Quiz Ball (partially found BBC One football-based quiz show; 1966-1972)

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Logo for the show.

Status: Partially Found

Quiz Ball (also known as Quizball!) is a BBC One football-based quiz show. Running for six series from 1966 to 1972, it consisted of a knockout tournament featuring two teams made up of English or Scottish Football League football players, officials, and guest supporters answering general knowledge and football-related questions in order to score goals.


The show was conceptualised by Bill Wright, who would later go on to create the long-running quiz show Mastermind.[1][2] Its creation came during an era where football significantly increased in popularity in the United Kingdom, following England's 1966 FIFA World Cup success.[1] This prompted football-related shows to be created to capitalise on football's new-found success, with shows like Quiz Ball being greenlit.[1] Each episode of Quiz Ball consisted of two teams of four.[3][4][2][1] Three of the team members were football players, managers, or other officials of an English or Scottish Football League club.[2][4][1][3] Each team would be bolstered by a rotating cast of celebrity guests who supported said clubs.[4][2][1] Whichever team scored the most number of goals in an episode would advance through a knockout tournament that decided the series' champions.[3][4][1]

The game begins with an opening general knowledge question.[5][2][3][4] Whoever buzzes in first and correctly answers will then select one of four routes to potentially score a goal in.[2][3][4][5][1] The four routes varied in terms of difficulty and number of questions, with Route Four consisting of four easy questions, and Route One containing one tough question.[2][5][3][4][1] Successfully answering the questions would award the team a goal, but the opposing side could perform a tackle, where they would buzz in and attempt to answer the question themselves.[2][3][5][1][4] If they were correct, they gained possession, restarting play.[2][3][5][4][1] But a failed tackle would automatically award the other side a goal.[2][3][5][4] The opposing side could not interrupt a Route One question.[2][5] Route One would actually become a popular term in football itself, used to refer to a defender booting the ball across the field and having a forward chase it directly towards goal.[6][5] The tactic would especially be utilised in English football during the early-1990s.[1]

The show was originally hosted by David Vine, with Stuart Hall taking over in later series.[4][2][3][1] The majority of results have been uncovered thanks to The London Scrabble League.[3][4] Arsenal, consisting of manager Bertie Mee, players Ian Ure and Terry Neill, and guest supporter Jimmy Young, claimed the first title by beating Dunfermline Athletic 7-3.[7][5][3][4] In the 1967-1968 series Grand Final, West Bromwich Albion, featuring manager Alan Ashman, players John Osborne and Doug Fraser, and guest Jeff Smith, overcame Nottingham Forest 2-1.[8][5][3][4] Celtic were victorious in an all-Scottish 1969-1970 Grand Final, with players Billy McNeill, Jim Craig, Willie Wallace, and guest John Cairney defeating Heart of Midlothian 3-1.[9][5][3][4] The team, featuring the exact same players, retained their title the following series 7-5 against Everton, known as the "Champions Series" as each team featured consisted of cup winners of the 1969-1970 football season.[10][5][3][4] Derby County won the 1970-71 series Grand Final, players Allan Durban, John O'Hare, Roy McFarland, and guest Bob Arnold defeating Crystal Palace 4-2.[11][5][3][4] Dunfermline meanwhile won the 1971-1972 Final with manager Alex Wright, John Cushley, James Fraser, and guest supporter John Pertwee beating Leicester City 3-1.[12][5][3][4] Not all results have been archived, with it being unclear who was victorious in the Home Nations series broadcast in 1972.[3]

Ultimately, while Quiz Ball proved enticing among hardcore football fans, the BBC One show struggled to attract a general audience.[13][2] It was eventually cancelled after 1972 as A Question of Sport was introduced in January 1970 and began to control the ratings.[13] Quiz Ball remains a well-remembered show among some viewers, although a pilot featuring Frank Skinner failed to produce a reboot.[13][3][4]


Quiz Ball, along with many other BBC shows like Doctor Who, were subject to the corporation's junking policy, where its recordings were wiped so that tapes could be re-used.[14][13] According to BBC Archivist Adam Lee, some episodes of a long-running quiz show could be archived, but most would be wiped due to the overhead costs it would provide.[13] Concerning Quiz Ball, only six episodes have survived, including Series 1, Episode 1; Series 2, Episode 11; Series 3, Episode 6; the 1970 Challenge Match; Series 5, Episode 5; and Series 8, Episode 4.[3] Of these, Series 1, Episode 1 was made available on BBC iPlayer, and can also be viewed on YouTube.[3] Some footage of a match between Arsenal and Hearts was also broadcast in a 1986 episode of Football Focus. 66 episodes are confirmed to be missing according to Kaleidoscope.[15]



Series 1, Episode 1.

Part of the Arsenal-Hearts game broadcast on Football Focus in 1986.

See Also

External Links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Weaver's Week review of the first episode of Quiz Ball on UK Game Shows. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Archived The London Scrabble League summarising the gameplay of Quiz Ball. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 UK Game Shows' summary of Quiz Ball and listing the surviving episodes. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 Nostalgia Central summarising Quiz Ball and its gameplay. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 Read the League summarising Route One, and the known winners. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  6. Field Insider detailing Route One football. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  7. Archived The London Scrabble League detailing the results of the first series. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  8. Archived The London Scrabble League detailing the results of the second series. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  9. Archived The London Scrabble League detailing the results of the third series. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  10. Archived The London Scrabble League detailing the results of the fourth series. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  11. Archived The London Scrabble League detailing the results of the fifth series. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  12. Archived The London Scrabble League detailing the results of the sixth series. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Television Heaven summarising the show's end because of A Question of Sport's success and the extent of lost media surrounding the show. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  14. Mental Floss detailing the BBC's wiping practices. Retrieved 20th Nov '22
  15. Kaleidoscope listing the lost Quiz Ball episodes. Retrieved 20th Nov '22