Barry McQueen (1959)

Chris Howland (1960)

David Gell (1960)

Nick Jackson (1988)

Bob Carolgees (1989-90)


Announcer: Malcolm Brown (1988-90)


Granada for ITV, 16 June 1959 to 7 June 1960 (70 episodes in 1 series)

TVS in association with Mark Goodson Productions and Talbot Television for ITV, 4 September 1988 to 2 March 1990 (23 episodes in 2 series)


Two people played against each other to solve rebuses covered by squares.

On a board were 25 squares and each person picked two at a time, in the style of the game Pelmanism. If they matched, they'd win the prize they'd matched up. Those squares would also disappear, revealing part of a picture puzzle. They could keep going until they failed to match. Instead of prizes, three of them were 'Wild' squares, automatically giving you a prize under a square (if they matched up Two 'Wild squares, I think they won a bonus) and thereby revealing three pieces of puzzle. There were also four 'Take' squares where if you were jealous of your opponent's prizes you could take one.

Image:Concentration host.jpgIt takes concentration to read an idiot board, too

You only won the prizes if you solved the puzzle and you could only solve the puzzle if you had just matched some squares. It was best of three puzzles. Whoever won went through to the end game where they would be given 45 seconds to match 14 out of 15 holiday destinations, 7 pairs, the one that doesn't match (known during the Carolgees-version as the 'rogue square') is the destination of the winner's holiday. This was changed during the Jackson/Carolgees version, whereby the last destination correctly paired up was the contestant's holiday destination.

Image:Concentration car.jpgAt least it's not a speedboat

There were several other changes that occurred during the show's revival. Firstly, the contestants won their prizes whether they solved the puzzles or not. Another change was that, during the Jackson-version, a contestant could use the 'Take' squares to take any one of the other contestant's prizes, while, during the Carolgees-era, the 'stolen' prize would always be the last one that the other contestant had won. Also, the latter era saw the arrival of 'Swap' squares, whereby the contestant could, if he/she wished, swap one of the prizes in exchange for picking one of 3 cards that Carolgees was offering them. One was worth £100, another £50 and another only £1 - inevitably the latter amount was won on occasions, which was no doubt rather annoying for the contestant concerned.

Perhaps more polished than the American version, but not as much fun. Still, at least it was good-natured and easy to play along with.


"The game that needs not only a very good memory, but lots of concentration!"

Theme music

Ed Welch composed the music for the 1988-1990 version.


Nick Jackson used to be the voice of the Sun newspaper TV adverts.

The 1980s version of the show used graphics by Dick Burn. We kid you not.

The original version of the show had 30 squares on the game board.

It was notable that, during the show's later era, one contestant often seemed to be better at matching the squares, while the other one was more skilled at solving the puzzles. The inevitable result was that the puzzle-solver would get through to the endgame, but would not win the holiday, due to being less skilled in finding the pairs on the board. Having said that, though, there were certainly some who did get the holiday, and even if they didn't, at least they generally had a goodly number of lesser prizes.

When Bob Carolgees took over as host, he always amusingly told us how he was no good at solving the puzzles and would give us his 'alternative version'. On one such occasion, the answer was 'The Sky's The Limit', which included a pair of eyes, an eel and a leg (as in 'limb'). Carolgees claimed that he'd thought it was, 'When a snake runs up your leg, it makes your eyes water' - make of that what you will.

The show was probably the first Pelmanism-based game show on TV. Others that have used it since then include Four Square, Memory Bank, Steal and also the early-80s kids' Saturday morning show 'The Saturday Picture Show', hosted by Mark Curry, whereby children phoned in to take part in a game called 'Pick A Pair' in the hope of winning prizes.

Finally, a comment on the unusual but nonetheless effective seating/standing arrangements for contestants and host during the latter era. The contestants and the host (either Jackson or Carolgees) would all be behind one large desk, the contestants sitting down and the host standing between them. 'Concentration' was almost certainly the only show ever to arrange things in this manner, definitely the only one that we can think of.


A board game based on the show was produced in 1990.

Web links

Wikipedia entry


The gameboard from the early Granada version - the answer being that well-known phrase MASTER CARPENTER


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