The Great Australian Spelling Bee

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The Great Australian Spelling Bee
Presented by
StarringChris Edmund[1]
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes22
Production location(s)Sydney, New South Wales
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Shine Australia
Original networkNetwork Ten (Season 1 - S2,Ep6)
Eleven (Season 2,Ep7 -Ep10)
Picture format576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release3 August 2015 –
17 September 2016
External links

The Great Australian Spelling Bee was an Australian reality series on Network Ten. Hosted by Grant Denyer and Chrissie Swan,[2] and produced by Shine Australia,[3] the series premiered on 3 August 2015.[4] The series also stars Chris Edmund as pronouncer.[5]

The series is based on the spelling bee competition whereby contestants are required to spell presented words which vary in their degree of difficulty.

For the first season, the winner received a $50,000 education scholarship, $10,000 worth of equipment for his school, a Macquarie Dictionary, a Sprout computer, and an HP Pro Slate 8 tablet. In addition, the five runners-up received scholarships worth $10,000, an HP Pro Slate 8 tablet, and $1,000 of education goods for their school.[6]

On 19 August 2015, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on 17 July 2016.[7][8]

The Great Australian Spelling Bee was filmed at Fox Studios Australia.

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally Aired No. of Spellers
Premiere Finale
12 3 August 2015 8 September 2015 26
10 17 July 2016 17 September 2016 18


Individual Challenges[edit]

Speed Spell[edit]

One by one, spellers must stand inside the spell gate and spell as many words as they can in 45 seconds. Spelling a word incorrectly will end their turn regardless of time left.

This is usually the first challenge on elimination days. The top spellers, depending on the episode, will be safe from elimination.

Flash Cards[edit]

Prior to the challenge, the spellers are introduced to a theme of the words that are going to be spelled for the challenge, whether it'd be a band of instruments for the theme of music or a dinosaur for the theme of prehistoric.

Then the spellers receive a letter, whether it would be picking a token out of a bag, cracking a dinosaur egg to collect the token, grabbing a lollipop with a token on it, or finding it inside a bag attached to the speller's instrument. The tokens are either red or blue and has a letter spelt from A to all the way to the last letter depending of the number of spellers left. The spellers are then arranged in two lines: blue on one side, red on the other and in order of A, B, C and so on.

The challenge is to spell the word relating to the theme correctly by writing it on a tablet within ten seconds. The speller who spells the word correctly will be through to the next round and the other speller will not be safe. This continues for all pairs. If in any case the pairs spell the word correctly for six rounds, a tiebreaker round will happen. To win, the speller who finishes their word first immediately shows their flash cards to the pronouncer.

Spell Check[edit]

The remaining spellers are required to stand in front of their buzzer while a word is shown on screen. The word may be correct or incorrect in which case if it's incorrect, the speller who buzzes in first is allowed to spell the given word correctly. If correct, the speller is safe. If incorrect, or if the spellers buzzes in at a correct word, they are locked out and they go into the final Spelling Bee. A certain amount of spellers may be safe.

Spelling Bee[edit]

The remaining spellers follow normal Spelling Bee rules. Only two spellers may be safe in every round, while the rest are eliminated.

Show And Spell Individual Edition[edit]

Normal Show And Spell rules apply, except players don't earn points for their team, they do for themselves.

Letter By Letter Knock Out Mode[edit]

Normal Letter By Letter rules apply, except they are not in teams, and if you make a mistake, you're out of the round.

Dictionary Dash[edit]

This challenge featured dictionaries, which the competitors must find a word in. The first person to find the word in this challenge would get an advantage in speed spell, which is to select your theme first. The others followed in order of who won dictionary dash in the next rounds.

Team Immunity Challenges[edit]

Spellers choose a coloured token out of a bag in which that colour is the team they are in. In every challenge, a team will be knocked out and cannot get immunity for the next elimination.

Letter By Letter[edit]

The team members must spell a word, saying a letter one by one in the order they are in. If a speller thinks the speller before them has made an error, they must say 'Next word' to continue with the next word. The team must spell as many words as they can within 90 seconds.

Show and Spell[edit]

Like Flash Cards, spellers are introduced to a theme of words the spellers must spell. The words, like Spell Check, are shown on a screen. Unlike Spell Check, all the letters except the 1st letter are not shown, and are replaced with underscores. The competitors must guess the word, following a series of clues, and after they guess, spell it correctly to gain a point for their team.

Team Spelling Bee[edit]

Normal spelling bee rules apply. The remaining two teams have their members spell alternating. Spelling a word incorrectly will force the speller to be knocked out of the challenge. The team with spellers still left wins immunity.


Season One[edit]

Season one first aired on 3 August 2015 and concluded on 8 September 2015. The season was hosted by Grant Denyer & Chrissie Swan. It was won by Anirudh who received $50,000 education scholarship, $10,000 worth of equipment for his school, a Macquarie Dictionary, An Electriclefied book, a Sprout computer, and a HP Pro Slate 8 tablet.

Season Two[edit]

Season two first aired on 17 July 2016, Grant Denyer & Chrissie Swan both returned as hosts. Poor ratings for the initial episodes of the season saw the series moved from Sundays to the lower viewed Saturday from its fifth episode.[9]


Season Network Episodes Premiere Finale Ref
Premiere date Premiere
Rank Finale date Finale ratings
(Grand final)
Rank Finale ratings
(Winner announced)
One Network Ten 12 3 August 2015 0.921 #7 8 September 2015 0.755 #11 0.901 #7 [10][11]
Two Network Ten
(eps 1-6)
(eps 7-10)
10 17 July 2016 0.456 #12 17 September 2016 [12]

International adaptations[edit]

In 2016 there has been a Thai series. A UK series based on the format will air in the United Kingdom on Sky 1 under the title The Big Spell.[13][14]


  1. ^ Cronin, Seanna (17 August 2015). "Meet Spelling Bee's wordsmith Chris Edmund". Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  2. ^ Knox, David (26 April 2015). "Chrissie Swan, Grant Denyer to host The Great Australian Spelling Bee". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  3. ^ Knox, David (24 March 2015). "TEN spells out The Great Australian Spelling Bee". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  4. ^ Knox, David (20 July 2015). "Airdate: The Great Australian Spelling Bee". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  5. ^ Thomas, Sarah (30 July 2015). "The Great Australian Spelling Bee to highlight smart's of the nation's brightest kids". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  6. ^ Bowden, Ebony (8 September 2015). "The Great Australian Spelling Bee gives winner surprise $50,000 scholarship". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  7. ^ Knox, David (19 August 2015). "Renewed: The Great Australian Spelling Bee". TV Tonight. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  8. ^ Cronin, Seanna (15 July 2016). "Chrissie's buzzing about new season of Spelling Bee". Sunshine Coast Daily. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  9. ^ Dunk, Tiffany (10 August 2016). "The Great Australian Spelling Bee demoted to a Saturday night timeslot due to poor Sunday ratings". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  10. ^ Knox, David (4 August 2015). "Monday 3 August 2015". TV Tonight. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  11. ^ Knox, David (9 September 2015). "Tuesday 8 September 2015". TV Tonight. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  12. ^ Knox, David (18 July 2016). "Sunday 17 July 2016". TV Tonight. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  13. ^ Svetlik, Joe (18 July 2016). "Sky 1's 'The Big Spell' to find the nation's best young speller". US Switch. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  14. ^ Knox, David (12 April 2016). "UK to produce local version of Spelling Bee". TV Tonight. Retrieved 4 November 2016.

External links[edit]