Now You See It



Johnny Beattie (1981-4)

Jack McLaughlin (1985-6)

Grant Stott (Celebrity version)

Fred MacAulay (Children's version)


Goodson-Todman Productions and Talbot Television for Scottish Television (regional), 5 January 1981 to 27 July 1986

Celebrity Version: 1993 (as part of Weymyss Bay 902101)

Children's Version: 11 July 1994 to August 1995


Quite enoyable word game which migrated south of the Border after a few successful seasons in Celticland. Four players answered questions which were hidden in four lines of letters which contain a number of overlapping words, like so:


The game board was electronic and not dissimilar to Mr Babbage of Family Fortunes fame. There was a grid of numbers around the outside so that you could give the co-ordinate of the correct answer.

You had to identify the numbered square of the first letter and name the answer. For example, if the question asked "Who won the 2006 Tour de France?" you might say "Line 2, position 5, LANDIS". The score for each question was the co-ordinates multiplied, so in this example you'd score 2 x 5 = 10 points.

In part 2, the top three players went on to play a cryptic round, the winner being the first to score four correct answers. The top two players went on to Round 3, which - imaginitively enough - was exactly the same as Round 1.

At the end, everybody was presented on camera with their engraved crystal decanter and four glasses; the top three were given their additional winnings in cash (£100 for first place). As soon as the credits had rolled, the contestants had to hand back the cash and wait for a cheque in the post!

Quite a few years later, it returned in 1993 for a short series of celebrity specials also aired as part of the children's magazine show Weymyss Bay 90210.

Now You See It returned the next year in the summer of 1994. Fred MacAulay hosted a series for children on Scottish TV. The board was replaced by computer graphics. Special editions with celebrities were made for Christmas and Hogmanay. Some episodes weren't aired until summer 1995, mixing with repeats from the previous year.


Based on a Goodson-Todman format created by Frank Wayne.


A number of Now You See It episodes were shown across the ITV network during summer 1981. We don't know if these were specially made for the network (and if you do, we're all ears). We do know that the show was only broadcast in Scotland for some years following. We do know that even the Sassenach controllers couldn't resist a good programme forever, as two series were made for national broadcast in 1985 and 1986. Were these shown by STV a few months earlier? Again, we don't know.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

BFI database entry (Regular version)

BFI database entry (Children's version)


Watch the kids' version on Youtube


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