Only Connect

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Only Connect
Only Connect title.png
GenreGame show
Presented byVictoria Coren Mitchell
Theme music composerDawson Sabatini
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series14
No. of episodes308 (as of 29 April 2019) (inc. 27 specials)
Production
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Presentable (2008–13)
RDF Television and Parasol (2013–)
DistributorZodiak Media (2008–16)
Banijay Group (2016–)
Release
Original networkBBC Four (2008–14)
BBC Two (2014–)
Picture format16:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release15 September 2008 (2008-09-15) –
present
External links
Only Connect

Only Connect is a British game show presented by Victoria Coren Mitchell. It aired on BBC Four from 15 September 2008 to 7 July 2014 and then moved to BBC Two from 1 September 2014. In the series, teams compete in a tournament of finding connections between seemingly unrelated clues.

From 2008 until 2013 the show was recorded in Studio 1 at the ITV Wales Studios based at Culverhouse Cross in Cardiff, which have now been demolished. In late 2013 it moved temporarily to Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff, before settling from 2014 onwards at Enfys Studios in Cardiff.[1][2]

Title[edit]

The phrase "Only connect" was taken from E. M. Forster's 1910 novel Howards End.[3]

Format[edit]

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

Only Connect is deliberately difficult, [4][5] and its contestants are often characterized - including within the show itself - as nerdy or geeky.[5][6] Teams are encouraged to take names which reflect specialist interests or hobbies, such as the 'LARPers' or 'Francophiles'. [6][4] The show's questions will cover any topic, and many may require knowledge of both difficult or arcane subject areas and popular culture. Questions may also be self-referential, or based on linguistic or numeric tricks, rather than requiring any particular factual knowledge.[7] Coren-Mitchell's presenting includes very dry, sarcastic humour, which may include a gentle mocking of herself, the contestants, the viewers, the show's production team, celebrities, or other popular quizzes. [6][8]

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 Mitchell 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 displayed Greek letters in the first episode of Series 4, but these were replaced with the hieroglyphs in subsequent episodes.

Series 1-6 had a straight round-robin "knockout" format, which was then modified to a double-elimination tournament, in a rule change that Coren Mitchell said that even she did not fully understand. Series 12-13 shifted to a format identical to University Challenge, with a knockout first round combined with a repechage for the best performing losers and double-elimination quarter-finals. The number of competing teams has fluctuated: 16 in series 1, 3-6, 10-11 and 14; 8 teams in series 2,8 and 9; and 24 in series 12-13. The difficulty of questions generally increases by each round.

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. Once at least two clues are chosen, answers will be accepted based on connections between the displayed clues; teams occasionally identify a correct connection between the first two or three clues that would not have applied to remaining clue(s), and are still awarded points for this. If the team guesses incorrectly, or fails to buzz within the time allotted, the question is posed 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. Music questions are generally considered among the toughest questions in the quiz, and a team's dismay upon realising they have chosen the music question is a frequent source of humour on the programme.

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. Starting from the quarterfinals of Series 10, there is occasionally a sequence made by three music clips, and the contestants must supply the title of the fourth unplayed music clip.

For example, sequential clues of "5 C in a 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 a nickel, etc. Note that the half-dollar coin is not in wide circulation.)

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 include red herrings and to suggest more connections than actually exist, as some clues appear to fit into more than one category. [7] 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.[9] From mid-2011, coinciding with series 5, the website took online submissions for new Connecting Walls; the online game was discontinued for series 10.

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 between 90 seconds and three minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. If teams are tied, then a single sudden-death puzzle is given to the captains of each team. If a captain buzzes in first and gives the correct answer then their team wins, but an incorrect answer automatically forfeits the game. Although no category is officially given they make reference to their own role as sudden-death questions. Examples are "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish", "To the Victor, the Spoils" and "Winner Stays On".

