Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Compiling the quiz - TV Tie ins - Music Round

Today I finished compiling the Thursday night quiz for the rugby club. Just a couple of observations I’d like to make about that. I o use quiz books to help me compile a quiz. I don’t get all of my questions just from these sources, but they are a help. I’ve got quite a large selection of quiz books that I’ve built up over the years. A substantial amount of them are book tie ins from TV quizzes. In fact I would go so far as to say that I’ve become something of an addict, and collect all I find.

The point I’m driving towards is this. The oldest book in the collection is probably the 1969 First TV top of the Form Quiz Book. Under 50s might like to know that TV Top of the Form was the TV version of one of the longest running quizzes of all time – radio’s Top of the Form. Top of the Form ran on the radio from 1948 until 1986 ! The TV version had a good long run too – from 1962 to 1975. Basically it was a general knowledge quiz between teams of school children. There were at least 8 quiz books produced to tie in with the series.

Now, you might think that since the quiz was for schoolchildren, the questions would be too easy to use in my quiz. And some of them are. A great many of them though, are surprisingly good questions for a pub quiz. If I compare these books with, for example, the recent “Eggheads” quiz book, I would say that on average the questions are even a little bit harder than they are in the more modern book. What, I wonder, does that say about us in the 21st century ?

On the same note, on ebay this month I bought a rare copy of the 1978 University Challenge Quizbook. I can honestly say it is probably the most challenging quiz book I have ever read. There’s a much newer University Challenge quizbook which was bought out in 1995 just after the BBC revived the series, and this is good, but its nowhere near as difficult.

So this is of course just a personal opinion, but I tend to find that with more modern TV tie in quiz books you’ll usually get a lot more questions. For example – The Weakest Link quiz book has over 3,000 questions, and the last 15-1 quiz books all had at least 2000 in them. The afore-mentioned TV Top of the Form books had 700 questions, and that was good for their day.
However the questions on the whole were better in the older books. In the modern ones they tend to be too easy, and there’s far too much on entertainment and popular culture

I can feel a rant coming on. This brings me to one of the things that really irritates me about some pub quizzes. Many pub quizzes have a music round. This can take a number of different forms, but usually involves being played bits of songs, and then being asked to name the song, or artist or both. I’ll admit that its not my favourite thing, but there we are, plenty of people like it. But what sticks in my throat is the fact that in many of these quizzes, you’ll have a music round, and then between a quarter or a third of the general knowledge questions will be about music too ! Last Sunday night, there were no less than 35 sons in the music round. Then in a round of 20 General Knowledge questions, 6 of them were also about pop music ! There’s no doubt that pop music is a valid and even important quiz subject, but not to the detriment of all others.

No comments: