Ask No Questions



John Junkin


Carol Mather (1987)


Yorkshire Television (regional), 1 February to 15 March 1986 (7 episodes in 1 series)

Yorkshire Television for ITV, 27 March to 13 June 1987 (30 episodes in 1 series)


Teatime we-can't-be-bothered replacement for Blockbusters or Connections, signalled by a rather natty soul sister theme tune ("Ask no questions, tell no lies!") and much neon on the set which was built around a sort of big spangled gold cloud motif, for some undisclosed reason.

Essentially, the teams (and there were two of them on a large, two-tier Blankety Blank-style panel) were given a subject and asked to name as much relevant material as possible. For example, Pink Panther films with a possible score of 6. So the team had to think of as many of the six as they could with a point for each one. Quite a few rounds that had ridiculously large possible scores of several hundred points, but since they were to be racked up in around thirty seconds maximum this tended not to happen too often.

Junkin would state the "relevance factor" for each question. So, he'd introduce a round by saying "Your relevance factor is 652 and here is your clue..." - cue a scene from a by-election or the Commons or something. For every correct answer given, Junkin would shout "relevant" and Carol would tick it off on her notepad, but as soon as a wrong answer was given, he'd say "irrelevant". The question would immediately go to the other team in whatever time was left.

There was a silent 1987-style digital clock in the corner of the screen, counting down the 30 seconds, but it would be up to Carol to end the round by pressing a buzzer at her desk when the time was up. This often led to extra seconds being unwittingly added onto rounds because she was too busy frantically seeking answers on her list and ticking them off to look at the clock.

Another question, one about the letters of the Greek alphabet, was given to the team containing *choke* Hale & Pace, who only knew Alpha, Omega and the handful which appear at O-level Maths standard. They gave a wrong answer and the question went to the other side, at which point Nigel Rees smugly went through the whole alphabet at considerable speed, prompting Pace in particular to storm down in a faux-angry manner to "thump" him.

There was always a musical round, allowing a resident singer to provide the clue with accompanying expression-free pianist/guitarist bloke. She once sang the first lines of "Oh Soldier Soldier" and the teams had to recall what items in the song the soldier insisted upon receiving before he would marry her. There was also a round where Junkin gave a relevance factor of 5,881 and gave the clue "As I was going to St Ives, I met..." - and nobody could remember the bit about each wife having seven sacks. That was quite tense, that one...


John Junkin

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