would do, I think, as some contestants have had right stinkers.

  4. Brig Bother Post author

    700k for ep 1 I’m hearing. Blimey!

    For context the highest rated show for the channel consolidated the previous week was 263k for Four In a Bed, and it’s about 500% up on the slot.

    Edit: 636k avg/743k peak, I’m told.

    1. Chris B

      I guess when you Popmaster, you can’t stopmaster!

      (What C4 should say when series 2 gets commissioned)

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    458k for ep 2 apparently, which is a drop but I think anticipated and still extremely good for More 4.

  6. Brig Bother Post author

    335k episode 3.

    Can’t see it not coming back, but suspect they might do the more sensible thing and make it weekly in future.

  7. Andrew Sullivan

    Might as well provide the run-down for anyone not able to watch this. 5 contestants compete over 6 rounds of music questions, losing 3 along the way and leaving the remaining 2 to play Original Popmaster.

    Round 1 is Links – Each contestant is given 4 questions where the answer to the previous question links into the next. The first question is always a piece of music and each correct answer is worth 3 points.
    Round 2 is Intros, Middles and Endings – This round is on the buzzer, with a wrong answer freezing you out of the question. An intro, middle or ending to a song is played and the less time it takes to provide the title of the song and the artist, the more points it’s worth, starting at 5 points and decreasing the more of the track is played. At the end of the round, the lowest scorer is eliminated.
    Round 3 is Video Gaga – Each contestant is shown up to 5 still images from a music video, each with a clue. The less stills and clues you see, the more points, again starting at 5 and decreasing by 1 for each still shown.
    Round 4 is Top Tens – Ken gives a date in music history (e.g. the date on the first episode was 2nd August, 1986) and the Top Ten chart for that date is given, starting with the song at No.10 and working up . Each track has an associated question on the buzzer, each worth 3 points. Again, the lowest scorer is eliminated.
    Round 5 is Pop Years. Each contestant is given up to 3 songs from a single year, but only get to make 1 guess as to the year and there is a graphic and music sting if a contestant is One Year Out. A contestant can score 5 points if they can get the year on the first track, 4 points on the second and 3 points on the third.
    Round 6 is It’s Only Words – Ken reads out the lyrics to a song. Whoever buzzes in and gets it right earns 3 points, then gets 3 bonus questions related to a word in the title of the song for up to an additional 9 points. They are shown the title of a song with that word in and must provide the artist. For the final time, the lowest scorer is eliminated, leaving the remaining 2 to compete in Original Popmaster to determine the winnner.

    For those who have never heard Popmaster before, each contestant, starting with the highest scorer from the main game, faces 10 questions. Before the game starts, they must pick one of 2 categories for their bonus questions at Q3, Q6 and Q9. Standard questions are worth 3 points and the bonus questions are worth 6 points, totalling 39 points for a perfect game. Whichever of the 2 contestants scores the highest is the winner and wins a silver disc as well as passage to the Grand Final. That contestant then has the opportunity to upgrade it to a gold disc by taking part in 3 In 10. The contestant has 10 seconds to name 3 Top 75 single chart hits by the artist or band given by Ken.

  8. Brig Bother Post author

    Half a mill for the Final last night, which is great for it, hopefully some lessons learned for the inevitable S2.


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