Kenny Everett


Cleo Rocos


BBC1, 16 June to 28 July 1988 (7 episodes in 1 series)


Surprisingly good science quiz which sadly only got one series, due to circumstances beyond its own control. Four contestants compete for 'watts' of brainpower, the score being displayed via fluorescent tubes either side of them. In the opening round, quickfire questions loosely based on science and discoveries were asked for 100 watts each.

A few rounds perked up the proceedings on the way. Long-time Everett lackey Cleo Rocos came on to do a 'What Happens Next?'-type experiment. They'd also have a guest on and then do a few questions about that topic after the chat. All throughout the show, Kenny does his best to keep the energy going, sometimes literally due to visual gags he'd do with the plasma ball on the front of his question desk.

The final round was extremely clever. Called the Brain Drain, if a contestant got a quickfire science question right, all the other contestants lost 100 watts of brainpower (or they did, if they buzzed wrongly). Because this might go on for quite a long time, in the latter stages a sound effect would be cued in and the drain would be increased to 200 and possibly 300 watts so that you get to a winner.

Game show veteran Keith Pottage guessing the heart rate of Queen's Roger Taylor during a drum solo

When a contestant reaches the primordial state of having no brain power left, they are 'evaporated'. This consisted of a jet of dry ice shooting out of the contestant's desk with the contestant seeming to disappear. Unfortunately, sometimes the camera angle wasn't quite right which spoiled the illusion somewhat. You could tell that the contestant's chair was being moved backwards into the rear of the set and a door suspiciously closed in the background. Still, it was neater than the Walk of Shame.

The assembled brains

The winner (the last one with any brain power left) would return the next week as champion. The prizes were always classic invention models such as a Stevenson's Rocket, Wright Brothers' Flyer plane, Edison's Telephone, a Magic Lantern etc.

In the very last show, Kenny Everett got down on his hands and knees and begged for another series. And he might have got it too, if he hadn't been diagnosed with HIV just a few months later. Everett retreated to his natural homeland of radio, although he returned to the gogglebox in 1992 with Gibberish.

Key moments

The contestants getting evaporated.

This won't be word perfect because it's from memory, but...

Kenny: Why don't polar bears eat penguins?
Contestant: Do you want the sensible answer or the silly one?
Kenny: Oooh! Let's have the silly one.
Contestant: Because they can't get the wrappers off!


Everett referred to the contestant evaporating machine as the Scrunge-a-tron.

The consolation prize was a large old-fashioned lightbulb, like the show's logo.

Clips of this show were used on Didn't They Do Well!.

Web links

Opening titles from the BBC Motion Graphics Archive


Image:Brainstorm_cleorocos.jpgCleo demonstrates a scientific thingumyjig


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