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A notable Game Show created by Australian producer Reg Grundy, aired in the United Kingdom by The BBC. Uniquely, the game featured English-speaking contestants from all across Europe (the show was also aired by the pan-European satellite service Super Channel), who all competed in various disciplines of trivia for a chance to win a grand prize at the end of the season. (The game originated as a pilot from Grundy's American wing called Run for the Money in 1987; after it failed over there, Grundy saw promise and took it across the Atlantic.)

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The opening round was a qualifying round (note, that the host always insisted that this was not the first round) that started with a pool of 7 contestants, competing to correctly answer questions which consist of a profile of the subject that starts obscure and slowly becomes more obvious (or in other words, it's the Fame Game). The first four contestants to answer correctly moved on to, ahem, the first round proper. Uniquely, the series used a repechage format, in which the contestants who failed to qualify returned the next day to try again.

Aptly titled "Beat the Buzzer", the first round proper consisted of questions on the buzzer, with the contestants trying to amass 6 points by answering a toss-up question, being told the category, and then picking a 1, 2, or 3-point question. The first three to reach the goal then played a Speed Round called "Four in a Row", where they picked a category of questions, and had to try and get the best streak of correct answers they could in 40 seconds.

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The top two scorers advanced to the final round, which involved more Fame Game-type questions like the qualifying round. But this time, there was a clock indicating when a contestant could buzz in (each player got two blocks of time to answer), and the questions also degraded in value (from 4 points to just 1) depending on how long it took to answer. An incorrect guess passed the time block to the opponent. The first to 9 points won the game and advanced to a weekly final on Friday, played identically (sans the qualifier of course). Each week's winner advanced to a Tournament of Champions at the end of each series. The champion at the end of each series won a major prize which related to gold in some way, such as a trip to the Olympic Games (i.e. gold medals), a gold mining trip, etc.

The original version ran on BBC One and Super Channel from 1987 to 1995. For its final series in 1996, it was only aired on BBC One, and only featured contestants from the United Kingdom, thanks to Super Channel having been bought by NBC and refocused as their European outpost. However, there were two revivals on Channel Five in the 21st century; One to Win in 2000 (which dumped the qualifying round for just a returning champion system), and another revival in 2008 (reverting back to the old name), which was essentially a live version of One to Win with a phone-in game tacked on as well. Localized versions also exist in other countries: France has Questions pour un Champion, which debuted in the 1980's and has remained quite popular.

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Game Show Tropes in use:


This show provides examples of:

  • Insistent Terminology: The initial qualifying round is not the first round.
  • Long Runner: 1987-1996, 2000-2002, 2008-2009.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The Run for the Money pilot reused the music from an earlier Grundy pilot, 1986's Keynotes.
  • Title Theme Tune: Composed by legendary film composer Hans Zimmer. It even had lyrics, a rarity for game show themes.
  • Pilot/Transatlantic Equivalent: The show was originally piloted for U.S. network ABC in 1987 as Run for the Money; the format was largely the same, except it utilized a normal returning champion system, with no qualifying round; and the champion who won the "Four in a Row" round, here the Bonus Round, won $5,000; hence an undefeated champion could win up to $50,000. However, it was not picked up.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: One of the best parts of the show was trying to figure out where exactly the European contestants were from, especially if you tuned in halfway through.
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