The Hit List



Marvin and Rochelle Humes


Tuesday's Child Scotland and BBC Scotland for BBC One, 25 May 2019 to present


A big and bold music quiz for Saturday evenings. Our hosts are popstars Rochelle Humes (from The Saturdays) and husband Marvin Humes (from JLS). They're joined by three pairs of contestants.

Our hosts introduce themselves.

The basic premise of The Hit List is to recognise popular songs from a short snippet. We hear some of the original track, and ask the contestants to name that tune, and who is singing it.

The opening round is on the buzzers, press the plunger to stop the track and give an answer. Whoever gets it right qualifies for a bonus track, one that only they can answer. There's a fairly broad link between all the buzzer questions and their bonuses – family members, or solo acts who worked in a band. There's another point for getting the bonus right, and the first two teams to five points qualify for the second round.

The aesthetic is of digital music players, "play" and "skip" and a chain of lights for the volume.

Round two is the themed playlist. The first team to qualify gets to choose the first theme, within which are four pictures. This is a chess-clock round, the clock will only run while they're hearing the snippets. Again, performer and title is a correct answer, and that will stop the clock. Pairs can make lots of guesses, the "first answer only" rule doesn't apply any more.

Don't know the answer? Skip it. A skip will stop the clock – each team has three to use during the round. They then pick another track from the list, play only passes across after a right answer. The first team to run out of time loses.

Our winning couple are through to the endgame, where they could – potentially – win £10,000. Name ten tunes, performer and title, all fitting a fairly broad category. (For instance, "Human body" – title or performer contains a body part.) The team has unlimited skips, if they don't know a particular song they can skip it. And they're given five seconds of the tune before the money starts counting down at £100 per second. While the £10,000 jackpot is very unlikely to be won, it's very possible to win £7000 and more.

The final round plays through.

By design, The Hit List doesn't let us sing along with the songs, we don't get the singalong element from All Together Now. Indeed, the clips are so short that many say the show is too staccato, that the music is buried beneath the administration.

There's general agreement that the show needs a slightly tighter edit, and we need to see the final round's five-second countdown onscreen. And, you know what, it'd be nice to have an endgame that doesn't suffer from Decimate syndrome. The show fits its brief: it's feelgood light entertainment, light and fluffy and very encouraging.

The show finally got a tighter edit for series three as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; as there was no audience, contestants did not walk on.

There were slight changes to the game, too. Round one was extended to ten points, with each team given a solo round - identify a "top five" hit from the 2010s, 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s in that order before the buzzer-and-bonus section. The second round - the themed playlist - changed so that if you "skip" a tune, play passes to your opponents. While selection of the list swaps between the pairs, the first to get into the round always has pick of the pops.

Key moments

A series three team skipping Up by The Saturdays. In fairness, the clue was a still from the movie Up and they may have been thrown by not hearing Olly Murs' hit of that name.

Kate Silverton and Anneka Rice clubbing together with that show's runners up Ranj Singh and Dev Griffin and still managing to run out of money.

The outrageous giveaway clues Marvin and Rochelle give during the celebrity editions.


The format was sold as De Hit Kwiz to Dutch station NPO, and to MTV in Finland.

An early entry in the "top five" round included a hit by Bryan Adams that never made the top 40. Just call it the "big hits" round and everyone's happy.

On 12 June 2021, a repeat of a late 2019 celebrity episode had to be interrupted due to the postponement of a Euro 2020 match caused by an emergency on the pitch. Those who had missed the episode the first time round had to wait until 17 July to watch it, even though they repeated another episode on 19 June.

The last civilian episode of series five was moved to BBC Two due to BBC One showing coverage of Queen Elizabeth II after her passing on 8 September 2022, and a Strictly Come Dancing special due for the week after was delayed by a week so it could air before an episode of Strictly.

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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