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Keynotes (game show)

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Title: Keynotes (game show)  
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Subject: Musical game shows, Keynote (disambiguation), British game shows, Television series by ITV Studios
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Keynotes (game show)

Genre Music game show
Presented by Alistair Divall
Voices of David Hopewell (uncredited)
Composer(s) Bill Sharpe (theme)
Keith Chegwin (tunes)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 205
Running time 30 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Reg Grundy Productions in association with HTV West
Distributor FremantleMedia
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 13 March 1989 (1989-03-13) – 18 December 1992 (1992-12-18)

Keynotes was a British music game show that aired on ITV from 13 March 1989 to 18 December 1992 and hosted by Alistair Divall. The aim of the game was for "two teams of players, to try to put the right words in the right songs and see how well they can follow the bouncing ball to solve our puzzle song."


  • Main game 1
  • Bonus round 2
  • Transmissions 3
  • International versions 4
  • External links 5

Main game

Each show has 2 teams, on the left side are the champions (green) and on the right side is the challengers (yellow). To start the game - there are three general rounds, which each follow the same format:

A series of nine squares are presented - with each square hiding a note in a "familiar" tune. The host gives the contestants notes 1, 5, and 9 in all 3 rounds with note 7 being added as an extra free note in round 3 from series 2 onwards.

A member of each team joins the host at the central podium, where they'll have three coloured buttons each. A card is randomly selected from the host, which represents the note which is set to be revealed. Three words are provided which could represent the next word in a given tune. The contestant which is quickest to select the correct word after hearing the start of this tune is given the note represented by that selected card. If neither contestant is able to select the correct word, the note goes in as a blank and two new players are brought up to play for two keynotes (and so on).

The team that the winning representative came from then has the opportunity to guess the main tune by listening to the already-revealed notes and following the rhythm of the bouncing ball. If the team can correctly name that tune, they'll win the round and receive a cash prize, which is doubled up in each round. The first round was worth £50, doubling up to £200, a maximum of £350 to be won. From series 2 onwards, the money reduced to £30, doubling up to £120, for a maximum of £210. If not, the round continues, rotating through the various members of both teams. If neither of the teams can work out the song before all nine notes are revealed - then the prize for that round is lost and the players go on to the next round. If a team won five games in a row, they earned a £500 bonus and would immediately retire from the show.

The arrangements of the tunes used in the series were devised by television host Keith Chegwin, who recorded them for the show under a pseudonym.

Bonus round

The winning team attempts to double their cash winnings from today's edition. The team must attempt to uncover the nine notes of the final tune over the course of 30 seconds, by using a buzzer to stop a random flashing light in order to choose a note, and then picking the correct next word, as in the main rounds. However, the final tune is only played once at the end of the 30 seconds. If any of the questions representing the notes are not answered correctly within the time limit, they will not be revealed in the playing of the final tune. If the team can correctly identify the final tune, their money will be doubled. The maximum a team can win on Keynotes was £4,000 (£2,600 from series 2 onwards).


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 13 March 1989 12 May 1989 45
2 23 October 1989 8 December 1989 35
3 29 October 1990 21 December 1990 40
4 6 January 1992 21 February 1992 35
5 12 October 1992 18 December 1992 50

International versions

The show actually began in Australia in 1964 (see Keynotes). Not much is known about this version, but in 1992, shortly after the UK version ended, the country got a revival for the Nine Network, with singer and TV personality Richard Wilkins as host and Craig Huggins as announcer. Gameplay was identical to the UK show, the payoff being $300, doubled up to $1,200, a maximum of $2,100. Plus, winning the bonus round added a prize package from Chandlers worth double their front game score. Teams that won five games in a row won a holiday. The maximum possible prize was $21,000 ($10,500 cash plus a $10,500 Chandlers prize package) and a holiday.

Two pilots for an American version were made for CBS. Unlike the UK and Australian versions, each game was played as a best two-out-of-three match, with $500 awarded for winning a game and $1,000 for the match. Rather than being given 30 seconds in the bonus round, the team only got 25 seconds to fill in the nine-note tune, and guessing correctly won $9,000, a maximum of $10,000 per show. The host of the first pilot in 1986 was Kevin O'Connell, with Marc Summers of Double Dare fame as announcer, while the second pilot from 1989 was hosted by Clint Holmes. Neither pilot sold.

External links

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