Only Connect

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Only Connect
Only Connect title.png
Only Connect logo
Format Game show
Presented by Victoria Coren Mitchell
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 144 (including 17 specials)
Production
Producer(s) Presentable
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Four (2008-2014)
BBC Two (2014-onwards)[1]
BBC HD[2]
Picture format 16:9
Original run 15 September 2008 (2008-09-15) – present

Only Connect is a quiz show programme presented by Victoria Coren Mitchell, airing on BBC Four since 15 September 2008, and expected to move to BBC Two from late 2014.[1] In the series, teams compete in a tournament of finding connections between seemingly unrelated clues. Radio Times's listings usually describe it as "a game of patience and lateral thinking".

Etymology[edit]

The phrase "Only connect" was originally used as the epigraph to E. M. Forster's 1910 novel Howards End. It was spoken by the character Margaret Schlegel.

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.

The quote was the basis of an unanswered question in the grand final of series nine - the beast, the monk, the prose, the passion, to which the answer was Only Connect.

Format[edit]

M17 M17
E23
V28
I9
N35
N35
N35
D10
Question labels
in hieroglyphs

Each programme has two teams of three people competing in four rounds of gameplay. In the first three series, clues in Rounds 1 and 2 and the connecting walls in Round 3 were identified by Greek letters. In series 4 Coren announced that this idea had been dropped, ostensibly due to viewer complaints that it was too pretentious, and that henceforth Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (two reeds, lion, twisted flax, horned viper, water and the eye of Horus) would be used instead. The show's opening sequence continued to display Greek letters until series 5, when they were replaced with the hieroglyphs. In series 7 the "knockout" format was modified to let losing teams compete for second chance places, in a rule change that Coren Mitchell said that even she did not fully understand. This reduced the number of competing teams from 16 to 8, and the episodes from 16 to 13, compared with the previous series except no. 2.

Round 1: Connections[edit]

Teams are given up to four clues and must try to figure out the connection between them within 40 seconds. The team is initially shown one clue, and may request the remaining three clues at any time within the 40 seconds (they are not automatically shown). The team may press their buzzer to guess after the first clue for 5 points, the second for 3, the third for 2, or the fourth for 1. If the team guesses incorrectly, or fails to buzz within the time allotted, the question is thrown over to the other team for a bonus point, after being shown any remaining clues. Typically, one of the six puzzles involves pictures, and another uses pieces of music, both classical and contemporary.

The image shows four boxes arranged in a horizontal line, containing sequential clues of "A hammer and feather", "Six US flags", "Eugene Shoemaker's ashes" and "Two golf balls".
Example Puzzle for Round 1. To earn points on this puzzle, teams would have to provide the answer "Items left on the Moon" (or a variant thereof).

Round 2: Sequences[edit]

Each set of clues is now a sequence, and teams must try to figure out the fourth item in the sequence (therefore, the team will only be able to see three clues), again as early as possible. They must give the final item in the sequence, and score points even if their theory for the connection is incorrect. As in the previous round, each team will play three sets; again, if one team fails to guess, it is thrown over to the other team, who can see any remaining clues and earn one point by guessing correctly. As in Round 1, one of the sets of clues involves pictures.

For example, sequential clues of "5 C in an N", "2 N in a D" and "2 1/2 D in a Q" would be answered correctly with "4 Q in a D" (the explanation being abbreviations of US coin values, five cents in one nickel, etc.)

Round 3: Connecting Wall[edit]

An example "Connecting Wall" puzzle. The answer requires dividing the items into "Terms for zero", "Poker terms", "Flying ___" and "Things made of rubber".

Each team receives a wall of 16 clues and must figure out a perfect solution, consisting of four groups of four connected items. The puzzles are designed to suggest more connections than actually exist, and some clues appear to fit into more than one category. Teams score 1 point for each group found within 2 minutes 30 seconds. They try to create one group at a time, and may make unlimited guesses on the first two groups. Once two groups have been identified, they only have three chances to identify the remaining two groups.

Should the team fail to complete the wall, the missing groupings are shown. Teams can then earn 1 point per group for identifying the connection, regardless of whether they correctly identified the grouping. A team that identifies all four groups and all four connections earns a 2-point bonus, for a total of 10 points. Unlike the previous two rounds, teams have no opportunity to score on their opponents' wall.

On 1 March 2010, an interactive online version of this round was put on the Only Connect website.[3] Since mid-2011, coinciding with series 5, the website took online submissions for new Connecting Walls, although a successful submission does not guarantee publication on the site.[citation needed]

Round 4: Missing Vowels[edit]

In a final buzzer round, the teams are presented with a series of word puzzles. The category of the puzzles is given prior to them being displayed, and each category contains a maximum of four puzzles. Each puzzle is a word or phrase with the vowels removed and the spaces shifted to disguise the original words. For example, in a category of "Booker Prize-winning novels", a puzzle of "VR NNGDLT TL" would be correctly answered as "Vernon God Little".

