Spicks and Specks (TV series)

Spicks and Specks (TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Spicks and Specks

format = Quiz show
picture_format = 576i (SDTV)
runtime = 27 minutes per episode
starring = Host
Adam Hills
Team Captains
Alan Brough
Myf Warhurst
country = AUS
network = ABC1
first_aired = 2005
last_aired =
num_episodes = 119 (as of 6 February 2008)
website = http://www.abc.net.au/tv/spicksandspecks/
tv_com_id = 35614

"Spicks and Specks" is an Australian music-themed television quiz show with a humorous streak. It airs on ABC1 at 8:30 on Wednesday nights, with the show repeated on Thursdays on ABC2 at 8pm. 2008 marked Spicks and Specks' fourth season, with the first episode aired on Wednesday 6 February. It is filmed at ABC Melbourne's Ripponlea studios.

The show is hosted by stand-up comedian Adam Hills who poses questions to two teams each headed by a permanent team captain, New Zealand-born actor/comedian Alan Brough and Mildura-raised Triple M announcer Myf Warhurst. They each have two guest panelists, generally one from the world of music and one from comedy. They vary from week to week, but regular guests include Hamish Blake, Frank Woodley, Colin Lane, Ross Noble, Mikey Robbins, Andy Lee, James Morrison, Renée Geyer, Ella Hooper, Meshel Laurie, and Dave O'Neil. Blake has appeared more often than any other guest panelist, and his comparative lack of musical knowledge is a running gag.

The overall style employing a mix of music and comedy is similar to the UK TV show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but the question formats are different.


The show sticks to a simple quiz-show format, with host Hills asking the teams varying music-themed questions. Some rounds are played on an "open-to-all" basis, "i.e." both teams can answer the questions, but in most rounds each team gets their own questions to answer - although the other team may answer the question if the first team doesn't know it. Scores are kept, but the prize for the winners is simply personal satisfaction. Regular segments include:

*"Know Your Product", where each team chooses one of four given topics - three questions around this topic are then asked which either team can answer. The questions are usually ordered by points allocated and the number of answers needed. (eg. first question is worth one point, but only one answer is needed, the second question is worth two points and requires two answers, and the final question is worth three marks and has three answers). This game is played first in every episode.

*"Substitute", where one panellist from each team sings three well-known tunes, substituting words from a text provided by Hills. This is usually a technical manual or some kind of text humorous given the context (texts used have included "Datsun 180B Service Manual", "2004 Australian Government Tax Pack" and "A guide to Yabbie Farming"). The other panellists of that team then guess the songs. This game is loosely based on One Song To The Tune Of Another from the BBC Radio 4 panel game "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" and Adam Hill's own minor hit with Working Class Anthem, in which he sang the lyrics of the Australian National Anthem to the tune of Jimmy Barnes's Working Class Man.

*"Cover Versions" in which one contestant is chosen to draw a picture (in silence), representing either a song title or an album cover, as their panel attempts to guess which song it is. Contestants are not allowed to use words or numbers.

*"Samplemania/Videomania", where five or six songs/music video clips are edited into one short 30-second clip. Players must identify the different songs/videos in the clip after they have all been played, and are not allowed to take notes.

*"Please Please Tell Me Now", in which Hills presents part of a music video clip, and the teams must answer questions about the video.

* "Musician or Serial Killer", in which each panellist is shown a photograph and asked to choose whether the subject is a musician or a serial killer.

* "Sir Mix'n'Matchalot", where each team is given three famous people and three facts about each of these people. They have to match the fact with the correct person.

*"Bottom 100" in which Hills provides each team with a choice of two awful songs and asks them to determine which was rated worst by a given group or list.

*"Common People" in which the teams identify the commonality between three musicians.

*"Malvern Stars on 45" in which a single contestant rides a bicycle which powers a record player. The speed each record plays at is determined by the speed at which the contestant pedals. The contestant must continue to ride until their panel correctly guesses as many songs as possible in the time limit.

*"Mondegreens" - which are misinterpreted song lyrics - is where the contestants are asked to guess which song contains the mistaken lyrics.

*"Looking for Clues", where teams have to guess the name of a band from a cryptic clue given by Hills.

*"Look What They've Done... (To My Song Ma!)", where song clips have been changed and the players must identify the tracks. Most commonly, a guest artist or group is used to play the tracks in a different style to the original, however the songs have also been played through headphones played to maximum volume, through ringtones, backwards, etc.

*"Something's Missing", where the teams are shown album covers with an item or word blanked out, and they must identify the missing item.

*"One out of Three Ain't Bad", where teams are given a relatively obscure musical story and are presented with three possible endings. Teams must select the true ending to the story.

