1 9 6 6 – 1 9 7 2 (UK)
For British football fans, BBC1’s Quiz Ball was must-see television and consistently rated amongst the highest viewed family TV shows of the late ’60s and early ’70s, running until 1972. David Vine was the original host/referee. Stuart Hall took over later.
The game was essentially a “football match” in the form of a general knowledge quiz with the two competing teams made up of three representatives (players and officials) from a top English or Scottish league football club and a “celebrity” supporter.
The teams chose whether to answer four easy questions, three medium questions, two hard questions or one tough question to make their way up the electronic scoreboard (“the pitch”) and score a goal.
The opposition could opt to “tackle” and answer their opponents question a limited number of times in order to block the run. If they got the answer right they won possession – but a wrong answer during a tackle meant conceding a goal.
Whoever had the most goals at the end of the show was the winner and that team would go forward to the next round.
The debut episode featured Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest, with Arsenal represented by Ian Ure, Terry Neill and Bertie Mee, with BBC radio DJ Jimmy Young as their celebrity supporter. Forest’s team comprised Bobby McKinlay, John Barnwell and John Carey, with celebrity farmer Ted Moult helping them. Ted eventually scored eight goals in three games for Forest, including all five in their first-round victory over Celtic.
Other guest supporters throughout the series included Tommy Trinder (Fulham), John Arlott (Southampton), Percy Thrower (West Bromwich Albion), Brian Close (Leeds), Sam Kydd (Chelsea), Leonard Sachs (Sheffield Wednesday *and* Leeds), Gordon Jackson (Dunfermline Athletic), Pete Murray (Fulham), Brian Moore (Tottenham), Sam Leitch (Leicester City), Magnus Magnusson (Kilmarnock), Harry Carpenter (Fulham), Mike Smith (Coventry City), Kenneth Cope (Everton), Alfie Bass (Crystal Palace), James Bolam (Sunderland), John Laurie (Dundee), Lance Percival (Chelsea), Ed Stewart (Everton), Kenny Lynch (Manchester City), Peter Cook (Tottenham), Richard Wattis (Crystal Palace), Nicholas Parsons (Leicester City), Hugh Lloyd (Chelsea), Roy Kinnear (Colchester), Jimmy Logan (Dunfermline) and Jon Pertwee (Dunfermline in the 1971 Final).
Quiz Ball finals
1966-1967: Arsenal 7 – 3 Dunfermline Athletic
1967-1968: Nottingham Forest 1 – 2 West Bromwich Albion
1969-1970: Celtic 3 – 1 Hearts
1970 (Champions Series): Celtic 7 – 5 Everton
1970-1971: Derby County 4 – 2 Crystal Palace
1971-1972: Dunfermline Athletic 3 – 1 Leicester City