Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1970s 3-2-1


1 9 7 8 – 1 9 8 7 (UK)
180 x 60 minute episodes

Ted Rogers and Dusty Bin (a robotic dustbin with a face on the front) appeared in this bizarre game show from Yorkshire Television, along with Rogers’ wrist-spraining gesture.


Regular guests included The Brian Rogers Connection (no relation to Ted), and six hostesses known as the Gentle Secs.

Winning contestants either walked away with a Ford Fiesta (or similar) or a new dustbin.

The game (developed from a Spanish game show) began with three couples competing in a general knowledge round called the ‘1,000-to-1-quiz’, with cash awarded for each correct answer.

Here is a genuine excerpt from a 3-2-1 show . . .

Rogers: “This is a composer. German by birth, English by adoption. Best known for an oratorio published in 1741. It was called Messiah. You’re bound to know his handle”.

Female contestant: “Oh God, I used to have it at school . . . Handel’s Water Music

Rogers: “So who’s the composer?”

Female contestant: “Schubert?”

Rogers: (shrugs shoulders and turns to other team) “So I can offer it to you”

Male contestant: “Beethoven?”

The couple with the least amount of cash at the end of the round would be eliminated straight away – empty handed but for a ceramic facsimile of Dusty Bin.


The two remaining couples then endured mind-numbingly C-Grade comedy and musical sketches, at the end of which the “performer” would give Ted a clue and plug whatever they had to plug – usually a panto or “summer season” (mental note: Whatever happened to the “Summer Season”?).

The couples had to decide which clue to discard (hopefully the one which would be rewarded with a new dustbin) and eventually the sole remaining couple would have to accept one prize and reject another based on some insane logic-free cryptic clues and an object from the aforementioned crap sketches (performed by resident comedians Duggie Brown, Debbie Arnold and Chris Emmett), in the hope of winning aforementioned car (or caravan, boat etc). This segment was cunningly titled ‘Take It Or Leave It’.

3-2-1 was huge in Britain where it featured in the Saturday night TV schedule and regularly attracted 16 million viewers, even though many of them could not grasp the workings of the quiz-plus-game-show format.

Dusty Bin – which cost £10,500 to build – was operated on the show by his creator, robotics expert Ian Rowley, by means of a radio-controlled handset, similar to those that control model aircraft.