Teams answer simultaneously using buzzers, and score 1 point for each puzzle they solve. Initially there was no penalty for guessing incorrectly on this round, but starting with the quarter-finals in Series 1, teams have faced a penalty of 1 point for each incorrect answer. Additionally, if the team that buzzes provides an incorrect answer (even by a single letter) or fails to answer quickly, the opposing team is given an opportunity to answer for a bonus point.

The round lasts for two minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the game advances in the tournament. If teams are tied, then a single sudden-death puzzle is given to the captains of each team with no category given. If a captain buzzes in first and gives the correct answer then their team wins, but an incorrect answer automatically forfeits the game.

Transmissions[edit]

Original series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1
15 September 2008
22 December 2008
15
2
13 July 2009
31 August 2009
8
3
4 January 2010
12 April 2010
15
4
6 September 2010
27 December 2010
16
5
15 August 2011
5 December 2011
16
6
27 August 2012
17 December 2012
16
7
13 May 2013
5 August 2013
13
8
23 September 2013
23 December 2013
13
9
14 April 2014
7 July 2014
13

Ratings[edit]

Series 1[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 15 September 2008 N/A N/A
2 22 September 2008 256,000 6
3 29 September 2008 285,000 7
4 6 October 2008 217,000 10
5 13 October 2008 N/A N/A
6 20 October 2008 N/A N/A
7 27 October 2008 N/A N/A
8 3 November 2008 N/A N/A
9 10 November 2008 N/A N/A
10 17 November 2008 N/A N/A
11 24 November 2008 N/A N/A
12 1 December 2008 258,000 6
13 8 December 2008 191,000 10
14 15 December 2008 N/A N/A
15 22 December 2008 N/A N/A

Series 2[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 13 July 2009 272,000 5
2 20 July 2009 230,000 4
3 27 July 2009 N/A N/A
4 3 August 2009 202,000 7
5 10 August 2009 262,000 4
6 17 August 2009 N/A N/A
7 24 August 2009 261,000 4
8 31 August 2009 267,000 10

Series 3[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 4 January 2010 369,000 9
2 11 January 2010 388,000 4
3 18 January 2010 422,000 3
4 25 January 2010 N/A N/A
5 1 February 2010 371,000 4
6 8 February 2010 338,000 6
7 15 February 2010 277,000 9
8 22 February 2010 336,000 8
9 1 March 2010 432,000 3
10 8 March 2010 308,000 6
11 15 March 2010 464,000 1
12 22 March 2010 506,000 2
13 29 March 2010 507,000 4
14 5 April 2010 442,000 4
15 12 April 2010 376,000 4

Series 4[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 6 September 2010 507,000 1
2 13 September 2010 428,000 6
3 20 September 2010 450,000 4
4 27 September 2010 572,000 1
5 4 October 2010 480,000 1
6 11 October 2010 524,000 2
7 18 October 2010 609,000 2
8 25 October 2010 656,000 2
9 1 November 2010 684,000 1
10 8 November 2010 633,000 1
11 22 November 2010 586,000 1
12 29 November 2010 640,000 1
13 6 December 2010 586,000 1
14 13 December 2010 628,000 2
15 20 December 2010 664,000 1
16 27 December 2010 452,000 7

Series 5[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 15 August 2011 650,000 1
2 22 August 2011 623,000 2
3 29 August 2011 635,000 2
4 5 September 2011 707,000 2
5 12 September 2011 635,000 1
6 19 September 2011 646,000 1
7 26 September 2011 583,000 1
8 3 October 2011 759,000 1
9 10 October 2011 673,000 1
10 17 October 2011 807,000 2
11 24 October 2011 737,000 2
12 31 October 2011 697,000 1
13 7 November 2011 745,000 1
14 21 November 2011 712,000 3
15 28 November 2011 853,000 3
16 5 December 2011 762,000 3

Series 6[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 27 August 2012 967,000 1
2 3 September 2012 854,000 1
3 10 September 2012 942,000 1
4 17 September 2012 802,000 2
5 24 September 2012 894,000 1
6 1 October 2012 888,000 1
7 8 October 2012 988,000 1
8 15 October 2012 936,000 1
9 22 October 2012 1,018,000 1
10 29 October 2012 1,006,000 1
11 5 November 2012 1,004,000 1
12 19 November 2012 913,000 3
13 26 November 2012 1,160,000 1
14 3 December 2012 918,000 3
15 10 December 2012 886,000 3
16 17 December 2012 1,078,000 1