Champions[edit]

  • Series 4: Epicureans (David Brewis,[13] Katie Bramall-Stainer,[13] Aaron Bell[13])
  • Series 5: Analysts (Paul Steeples,[13] David Lea,[13] William De Ath[13])
  • Series 6: Scribes (Holly Pattenden,[14] Dom Tait,[13] Gareth Price[15])
  • Series 7: Francophiles (Ian Clark,[16] Mark Walton,[16] Sam Goodyear[16])
  • Series 8: Board Gamers (Hywel Carver,[17] Jamie Karran,[13] Michael Wallace[13])
  • Series 9: Europhiles (Douglas Thomson,[13] Mark Seager,[18] Khuram Rashid[13])
  • Series 10: Orienteers (Paul Beecher,[19] Sean Blanchflower,[19] Simon Spiro[19])
  • Series 11: String Section (Tessa North,[20] Richard Aubrey,[20] Pete Sorel Cameron[20])
  • Series 12: Verbivores (Phyl Styles,[21] Graeme Cole,[21] Tom Cappleman[21])
  • Series 13: Escapologists (Frank Paul,[13] Lydia Mizon,[13] Tom Rowell[13])
  • Series 14: Dicers (George Corfield, Hugh Binnie, Joey Goldman)

Transmissions[edit]

Series[edit]

Series Channel Episodes Start date End date Tournament Format Average viewers[22]
(millions)
1 BBC Four 15[23] 15 September 2008[24] 22 December 2008[23] 16-team single-elimination tournament
2 8[25] 13 July 2009[26] 31 August 2009[25] 8-team single-elimination with third-place match
3 15[27] 4 January 2010[28] 12 April 2010[27] 16-team single elimination 0.395
4 16[29] 6 September 2010[30] 27 December 2010[29] 16-team single-elimination with third-place match 0.569
5 16[31] 15 August 2011[32] 5 December 2011[31] 16-team single-elimination with third-place match 0.702
6 16[33] 27 August 2012[34] 17 December 2012[33] 16-team single-elimination with third-place match 0.953
7 13[35] 13 May 2013[36] 5 August 2013[35] 8-team modified double-elimination tournament 0.858
8 13[37] 23 September 2013[38] 23 December 2013[37] 8-team modified double-elimination 0.922
9 13[39] 14 April 2014[40] 7 July 2014[39] 8-team modified double-elimination 0.769
10 BBC Two 27[41] 1 September 2014[42] 30 March 2015[41] 16-team modified double-elimination 2.357
11 27[43] 13 July 2015[44] 18 January 2016[43] 16-team modified double-elimination 2.334
12 37[45] 11 July 2016[46] 7 April 2017[45] 24-team knockout based on University Challenge 2.57[47]
13 37[48] 28 July 2017[48] 30 April 2018[49] 24-team knockout based on University Challenge 1.999
14 28[50] 22 October 2018[50] 29 April 2019 16-team modified double-elimination with third-place match 1.983

Specials[edit]

