Are today’s quiz shows being dumbed down?

William G Stewart ... quizmaster
William G Stewart ... quizmaster

Television quiz shows ... where would we be without them? It doesn’t really matter if your favourite is “Pointless”, “The Chase”, “Eggheads”, or the recently returned “Fifteen to One”, they are all worth watching for one reason on another.

I love watching TV quiz shows to both flex my mental muscles and laugh out loud at some of the incredible answers.

That has been going on since the days of – let’s see how many of you remember this one – “Live from Norwich, it’s the quiz of the week, Sale of the Century”.

Through several decades and multiple TV stations I have shouted answers at the screen with a fairly good success rate.

I have never actually put myself through it, despite once outscoring an entire team on “University Challenge”, but I am still amazed some people who are quite clearly clinically stupid choose to put themselves in front of the cameras.

“What K is a Japanese suicide pilot,” Bob Holness once asked. Quick as a flash came the reply: “Kama Sutra.”

“Which J, according to the Bible, is the son of God,” asked Anne Robinson. “Jeremy” was the delightful reply.

And from the quiz where it all started for me, Nicholas Parsons asked: “What was Hitler’s first name?” Without hesitation, the contestant came back with: “Heil.”

But there is one thing troubling me about all the current crop of TV quiz shows. They all appeared to have been dumbed down in recent years.

I know for a certain fact I am not getting any more intelligent as the years go by, but I seem to finds many of the current crop of televised quizzes much easier to deal with than I used to.

The general knowledge round on “Mastermind” used to leave me delighted with three or four correct answers. Now it is often double that.

“University Challenge” has been known to include questions on football strips and brands of beer.

And that was why I have been so disappointed with the return of “Fifteen to One”.

It used to be a classy cranial contest.

Now it appears to be little more than a glorified pub quiz with a twist.