“ Broadcaster: BBC4 / Type: Quiz „
Only Connect is a great quiz show that many people may miss as it is shown on BBC Four and tucked away. It was first aired in 2008 and is presented by Victoria Coren. I think it is quite challenging and the game involves teams competing against one another trying to find connections to puzzles with clues that seem quite unrelated altogether. It does appear to need a lot of patience and thinking outside the box from the contestants involved. Each week there are two teams comprising of three team members playing against one another.
One of the things that is good about this game apart from the host who is professional, is that they get on with the quiz rather than wasting alot of time interviewing and talking to the players. It's good to just get on with the game which is interesting in itself and keeps you focused.
There are four rounds in total in the quiz show. Round one is called the Connections round where the teams are given up to four clues in order to try and figure out what the link is between the clues within a stipulated time limit. The team will start by being shown one clue and then can request the other clues at any time within the time if they are stuck. They get given five points if only given one clue, three points for two clues, two points for the third clue and just one point if they have to use al their clues to get the answer. If they answer incorrectly or run out of time the opposing team has the chance to answer correctly. The questions in this round vary from picture puzzles to music etc.
Round two features sequences and each set of clues now becomes a sequence. Each team in turn must figure out the fourth item in the sequence as quick as they can. As with the previous round the other team get a chance to answer if incorrect.
Round three is called Connecting Wall. Each team in turn gets given a wall of sixteen clues and has to work out a solution to the wall with four connections for four different items. This seemed possibly the hardest round for me.
The final round, round four is called missing vowels. It is a buzzer round where the teams are presented with word puzzles one at a time. Each puzzle in turn is a word or phrase with vowels taken out of them and the spaces moved along to hide the original words.
If you've never watched this fantastic little quiz then it's well worth looking at and putting your brain to the test.
Only Connect is a quiz show, shown on BBC4 and in my opinion on of the hardest quiz shows I've ever seen.
The premise is simple enough. Well, OK, it isn't. The main point of the series is to find connections between clues, through different rounds. The first round is simple: clues are given and the contestants (there are two teams of three, usually groups of friends from some ridiculously hard science degree) have to figure out what the connection between them is. The less clues they need, the more points they earn. The second round works the same: they are given images or words, one at a time, but this time they have to not only figure out the connection, but also what is last in the sequence. The third round features a board of 16 different terms or names, and they have to group them together and the fourth round is the "missing vowels" round, where certain words or names from various categories are shown, but they are squeezed together and the vowels are removed. The contestants must try to figure out what it is.
Only Connect is, I have to say, incredibly difficult. Probably one of the hardest quiz shows I've seen. It's things which you have to know, otherwise there's no way you can guess, but as hard as it may seem, it's incredibly fun to watch and there's always a "well, duh!" moment when they tell you what the answers are and you realize you should have gotten it too.
It's hosted by the lovely Victoria Coren, which some people might know better through her professional poker playing, who remains cheerful and weirdly almost teacher-like throughout the episode.
Only Connect is a great joy to watch, and a fantastic way to exercise your brain for half an hour.
Not many people will have heard of this show as it seems to have been hidden away on BBC 4. However, I think it deserves much more coverage and a slot on one of the more watched TV channels. I only found it by accident when it happened to appear on the 'tv highlights' section of BBC iplayer.
It's a fantasic new concept of a quiz hosted by Victoria Coren and is based around making connections. It's a real test of the brain!
Two teams compete in 4 rounds altogether. In the first round contestants are shown 4 things and have to make a connection between them. The quicker they guess the more points they get e.g. 3 points if they only see 2 pictures, 1 point if they see all 4. The things can be words, numbers, pictures or sound clips. Sometimes these connections seem completely obscure and impossible to work out.
In the second round they are allowed to see the first 3 things and have to work out what the 4th picture in the sequence is. The same rules apply to the points.
In the third round (my favourite part -even though I suck at it) contestants are shown a grid of 16 words. They have to sort the words into groups that have connections. They then have to say what connects each of the groups. The BBC have recently put a selection of these 'walls' on their website (www.bbc.co.uk/onlyconnect) to allow keen viewers the chance to solve. I do have to admit that I only seem to be able to solve one of them!!
In the final round they are shown words or phrases with the vowels removed and the consonants re-spaced they have to work out what the word or phrase is. This is the part that I seem to be the best at.
Overall, the quiz is brilliant. Victoria does a great job as quiz master and brings a sense of humour to the show. She doesn't talk too much to the contestants which is good, as some quizzes seem to be full of boring chat!
Even if I do manage to get only an average of one connection correct in each show it's still a great quiz to watch and a brilliant challenge for the mind.
