Master Bridge



Nicola Gardener


Sammy Kehela


Brook for Channel 4, 16 April to 3 September 1983 (14 episodes in 1 series)


A duplicate bridge competition following the lead of the BBC’s Grand Slam, though unlike the Beeb’s series, Master Bridge was an individual contest, with eight players paired up with each of the others in turn. The concept was very much "learn about bridge by watching the masters" and although it wasn’t explained on-screen, the deals had been devised by host Nicola Gardener and series creator/producer David Elstein specifically to illustrate interesting situations and strategies in the game.

The participants were Jeremy Flint, Martin Hoffman, Zia Mahmood, Rixi Marcus, Jane Priday, Irving Rose, Omar Sharif and Martin Sheehan.

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Martin Hoffman

Theme music

An instrumental cover of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again”. Bobby Lamb was credited for the arrangement.


As the end credits helpfully told us, host Nicola Gardener was a tutor from the London School of Bridge, though that was rather underselling her credentials as a champion player even at the time. Now known as Nicola Smith, she's gone on to a long and distinguished career as a player; as of summer 2020 she's still the #2 ranked women's player in the world and her trophy cabinet has recently been classified as a dwarf planet by the IAU.

Producer David Elstein went on to become Director of Programmes for Thames Television, until it lost its franchise due to the Broadcasting Act 1990.


The presentation studio.
Guess who?
Guess who? (2)
A game in progress.
Top half of the leaderboard, partway through the series.


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