Henry Kelly (1987–1996)
John Suchet (2008–2009)
Dean Wilson (2008–2009; stand-in)
Co-Hosts (Revival Only)
Alex Kramer
Vicki Letch (stand-in)
Going For Gold (1)
BBC1: 12 October 1987 – 9 July 1996
Going For Gold (2)
Channel 5: 13 October 2008 – 20 March 2009
Reg Grundy Productions (1987–1996)
Talkback Thames (2008–2009)

Going For Gold was a quiz show where people from all over Europe competed (limited to only the UK in the final series).



Going for Gold was originally broadcast on BBC1 from 12 October 1987 to 9 July 1996, usually, after the lunchtime broadcast of Australian soap opera Neighbours. It was presented by Irish broadcaster Henry Kelly, and its defining concept was that it featured contestants from different European countries who competed against each other to answer questions (all in English) to win a prize. The show was shown on BBC1 in the UK and on Super Channel (later NBC Super Channel) in Continental Europe and on BBC TV Europe (which carried a mix of BBC1 and BBC2 output up to its dissolution in early 1991).

The 1987–1996 run of the quiz show each week had seven contestants that spoke English (each representing a different European country) who would compete against each other for a place in the finals. The show followed a repechage format (now common, but then, unusual), whereby unsuccessful contestants from Monday's show would return on Tuesday, and so on throughout the week. Each episode lasted for 25 minutes, including four rounds.

There were ten series in total (two in 1992). The first five series were broadcast during the winter, and many of these were split in half by the Christmas break. The (second) 1992 and 1993 series went out in the autumn, and the last three were broadcast during the summer. The 1996 series featured competitors from the United Kingdom only.


The show was revived and produced by talkbackTHAMES and aired on Channel 5, premiering from 13 October to 19 December 2008. The new version featured only contestants from the UK and Ireland, was broadcast live and hosted by newsreader John Suchet. Former ITV Play host Alex Kramer, did the newly introduced viewers' phone-in question section from 17 November 2008 until 20 March 2009, repeating the questions several times and talking to the selected phone-in contestant. The set questions involved many clues to an item or person, and the phone-ins were notorious for taking up significant amounts of time during the show.

The show continued its run between 5 January and 20 March 2009. Vicky Letch temporarily replaced Alex Kramer as the viewer's phone-in host whilst Alex was on holiday. When John Suchet was unavailable, the programme was hosted by Dean Wilson. At the end of the series, the sixteen winners with the most daily wins contested four semi-finals, the winners of which competed in the series final on 20 March 2009, won by Iwan Thomas.


Round 1: Elimination RoundEdit

Each edition began with a short general knowledge round to all seven contestants. Out of the contestants who started the show, four would go through to the next round (always referred to as the "first round proper" by Kelly). These four would be the first who managed to answer each of the four general knowledge questions correctly. These questions would usually take the form of a 20 to 30-second description of an object, person, animal or place (usually beginning "Who am I?", "What am I?", etc.), with progressively more details being revealed by Kelly until someone was able to identify it. By the Thursday show, there would be only four contestants left to play the opening round and so several questions were asked and the first person to two points would join the previous days' winners in "the first round proper."

For the first Thursday show, only one question was asked, and the first contestant to give the correct answer would play "the first round proper." This was quickly changed to the standard "first to two" format mentioned above.

This round was dropped in the 2008 revival.

Round 2: Beat the BuzzerEdit

This round was a general knowledge round, played with hands on plungers. Questions were worth one, two or three points. A contestant who gave a correct answer would be told the subject of the next question, and got to choose the value of that question. If nobody answered a question correctly, the next question was described simply as "a general knowledge question" and worth one point — but was in fact the next question that was going to be asked anyway. The first three players to reach six points (nine in the 2008 version) went on to play the next round.

In the event that a contestant buzzed in and got a question wrong, the question would be offered to other contestants, signaled by a buzzer sounding. But a contestant buzzing in and giving no answer at all would result in a doorbell sound, causing the answer to be revealed and the question being thrown away.

Round 3: Four in a RowEdit

In this round, each of the remaining contestants were asked to pick a category (out of a choice of four). The order in which they picked the categories was based on the order in which they progressed from the previous round. Each would then have to answer questions on their chosen category for 40 seconds.

Players scored based on the number of consecutive questions they got right – if an incorrect answer was given, their score returned to zero, the score taken from this round was the highest point reached over 40 seconds. After this round, the two highest scoring players went through to the final round. A "first to two" general knowledge playoff was held if there was a tie, using the same style of questions from Round 1.

Final Round: Head to HeadEdit

In the final, every question was worth between four and one point depending on how quickly they were answered. Again, the questions pertained to a famous person, place, thing, fictional character or event. However, only one player at a time was allowed to the buzzer, as indicated by a clock graphic running down the center of the screen, divided into four zones. The player in control could play the question or pass it to their opponent. Whoever played first took the four- and two-point zones of the timer, while the opponent took the three- and one-point zones. If a player gave an incorrect answer, their zone was passed over to their opponent (thus preventing multiple guesses in the same zone) and the time (and the question) continued.

In the original run, the first player to score nine points won the game.

In the 2008 revival, this round kept on playing until time was up. When time was up, the player with the most points was the winner.

Tournament Format (Original Run)Edit

Each series during the original run was played as a tournament. At the beginning of each new week, seven English speaking-European contestants (UK native contestants in the final series) competed and those seven were whittled down to two for the final round. The winner of the final round won the daily game, and went through to the end of week final (an automatic place in the 'first round proper' on Thursday). From here, the winner progressed to the later stages of the series. The losing players all came back the next day, starting with the same pool of players each weekday, minus the winner of the week's earlier shows. On the Thursday show, the remaining four player played the opening round with two points needed to advance to the 'first round proper', the winner of Thursday's game became the weekly winner and advanced to the semi-finals.

The Semi-Finals occurred at the end of each half of the series. Depending on the length of the series, anywhere from seven to ten semi-finalists appeared. There was no end-of-week final; the four winners automatically advanced to the Finals week. Starting here, contestants were buzzing in earlier than usual, since the competition was getting stronger.

For the Finals, the eight winners of the semi-finals (four from each week) would play the game like a standard week (three heats and a final).

The final episode of the series was the Grand Final (because of this, Kelly was more dressed up than in all of the other episodes of the series). The remaining five finalists would play a "first to two" opening round, with the winner joining the other three Grand Finalists for "the first round proper" and then the game would play as normal.

The winner of the Grand Final became Series Champion and won a star prize holiday (described in all episodes of the series); the runner-up received a consolation prize.

Championship Format (Revival)Edit

In the revival (which was shown five days a week (Monday through Friday), unlike the previous version, which was only shown four days a week (Monday through Thursday)), the winning contestant received £1,000 and returned on the next show to face three new challengers.

This version had all its main contestants from the UK and Ireland; however, there were also episodes where players from Continental Europe competed (similar to the first nine series of the original version), the winner of these episodes also won £1,000, each in their own country's currency.

The final week of this version had the international winners competing against the best main champions of the series in a tournament of champions; in a manner similar to Countdown, the main champions who took part were the ones who won the most matches or with the highest total winning Final Round scores (whichever came first). The first four episodes had four contestants competing in each one; the four winners each received another £1,000 plus the right to compete on Friday (sadly, this was the last ever episode), and the winner took home the tournament prize of £5,000.

Additional PageEdit

List of Going For Gold episodes