Series 7[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 13 May 2013 787,000 3
2 20 May 2013 728,000 1
3 27 May 2013 894,000 1
4 3 June 2013 720,000 1
5 10 June 2013 669,000 2
6 17 June 2013 804,000 1
7 24 June 2013 850,000 1
8 1 July 2013 775,000 1
9 8 July 2013 706,000 2
10 15 July 2013 963,000 1
11 22 July 2013 991,000 2
12 29 July 2013 1,182,000♦ 1
13 5 August 2013 1,080,000 1

♦ Highest rated edition to date (first showing on BBC Four)

Series 8[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 23 September 2013 786,000 3
2 30 September 2013 958,000 1
3 7 October 2013 1,031,000 1
4 14 October 2013 907,000 2
5 21 October 2013 859,000 2
6 28 October 2013 898,000 2
7 4 November 2013 920,000 2
8 18 November 2013 888,000 1
9 25 November 2013 947,000 1
10 2 December 2013 913,000 1
11 9 December 2013 940,000 1
12 16 December 2013 1,000,000 1
13 23 December 2013 945,000 2

Series 9[edit]

Episode No. Airdate Viewers BBC Four Weekly Ranking
1 14 April 2014 822,000 1
2 21 April 2014 796,000 1
3 28 April 2014 895,000 2
4 5 May 2014 842,000 2
5 12 May 2014 864,000 2
6 19 May 2014 652,000 4
7 26 May 2014 773,000 3
8 2 June 2014 775,000 3
9 9 June 2014 720,000 2
10 16 June 2014 597,000 2
11 23 June 2014 764,000 2
12 30 June 2014 631,000 4
13 7 July 2014 800,000 2

Specials[edit]

Date Title Viewers BBC Four weekly ranking
21 December 2009 Series 1 & 2 Champions Special N/A N/A
15 November 2010 Children in Need Special: Wheelmen vs. Larks 599,000 1
10 January 2011 Series 3 & 4 Champions Special 558,000 1
17 January 2011 Crossworders vs. University Challengers[4] 615,000 3
14 March 2011 Comic Relief Special: Treesome vs. Larks 468,000 4
14 November 2011 Children in Need Special: Great Believers vs. Free Speakers 794,000 3
12 December 2011 Wall Night Special 673,000 3
523,000 5
2 January 2012 Champion of Champions: Crossworders vs. Epicureans[5] 761,000 6
9 January 2012 Crossworders vs. Mastermind Champions[5] 650,000 4
31 January 2012 Wall Night Special 2 634,000 5
N/A N/A
19 March 2012 Sport Relief Special: Cutters vs. Backhanders 706,000 2
12 November 2012 Children in Need Special: Goldfingers vs. Fowls 1,078,000 3
7 January 2013 Series 5 & 6 Champions Special 982,000 1
14 January 2013 Eggheads vs. Davids 1,173,000 1
11 March 2013 Comic Relief Special: Neuromantics vs. Muppets 999,000 1
11 November 2013 Children in Need Special: Scrabblers vs. The Balding Team 967,000 2
17 March 2014 Sport Relief Special: Scribblers vs. Terriers 750,000 2

Names in bold indicate the captains of the celebrity teams.

Champions[edit]

  • Series 1: Crossworders (Mark Grant, David Stainer, Ian Bayley)
  • Series 2: Rugby Boys (Richard Parnell, Gary Dermody, Mark Labbett)
  • Series 3: Gamblers (Jenny Ryan, Dave Bill, Alan Gibbs)
  • Series 4: Epicureans (David Brewis, Katie Bramall-Stainer, Aaron Bell)
  • Series 5: Analysts (Paul Steeples, David Lea, William De Ath)
  • Series 6: Scribes (Holly Pattenden, Dom Tait, Gareth Price)
  • Series 7: Francophiles (Ian Clark, Mark Walton, Sam Goodyear)
  • Series 8: Board Gamers (Hywel Carver, Jamie Karran, Michael Wallace)
  • Series 9: Europhiles (Douglas Thomson, Mark Seager, Khuram Rashid)
  • Series 1 vs. Series 2: Crossworders
  • Series 3 vs. Series 4: Epicureans
  • Champion of Champions (Series 1/2 winner vs. Series 3/4 winner): Crossworders
  • Series 5 vs. Series 6: Scribes
  • Wall Night 1: Technologists
  • Wall Night 2: Inorganic Chemists

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Victoria Coren Mitchell (2013-10-18). "Media Centre - Only Connect moves to BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  2. ^ "BBC Four – Only Connect, Series 5, Fantasy Footballers vs Antiquarians". Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Play Only Connect". BBC Four. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "University Challenge Special". BBC Four. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b David Crawford (30 November 2011). "Victoria Coren: "We should respect Christopher Biggins more than Daniel Day-Lewis"". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 

External links[edit]