Date Title Viewers Weekly Ranking
21 December 2009[51] Series 1 vs Series 2 Winners Special[51] N/A N/A
15 November 2010[52] Children in Need Special[52] 599,000 1
10 January 2011[53] Series 3 vs Series 4 Winners Special[53] 558,000 1
17 January 2011[54] University Challenge Special[54] 615,000 3
14 March 2011[55] Comic Relief Special[55] 468,000 4
14 November 2011[56] Children in Need Special[56] 794,000 3
12 December 2011[57] Wall Night Special (Heats)[57] 673,000 3
12 December 2011[58] Wall Night Special (Semi-finals & Final)[58] 523,000 5
2 January 2012[59] Series 1 vs Series 4 Winners Special[59] 761,000 6
9 January 2012[60] Only Connect vs Mastermind Special[60] 650,000 4
31 January 2012[61] Wall Night Special 2 (Heats)[61] 634,000 5
31 January 2012[62] Wall Night Special 2 (Semi-finals & Finals)[62] N/A N/A
19 March 2012[63] Sport Relief Special[63] 706,000 2
12 November 2012[64] Children in Need Special[64] 1,078,000 3
7 January 2013[65] Series 5 vs Series 6 Winners Special[65] 982,000 1
14 January 2013[66] Eggheads vs Davids[66] 1,173,000 1
11 March 2013[67] Comic Relief Special[67] 999,000 1
11 November 2013[68] Children in Need Special[68] 967,000 2
17 March 2014[69] Sport Relief Special[69] 750,000 2
10 November 2014[70] Children in Need Special[70] 2,280,000 10
9 March 2015[71] Comic Relief Special[71] 2,422,000 7
9 November 2015[72] Children in Need Special[72] 2,030,000 12
14 March 2016[73] Sport Relief Special[73] 2,315,000 4
18 December 2018[74] Champion of Champions Special: Europhiles v String Section[74] 1,749,000
19 December 2018[75] Sport Special: Footballers v Korfballers[75] 1,816,000
20 December 2018[76] Family Special: Lasletts v Meeples[76] 1,658,000
25 December 2018[77] Quiz Special: QI Elves v Inquisitors[77] 953,000

