Alistair Divall
David Hopewell
ITV: 13 March 1989 – 18 December 1992
Reg Grundy Productions/HTV West

Keynotes was a British game show that aired on ITV from 13 March 1989 to 18 December 1992 and hosted by Alistair Divall. The aim of the game was for "two teams of players, to try to put the right words in the right songs and see how well they can follow the bouncing ball to solve [their] puzzle song."


Main GameEdit

Each show had two teams, on the left side standing behind the green podium were the champions and on the right side standing behind the yellow podium were the challengers. To start the game, there were three general rounds, each of which followed the same format:

A series of nine squares were presented, with each square hiding a note in a "familiar" tune. The host gave the contestants Notes 1, 5, and 9 in all three rounds with Note 7 being added as an extra free note in Round 3 from Series 2 onwards.

A member of each team joined the host at the central podium, on which there were two sides for each contestant with three coloured buttons each (red, green, and yellow in that order). One of the contestants randomly chose a card from a set fanned out by the host. Each card represented the note which was set to be revealed. Three words were provided. One of which would represent the next word in a given tune. The contestant who was quickest to select the correct word after hearing the start of this tune was given the note represented by that selected card. If neither contestant was able to select the correct word, the note would go in as a blank and two new players were brought up to play for two keynotes (and so on).

The team that the winning representative came from then had the opportunity to guess the main tune by listening to the already-revealed notes and following the rhythm of the bouncing ball. If the team could correctly name the tune, they won the round and received a cash prize, which was doubled up in each round. (In the first series, the first round was worth £50, doubling up to £200, with a maximum of £350 to be won. From Series 2 onwards, the money decreased to £30, doubling up to £120, for a maximum of £210.) If not, the round would continue, rotating through the various members of both teams. If neither of the teams could work out the song before all nine notes were revealed, then the prize for that round was lost and the players would go on to the next round.

The arrangements of the tunes used in the series were devised by television host Keith Chegwin, who recorded them for the show under a pseudonym.

Bonus RoundEdit

The winning team would attempt to double their cash winnings from that day's show. The team had to uncover the nine notes of the final tune over the course of 30 seconds, by using a buzzer to stop a random flashing light in order to choose a note, and then picking the correct next word, as in the main rounds. However, the final tune was only played once at the end of the 30 seconds. If any of the questions representing the notes were not answered correctly within the time limit, they would not be revealed in the playing of the final tune. If the team could correctly identify the final tune, their money would be doubled.

Championship teams stayed on the show for up to five days, and if a team did win five games in a row, they earned a £500 bonus. The maximum a team could win on Keynotes was £2,600 (£4,000 in the first series).


  • The buzz-in/clock stopping sound was later used on the American game Scattergories.
  • The sound the puzzle board made when it flashed was also used on the American version of Sale of the Century.
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