Beat the Record



Don Davis (1972-82)

Keith Fordyce (1982-92)


BBC Radio 2, 4 January 1972 to 1 August 1992 (425 episodes in 24 series)


A gentle little musical entertainment that filled a half-hour on a Saturday evening for many years. Host Keith Fordyce would spin a light orchestral record for about a minute, then invite callers to identify the melody. Should no-one give the correct answer before the record ended, then they would have failed to beat the record, and the show would move on to the next recording.

Anyone who managed to get the tune correct would win £10 in premium bonds, enjoy a short chat with the host, and then have a go at the jackpot tune, called the Accumulator, of which only about ten seconds of it was played. This would increase in value with each wrong answer (hence the name), rolling on from caller to caller, and from week to week. When Don Davis was host, the top prize for the Accumulator was £100 in premium bonds, but later it went up to £200. The Accumulator would often be a very familiar tune where the title was obscure; what is the Laurel and Hardy theme music called, for example? "Dance of the Cuckoos"!.

Applications for the show were made by post, giving a phone number where one could be contacted during the week.

The programme ended in 1992, when Radio 2's controller Frances Line found the light entertainment quizzes were poor value for money. Other shows - including The Law Game, The ABC Quiz, The Grumbleweeds, and Pop Score - all got the chop around the same time.


Don Davis, who presented the show for ten years.


The show originally went out on Tuesday evenings, before switching to Saturdays from the autumn 1978 series onwards.

Don Davis died suddenly on 25 February 1982. He had presented the show until a few weeks earlier.


"Caller number one?"


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