How Quizzing Got Cool: TV's Brains of Britain

How Quizzing Got Cool: TV's Brains of Britain


Here’s an absolute must-watch for Britain’s army of quizzers: a brisk, vastly entertaining trot through the history of television and radio quiz shows, from Wilfred Pickles and Have a Go, with its deadly sing-along theme tune and limp catchphrases (“’Ow do! How are you?”) to the big, shiny all-conquering The Chase, Pointless and Only Connect.

In the early years there were hilariously lofty denunciations of quiz shows that offered cash prizes to the lower orders, including one MP who huffed that such programmes were “socially unhealthy”.

There’s some jawdropping footage, too, of blameless Michael Miles, host of ITV’s Take Your Pick, getting a monstering on the BBC’s Late Night Line-up.

Current quizzers, including The Chase’s Paul Sinha, Shaun Wallace and Mark Labbett, all got their breaks on other TV quiz shows and talk of their love for the genre.


Victoria Coren Mitchell, Judith Keppel, Chris Tarrant, Mark Labbett and Nicholas Parsons help Ben Miller trace the origins of the pro-quizzers; quiz show veterans who have emerged from the crowd of quiz aficionados in recent years to achieve fame and fortune for their general knowledge prowess.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Ben Miller
Director Elaine Shepherd
Executive Producer Caroline Wright
Producer Elaine Shepherd