When To Watch »
Only Connect is shown every Mondays on BBC Four at 20:30.
To watch on BBC iPlayer, click here.
Only Connect Special »
Feature by Jamie Miller
If you're a quiz show aficionado, you may have come across the new series of 'Only Connect' - a quiz show for the real quiz heavyweights of you outthere. For the heavyweights because not only are would-be competitors required to exhibit an extensive general knowledge (that in truth is anything but general!), they are also required to exhibit lateral thinking - finding relevant links in the trivia that comes before them.
Victoria Coren is the show's witty host. Today we speak exclusively to her and find out more about this super cool quiz show!
From your experience, what does it take for a quiz team to do well on a show like 'Only Connect'?
For the first two rounds (which just ask them to make a connection between four clues, and then spot a sequence) they obviously need good general knowledge and smart lateral thinking.
For the third round (the connecting wall), there is some extra strategy: teams can hamstring themselves by spotting a group with five or six possibilities, then constantly putting the wrong clue in the group. If there are several candidates for a group, you have to be systematic about missing out a different clue each time you try, it's almost mathematical.
And with round 4 (the missing vowels round), some of our best teams have come along with someone who's completely silent for the first three rounds and then suddenly comes alive for round 4 and gets everything. It can be handy to have someone on board who just has a great eye for word shapes.
Have there been any quiz teams whose performances particularly impressed you?
Oh, I love them all. So far this series, we've had the Epicureans who broke the record for highest ever score in a first round heat. They were pretty impressive.
And we've had the Taxonomists who sadly didn't get through, but impressed me for other reasons: it was an all-female team (very rare) and they don't do a lot of quizzing. Many of our teams are hardcore regular quizzers. These ladies just came along to have a go because they thought it would be fun. And they did incredibly well, and were also sparky and funny in the chat. I love it when teams are like that.
What is the best part of hosting the show, 'Only Connect'?
Maybe it's when I get the question packs in advance and have the chance to have a go at the quiz on my own and see how I get on. That's always quite fun.
Or maybe it's watching the lightbulbs go off over the heads of a team that's "in the zone". The contestants are definitely my kind of people, I feel a kinship with them, and when I see a team fulfil its potential and make lots of quick, clever connections, I always feel very happy and rather proud of them.
If you ever appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, what would your fun specialist topic be?
Oh, I don't know. I've been asked to do it and I said no. I used to be fairly knowledgeable about literature. I have an English degree. I wrote a thesis on the grammar and syntax of Yeats, and another about Indo-Anglican writing since Partition. But that was a long time ago, when I used to be clever. I don't really know about anything any more.
Interesting fact »
Only Connect was first shown in 2008. This current series is the show's fourth series.
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