Paul Daniels
Philip Talbot
Jonathan Booth
Every Second Counts
BBC1: 8 February 1986 – 29 October 1993

Every Second Counts is the game show based on the short-lived American version where contestants win seconds by answering questions.


Three married couples competed in a game of answering questions & earning time.

Main GameEdit

The game was played in two rounds, one spouse from each couple would play in the first round, while the other spouses would play in the second round. The spouse who played in a round sat in what's called the "driver's seat". Each round has three categories with nine dual-choice questions. On each category, Paul asked each couple a question. A correct answer would earn seconds, while a wrong answer eliminated the couple from the remainder of the category; this is classified as being "frozen out". The category continued until all nine questions were asked or if all three couples missed a question & were locked out.

Values of SecondsEdit

  • Round 1 - 2 seconds
  • Round 2 - 4 seconds

Bonus QuestionsEdit

Each round also had bonus questions which gave each couple a chance to add up to ten additional seconds to their times. The couple in control chose a category (there were three to start for the third place team with one less category choice for the second place team leaving the last one for the leaders) and then a question was asked. Once the question was asked, a ten second clock started to count down. The controlling couple used that time to try and say the right answer. They can take as many guesses as they wished and as soon as they gave the right answer, the clock stopped and whatever time was leftover was added to their score.

The couple with the greatest amount of time at the end of the game wins and goes on to the bonus round. If the game ended in a two-way or three-way tie, a toss-up tiebreaker question was asked and the first player to buzz-in with the correct answer scored one additional second and won the game. The two losing couples received a pair of Every Second Counts watches and an Every Second Counts clock (strangely depicted with the US version's logo).

Bonus RoundEdit

In the bonus round, the winning couple used their winning time to answer a certain number of questions on four levels to win prizes. On each level, Paul asked a series of rapid-fire multiple-choice questions from any category from a choice of two. The questions would have the same three choices throughout the category. Each right answer turned off one light and brought the couple one step closer to completing that level and putting out all the lights completed the level.


Each level required a different number of questions answered correctly to complete:

  • Level 1 - 4 lights
  • Level 2 - 5 lights
  • Level 3 - 6 lights
  • Level 4 - 7 lights

(22 Altogether)

Each completed level won a prize, and completing all four levels before time expired also won a holiday. On the final level, however, if there was clearly not enough time to win the holiday, they won £50 (originally £20) for each second left on the clock in addition to the prizes.

NOTE: Although rarely mentioned, the couple could win only two non-cash prizes in this round: the first prize was for completing the first level (which was kept automatically), and the second prize increased in value for each level they completed.