Grand Slam (2)



Carol Vorderman


James Richardson

Questioner: Nicholas Rowe


Monkey for Channel 4, 6 June to 12 September 2003 (15 episodes in 1 series)


16 players in the worlds of TV quizzing and Countdown put up £1,000 of their own money to take part in a single elimination quiz tournament with a £50,000 top prize.

In each round, each competitor would get a clock with sixty seconds on it. Only one would be ticking down at any point, and by getting a question correct theirs would stop and their opponent's clock would start. Whatsmore, each player had three "switches" they could use throughout the game which would automatically switch control to the opponent (although pointlessly they could switch it straight back). When one person's clock runs out, whatever time their opponent had left would be carried forward to the final round. The loser would also have the disadvantage of starting the next round. For that final round contestants were granted thirty seconds and any time they had saved from the other rounds.

The five rounds were general knowledge, words and language, contemporary knowledge (although the differences between this and general knowledge were negligible), numbers and the all-important final combination round which was a general mixture. From the quarter-finals onwards, after the contemporary knowledge round was a keyword round where all the questions had some sort of connection to a word the contestants were notified of twenty-four hours before.

There's quite a lot to like about Grand Slam. The questions are nicely written and there's plenty of variety. The show is tightly produced, and the digital clocks behind the players were striking. It was fairly addictive stuff but the fact that the all-important final rounds were often slightly pointless as one person normally had such a big lead that wouldn't come down given the quality of player. This wasn't helped by the slightly unfair way the person who lost the last round always got the disadvantage of getting the first question in the next round so if both players got the same amount of questions wrong they'd probably lose again creating a cycle it was difficult to break out of. Still, though.

Theme music

Paul Farrer


The show's first (and only) winner was Clive Spate - a former Countdown champion. He beat Mastermind's (then) youngest champion, Gavin Fuller, in the final.

Web links

Wikipedia entry


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