*"Word Up", in which teams are given five words from the lyrics of a song, and they must then identify the song.

*"You're The Voices", where a member of each team must stand next to the opposite team & sing a song from a book (by only singing la la la). The first team to get their member's song correct wins a point. Introduced halfway through the 2008 season.

*"All Shook Up", in which each team is shown a series of anagrams of musicians' names (eg "Bomb Early" - "Bob Marley"), and they have to unscramble the anagram. If nobody guesses the anagram immediately, Hills will give a clue.

*"Two Little Words", where one member of each team is blind-folded and the others are given the name of a musician or band. The two other team members must get their team mate to guess correctly which musician they are given using only one one-word clue each. An example used by Adam Hills is Kylie Minogue, where one team member might say "Hot" and the other might say "Pants", or "Singing" - "Budgie".

*"Counting the Beat", where one member of each team plays songs on a keyboard while the others try to guess the song. Keyboardists are given a list of numbers corresponding to the order in which they should play the notes, but are given no indication of the rhythm in which they should be played. Introduced in 2008.

*"I'll Jumble For Ya", where one team member is given thirty seconds to correctly match ten song titles divided in half and mixed up on a magnetic board.

The final round of each program, "The Final Countdown", is devoted to a generic musical quiz. This is a beat the buzzer round, and is the only round in which points are deducted for incorrect responses.

Many of these rounds have proved more popular than others. "Substitute" was used consistently throughout the early history of the show appearing in almost every episode (although it has more recently been rested in favour of "Cover Versions"), whereas "Looking for Clues" is used much less. Some other segments which proved to be popular early in the show's history but have been used less or even abandoned later in the season: "Musician or Serial Killer" and "Bottom 100" were both commonly used early in 2006, but are rarely seen today.

Despite points being awarded for each round, there are no prizes for the winners, except on rare occasions where Hills decides to award some convenient prop for comedic effect - a "Fools' Gold" sandwich identical to that eaten by Elvis, for example.


A Very Specky Christmas

Since 2005, an annual hour-long Christmas episode, entitled "A Very Specky Christmas" or variations thereof, has been screened on the Sunday night before Christmas. While these episodes remain true to the standard format with three members on each team, adaptions are made to allow more guest stars to appear. Additional or notably different games have included:
* "Mistletoss", a physical challenge in which the teams are required to throw Christmas presents into a goal in a given time limit. In 2005, the teams threw CDs into the chimney of a model house; in 2006, wrapped gifts were thrown into celebrities' Christmas stockings of different sizes; in 2007, wrapped gifts were thrown through the windows of a "rehab clinic" with a guard out the front, Frank Woodley.
* "Sir Mix'n'Matchalot" is adapted so that three additional celebrities appear and are arbitrarily given Christmas presents by the show. The panel then asks questions and attempts to allocate the presents.
* "Substitute" is adapted so that trained choirs sing the tunes of Christmas songs with the words from famous quotes and works from the past year, such as controversial pieces of legislation or political speeches. Particularly memorable was a batting card from Australia's losing 2005 Ashes campaign, sung to the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Other Specials

Special episodes have been compiled for various seasonal or arbitrary themes, including:
*Halloween (dubbed Spicks and Spooks)
*ARIA Hall of Fame inductees
*Children's music
*Music from films (dubbed Spicks and Flicks)
*Mother's Day
*Australia vs New ZealandIn each case, questions are written, and some games are changed slightly or new games invented, to suit the theme.

100th Episode

On May 30 2007, Spicks and Specks celebrated its 100th episode. Instead of the show being divided into rounds, teams were asked 100 questions - one from each of the previous 99 episodes, and one new question, "What is the last Question on our 100th Episode?" which ultimately determined the result.

Theme and titles

The show takes both its name and theme music from The Bee Gees' 1966 song, 'Spicks and Specks'. The theme music is performed and produced by The Dissociatives, a duo consisting of Silverchair singer Daniel Johns and dance musician Paul Mac, and replaces all the lyrics bar the title refrain with vocal scatting. In addition, Mac once appeared on the show as a panellist.


In 2007, the first Spicks and Specks product was launched, the "Spicks and Specks Interactive Quiz" DVD. In 2008, the "Spicks and Specks Boardgame" was released, and a DVD - titled "A Very Specky Christmas" - is due to be released on November 6, 2008, though it is not known whether it shall include only the first one or more of the Christmas specials. [ [http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/802369 EzyDVD pre-order page] ]


External links

* [http://www.abc.net.au/tv/spicksandspecks/ Spicks and Specks] official website.

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