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Craig Burke


Media Essay

The word quiz possibly originates from the Latin word “Qui es?” meaning “who are you?” it was also used to define a droll or eccentric person. Later it came to mean a practical joke, we therefore know the word “quiz” is of an uncertain origin. Wireless radio shows first became popular in 1934, it bro8ught with it a strange new programme called “The Symington’s soups film star competition programme”. This was the first quiz show broadcasted and proved to be very popular. Contestants would follow on screen instructions, write down answers and send them in to the show; winners received vouchers for powdered soup.

The BBC’s first quiz is believed to be on the “children’s hour” programme in November 1937. Called regional round the position of authority was taken by uncle Mac. A correct answer from one lad was rewarded with the compliment ‘that’s absolutely wizard’. Very soon after this the first BBC quiz for adults was broadcast and was called “Trans-Atlantic quiz”.

In 1955 ITV formed a large number of quiz shows that became popular such as “take your pick” and “double your money”. However in the 1970’s and 80’s limits on prize money were imposed by TV watchdogs and the maximum prize would be the equivalent of a small car every four shows. Therefore if more questions resulted in too many minis’s being won, then the pre-recorded shows had to be screened out of sequence to space out the “big prizes.

In the 1990’s the birth of quiz shows with huge amounts of money such as “who wants to be a millionaire” and the “weakest link” became popular, some people criticise these are making the nation greedy by offering huge sums of money. I think quiz shows are popular as the public like to watch people sometimes make fools of themselves. People also like to feel superior when they know that they are right and the contestant is wrong.

The now popular quiz shows such as weakest link and who wants to be a millionaire are so widely watched because of many reasons. Viewers love to see confident contestants lose which is called the “car crash syndrome”; also they convey the image of an ordered universe by showing there is a correct answer for everything.

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My essay will mainly focus on “Who wants to be a millionaire”. The show started in the 1990’s with its entertaining host Chris Tarrant. The unique selling point of the show is its 1 million pound jackpot. The show also does celebrity editions as proof of its success and millionaire winners showing it can be done. The first ever show was broadcast on the 4th of September 1998 on ITV1. Now in its 15th series there have been 344 shows and 748 contestants in the hotseat with total winnings of nearly £40 million pounds.

The first round of “who wants ...

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