Hidden discretely away on BBC4 is a fabulous little quiz show that most people will probably not have heard of but it is well worth seeking out if you want to give your brain a bit of a workout! It is a clever show for clever people - probably far cleverer than I could hope to be but I still really enjoy watching it.
The show is hosted by Victoria Coren and each week two teams of three pit their wits against each other. No one on the teams is a celebrity of any sort - just clever people who want to see just how clever they are (but not in any condescending way!) You can tell that the people are going to be very clever by the names that they give their teams - neuroscientists, philosophers and polymaths just to mention a few from this current series! There is very little chit chat with the contestants, which I like, and after ascertaining who the people are and their connection with each other; it's straight on with the quiz.
There are four rounds in the show and they are all concerned with making connections - and some of these can be a little obscure! The first round they have four picture, objects or pieces of music. The quicker the teams can make the connection using the least amount of pictures, the more points they will win for their team. This round seems incredibly difficult to me and teams really are required to 'think outside the box' in order to work it out! The next round is about sequences and teams have to work out the fourth word or idea in a set of four, again getting more points if they don't use all the clues. This is also very difficult but there is something very satisfying if you ever do work it out before the contestants.
The last two rounds are my favourites. The third round involves facing a grid of sixteen words and contestants have to group them in fours. It might sound quite easy but there are lots of red herrings and they quite often end up pursuing dead ends. Gain many of the connections require a great deal of lateral thinking! The final round is great and surprisingly is the easiest round of them all. Contestants are given clues for items that are connecting and they see what they are written down but with all the vowels removed and the spaces between words in the wrong places. You have to be quick on the buzzer with this round and it is fast moving and fun!
I hope I have given a flavour of what this programme is like and it really does provide an intellectual challenge. Even if I can't work out all the answers it is fascinating to see what the links are. It is also not so difficult though that you would give up trying to work the problems out without ever trying. I like the fact that I am sometimes clever enough to work out just the odd connection!
The programme is first shown on Mondays at 8.30 for half an hour but it is also repeated twice throughout the week on a Tuesday and a Thursday - all shown on BBC4. For some reason though, it does not seem to be shown on the BBC iplayer.
I first started watching Only Connect at the beginning of series 2. It's now about 7 episodes into the 15-part series 3, so there is definitely time for you to get addicted to this quirky quiz show too!
Only Connect is presented by Victoria Coren and new episodes are on at 8.30pm Mondays on BBC Four, plus it is repeated three further times during the week. It feels to me like one of the intelligent radio quiz shows, though this has been written for TV and I think would only work well in this format.
The idea behind the rounds on the show is working out the connections between things that on the surface seem unrelated. Two teams of three people compete against each other to score the most points and to go on to the finals. The type of contestants on this show are what I can only describe as the academic and eccentric end of the social spectrum - often the team members know each other because they are working on PhD's in a similar subject or share specialised interests.
Each show consists of four rounds. My favourites are the sequence round, where the team is gradually shown three words, pictures or sounds and they have to work out what is the fourth in the sequence. This can range from general knowledge type questions (e.g. Prime Ministers in order), word games and puzzles to well know sequences (e.g. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Of course, you don't know what type of connection you are looking for, which is what makes it so tricky! The fewer clues the team needs to get the right answer, the more points they get.
My other favourite is the final round, where the teams have a chance to win a lot of points quickly and I have seen teams come from a long way behind to win the show. Victoria tells the team what the connection is (say, Titles of Shakespeare Plays), then we get shown a series of said titles but with the vowels removed and the consonants squished together in a random way. This moves really fast, and it has the same feel as the anagram round on Countdown where you feel the pressure of the timer running out!
These are my favourite two rounds because they are the ones where I am most likely to get the answers! This is a hard quiz though, so even that doesn't happen too often.
The other two rounds I find much harder and so feel very pleased with myself when I get an answer right. During the first round, the team is gradually shown four words, sounds or pictures and they have to work out what the connection is between them - unlike the sequence round these don't have to be in any particular order. Again, they get more points the fewer clues they have seen.
The third round is the Connecting Wall. The team is shown a 4x4 grid of clues. They have to beat the timer to sort these into four sets of four connected groups. This is made harder because some of the clues can potentially fit into more than one category and the makers of the show like to throw in some of these red herrings!
Victoria Coren lifts the glamour level on a show where the contestants can tend to look - how can I say this? - a bit nerdy. She is smart and witty and a very natural host.
Overall, if you like puzzle-y, 'thinky' quiz shows, Only Connect will be right up your street. The episodes from series 3 that have already been shown are still on iplayer so you can catch up. There aren't many of this type of quiz on TV, so it's wonderful when a top-notch one like Only Connect comes along. Since it's now on its third series with so many repeats I'm optimistic that this is popular enough to carry on for many more series. I certainly hope so!