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Richard Osman reveals the secrets of Pointless

Ever wondered how the quiz show is filmed? What the biggest jackpot was and the funniest wrong answer? Osman reveals all…

Published: Monday, 16th January 2017 at 1:00 pm

Pointless is 1000 episodes old on the BBC. To celebrate the milestone, Richard Osman reveals how the series is filmed, and what goes on behind the scenes of the hit game show...


Do you use Wikipedia to find answers on Pointless?

At no point are the researchers allowed to use Wikipedia. Every fact has to be verified by three different sources, and Wikipedia can't be one of them.

I love Wikipedia: in my daily life, I think it’s the most extraordinary thing, the stuff you can find out. But there are lots of inconsistencies on Wikipedia because it’s user-generated. For something like a quiz, where you’ve got to be 100 per cent certain that everything’s right, you can’t trust it.

What was the biggest winning jackpot on Pointless?

Was won by David Hammond Williams and his son Jonathan, who walked away with £24,750 on 8 March 2013.

Do you use an autocue?

I’m very severely visually impaired, so I don’t work visually at all. I am very much a words person rather than a pictures person, and I always have been. I’ve got to sit right up to the telly if I want to see a picture, so I can’t do visual.

I write my own script and I’ll learn it, then [on screen] my eyes can go wherever I want them to. It’s what I’ve always done, to be honest. When I was at school, I just had to learn everything because I couldn’t see the board. So long as I’m not on autocue, I can relax.

He has an autocue, but he can still get it wrong.

Why do you always sit behind the desk?

When we swapped roles for the 1,000th edition, it really made me appreciate what Xander does, and I think it made him appreciate what I do. He certainly played up the comedy end. I was happy when I got back behind the desk.

What's the funniest answer you've ever heard on Pointless?

Undoubtedly came in June 2013 when contestant Gemma said JR [from Dallas, not JFK, John F Kennedy] was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas.

How many episodes of Pointless do you film a day?

The latest batch of 165 daytime and 45 primetime shows was filmed in blocks, four days a week, with four weekday or two celebrity shows each day.

Read more:


Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman on how Pointless got to 1,000 shows.


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