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Credits - Enfys HD TV Studios".
  2. ^ http://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk/rest%20of%20britain.htm
  3. ^ Lawrence, Ben (27 October 2018). "Only Connect: my love-affair with TV's brainiest quiz show". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Sunderland quiz captain takes on TV's Only Connect". Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Victoria Coren Mitchell on nerd pride and finding Only Connect's niche". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Butter, Susannah. "Only Connect: Warmth and humour make whip-smart Victoria Coren-Mitchell queen of the quizzes". Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Only Connect: If you think answering the questions is hard, try setting them". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  8. ^ "12 quotes that prove Victoria Coren Mitchell is the perfect quiz show host". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Play Only Connect". BBC Four. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Stainer, David (19 July 2013). "Only Connect: How I became a champion of champions". BBC Blog. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b c McCarthy, James (28 August 2009). "Rugby boys take on Cambridge swots in high-brown TV quiz". walesonline. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  12. ^ "About Jenny Ryan". http://www.jennyvixenryan.com. Retrieved 1 November 2018. External link in |website= (help)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Only Connect (2)". ukgameshows.com. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Holly Pattenden". Battle of Ideas. 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  15. ^ ""Good luck to this week's Team Captain of the Scribes, Dom Tait, who gets married tomorrow! We're thrilled to know that there's an Only Connect wall to be completed on every table at your reception!"". Facebook. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  16. ^ a b c "Sunderland quiz captain takes on TV's Only Connect". SunderlandEcho. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Hywel Carver". www.kylebooks.com. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Victory in BBC Four's 'Only Connect' for LSE's Mark Seager". LSE. 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  19. ^ a b c "Orienteers v Romantics Only ConnectSeries 10 Episode 7 of 27". BBC Two. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  20. ^ a b c "String Section v Headliners Only ConnectSeries 11 Episode 6 of 27". BBC Two. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  21. ^ a b c Bethell, karen (8 April 2017). "North Norfolk TV game show veteran named series winner in BBC2's Only Connect". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  22. ^ Mean average calculated with 7-day data from BARB unless otherwise specified
  23. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 1, Episode 13". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Only Connect – Series 1, Episode 1". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  25. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 2, Episode 8 (Cambridge Quiz Society v Rugby Boys – The Final)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  26. ^ "Only Connect – Series 2, Episode 1 (Cambridge Quiz Society v Oxford Librarians)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 3, Episode 15 (Gamblers v Strategists)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  28. ^ "Only Connect – Series 3, Episode 1 (Archers Admirers v Music Lovers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  29. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 4, Episode 16 (Epicureans vs Radio Addicts)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  30. ^ "Only Connect – Series 4, Episode 1 (Epicureans vs Courtiers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  31. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 5, Episode 16 (Analysts vs Antiquarians)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  32. ^ "Only Connect – Series 5, Episode 1 (Social Networkers vs Vegetarians)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 6, Episode 16 (Scribes vs Draughtsmen)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Only Connect – Series 6, Episode 1 (Joinees v Draughtsmen)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  35. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 7, Episode 13 (Francophiles v Celts)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Only Connect – Series 7, Episode 1 (Corpuscles v Cat Lovers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  37. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 8, Episode 13 (Board Gamers v Bakers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  38. ^ "Only Connect – Series 8, Episode 1 (Lasletts v Pilots)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  39. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 9, Episode 13". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  40. ^ "Only Connect – Series 9, Episode 1 (Heath Family v Exhibitionists)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  41. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 10, Episode 27". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  42. ^ "Only Connect – Series 10, Episode 1 (Politicos v Felinophiles)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  43. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 11, Episode 27". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  44. ^ "Only Connect – Series 11, Episode 1 (Cluesmiths v Operational Researchers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  45. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 12, Episode 37". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  46. ^ "Only Connect – Series 12, Episode 1 (Tubers v Bardophiles)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  47. ^ Jones, Paul. "Only Connect sheds close to a third of its viewers after move from Mondays to Fridays". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  48. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 13, Episode 1 (Stewards v Parishioners)". Radio Times. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  49. ^ "Only Connect – Series 13, Episode 37". BBC Online. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  50. ^ a b "Series 14 - Episode 1 Hotpots v Poptimists". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  51. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 1 vs 2 Winners Special (Crossworders v Rugby Boys)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  52. ^ a b "Only Connect – Children in Need Special (Wheelmen v Larks)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  53. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 3 vs Series 4 Winners Special (Gamblers v Epicureans)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  54. ^ a b "Only Connect – University Challenge Special (Crossworders v University Challengers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  55. ^ a b "Only Connect – Comic Relief Special (Treesome v Larks)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  56. ^ a b "Only Connect – Children in Need Special (Great Believers vs Free Speakers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  57. ^ a b "Only Connect – Wall Night Special 1 (Part 1)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  58. ^ a b "Only Connect – Wall Night Special 1 (Part 2)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  59. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 1 vs Series 4 Winners Special (Crossworders vs Epicureans)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  60. ^ a b "Only Connect – Only Connect vs Mastermind Special (Crossworders vs Epicureans)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  61. ^ a b "Only Connect – Wall Night Special 2 (Part 1)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  62. ^ a b "Only Connect – Wall Night Special 2 (Part 2)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  63. ^ a b "Only Connect – Sport Relief Special (Cutters vs Backhanders)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  64. ^ a b "Only Connect – Children in Need Special (Goldfingers vs Fowls)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  65. ^ a b "Only Connect – Series 5 vs Series 6 Winners Special (Analysts vs Scribes)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  66. ^ a b "Only Connect – Eggheads vs Davids". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  67. ^ a b "Only Connect – Comic Relief Special (Neuromantics vs Muppets)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  68. ^ a b "Only Connect – Children in Need Special (Scrabblers v The Balding Team)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  69. ^ a b "Only Connect – Sport Relief Special (Scribblers v Terriers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  70. ^ a b "Only Connect – Children in Need Special (Noggins v Curiosities)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  71. ^ a b "Only Connect – Comic Relief Special (Waterbabies v Tillers)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  72. ^ a b "Only Connect – Children in Need Special (Music Monkeys v Chess Pieces)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  73. ^ a b "Only Connect – Sport Relief Special (Royal III v BBC)". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  74. ^ a b "Champion of Champions Special: Europhiles v String Section". BBC Online. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  75. ^ a b "Sport Special: Footballers v Korfballers". BBC Online. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  76. ^ a b "Family Special: Lasletts v Meeples". BBC Online. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  77. ^ a b "Quiz Special: QI Elves v Inquisitors". BBC Online. Retrieved 17 December 2018.

External links[edit]