Memory Bank



Rachel Pierman or Jonathan Gould (rotating)


Endemol UK Productions Midlands for five, 8 March to 1 October 2004


Like its stablemate Brainteaser, Memory Bank is broadcast live, and pays its way by inviting viewers to call in and answer a screamingly easy observation question.

Three players take part in the studio game, and if any contestant gets their question wrong, the question is passed on to the next player. Should the second player also err, then the answer is revealed, the third player doesn't get a chance to play. Where there are two contestants of similar strength, the one sat on the left of the pair will win; there seems to be an advantage to sitting in the third seat, as scores in the opening round seem to be lower than elsewhere in the show.

All rounds are played on a grid of 16 squares, and in this round the first fifteen are filled with similar pictures, as in the classic card game Pelmanism - previous shows that used that game as a format, either fully or partially, were Concentration, Four Square and Steal. Five standard sets of pictures, one per day, are used over most weeks: these are smiley faces, national flags, each of two sets of road signs - either circular order signs or triangular warning signs - and Roman numerals. Occasionally, however, topical pictures are used, relating to specific events such as Easter, the World Cup and the Athens Olympics. (The Roman numerals are arguably the hardest of the regular pictures to remember, while the easiest tend to be the road signs, except perhaps for non-drivers). Twenty seconds to remember what you see, then the pictures are concealed behind their respective numbers once again, and the sixteenth square is filled by one of the other pictures. In turn, the contestants have to remember the locations of the images in order pair the squares. The final contestant has to describe the last picture to win their points - this question can't be passed on.

After that, a reminder of the Stunningly Easy Phone In Question.

Round two sees sixteen answers on a certain subject put up on the grid, and the host reads out the questions. The contestant gives the number, and if the answer is the one they're looking for, points are awarded. This round could almost be played with pictures, depending on the subject concerned.

For those who missed it, the first Stunningly Easy Phone In Question gets answered, only to be replaced by a Second Stunningly Easy Phone In Question For Double The Money. Then there's a commercial break. And another chance to see the SSEPIQFDTM.

The third round is exactly the same as the second, except it's with different answers and questions. As the show is live, if time is not on the contestants' side, this round can be curtailed early. Indeed, as the show is live, fluffs between the host (such as when they read out the answer to the question) and contestant aren't edited out.

These last two rounds suffer from a Really Silly Buzzer Finale: the contestants compete on the buzzer to name the last square, but have to wait until the host gives them permission to buzz, making it as much a test of reaction as memory.

The highest score after these three rounds goes through to the finale, but first has to sit through yet another chance to see the Second Stunningly Easy Phone In Question For Double The Money.

The grand final sees twenty words appear on screen, one each second. The host then witters on at the competitor, explaining what will happen. They'll have 45 seconds to remember as many words as possible: £50 for the first ten, £100 for the next five, £200 for the last five, so a potential jackpot of £2000.

Memory Bank briefly expanded to a one-hour format, involving further rounds along the same lines. The show aired for the last time on 1 October 2004. It was certainly a good-natured and reasonably entertaining show, with the added benefit of being easy to play along with, even if it didn't ultimately prove as successful as Brainteaser.


"Let's play 'Double Vision'" or, "Play along at home, as we play 'Double Vision'" (and the same for 'Back To Front')

"...Now don't worry if you can't remember where everything is - we'll be flipping the squares as the game progresses..."

"Can you tell me - what's behind Number (whatever)?"

"...Buzz in now!"

Web links

Bother's Bar review


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