Turnabout (game show)

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Format Game show
Created by Clive Doig
Presented by Rob Curling
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 8
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Turnabout Productions
Original channel BBC One
Picture format 4:3
Original run 26 March 1990 (1990-03-26) – 1996 (1996)

Turnabout was a BBC Television daytime quiz programme that aired on BBC One from 26 March 1990 until 1996. The programme was hosted by Rob Curling.


Sphere Game[edit]

The sphere game had 16 balls with different colours on them, this was against a time limit of 3:00 minutes. The 3 contestants had to give correct answers using 3 letters, for instance: RAP - A light carriage. Answer - TRAP. If they got it wrong, 5 points would be deducted and another contestant can buzz in (they did not lose 5 points for an incorrect answer in the first series). If they got it right, they could choose a sphere to turn their colour. If they got 3 linking spheres, they got 5 points, but if they got 4 in a row, they get 10 points. The next round was the same, but the 3 letters were "Turnabouted" to the backwards letters (e.g. - TRU - URT or ALL - LLA).

In the first series the game was played on a 'winner stays on' basis as at the end of the sphere game the contestant with the highest score would go on to play the Star Game to add to his or her score then play another sphere game against 2 new contestants.

Palindrome Game (1994–5)[edit]

It's the same as the sphere game but the 3 letters in this game are forwards to backwards (e.g. - ESE or OLO).

Star game[edit]

In the Star Game, each of the three contestants would get a choice of 3, 3 letter words (e.g. - ANE, ENA or EAN). On the wall would be grid of 16 words with the relevant letters in, and the player would get 10 seconds to study it before 50 seconds to answer as many questions as they could. Each correct answer to a question is worth 5 points and each word would 'flip' over and reveal a star with a colour they're representing. They couldn't come back to any questions if they passed on one or got one wrong. If they got all 16 correct without passing or getting one wrong they'd win 80 points. There is usually another one for the winner after the 2nd sphere game but it was dropped after the 1995 series.

About Turn (Spring - Autumn 1996)[edit]

In this round, the 3 contestants have to buzz in with the 3 letters missing in a word. Each correct answer is worth 15 points for the person in 3rd place, 10 points for the person in 2nd place and 5 points for the person in 1st place. If a contestant gets it wrong 5 points will be deducted from their score.

The Pool[edit]

In series 2, the programme introduced a pool of water in the middle of the set. At one time Rob Curling nearly fell into the pool itself; just as he recovered from falling in he said, "I was just about to fall into the pool there, before I do let's introduce our contestants".

The ripples in the pool shown at the start and end of the programme were created by someone moving a plank of wood backwards and forwards, but it occasionally had to be reshot a number of times as the plank moved too fast, causing water to spill onto the studio floor.

Sphere colour alteration[edit]

At the beginning of the first series, the spheres on the game board were each one of three colours; red, orange, or blue. At the beginning of the first edition of the second series, Rob Curling informed the viewers that the colour green would from that point onwards be replacing the colour orange. He referred to this by jokingly saying that he'd had to change his name from 'Rob' to 'Rgb'.


  • Series 1: Alec Dalrymple
  • Series 2: Jackie McLeod
  • Series 3: Glenys Hopkins
  • Series 4: David Poulter
  • Series 5: David Webb
  • Series 6: Mike Billson
  • Series 7: Roger Prebble
  • Series 8: Wendy Rosser

At the end of the 1992 series a special edition of Turnabout was broadcast featuring the first 3 winners playing against each other which was won by Jackie McLeod.


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 26 March 1990[1] 12 April 1990[1] 12[1]
2 25 March 1991  ??  ??
3 23 March 1992  ??  ??
4 5 April 1993  ??  ??
5 30 August 1994  ??  ??
6 10 July 1995  ??  ??
7 5 February 1996  ??  ??
8 2 September 1996  ??  ??


  1. ^ a b c "Evening Times". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 

External links[edit]