Blockbusters, hosted as always by Bob Holness, the programme that puts teenage contestants on the hotspot to face a barrage of general knowledge questions. The show features 16 to 18 year olds and has made Bob perhaps the most unlikely teen hero, who can scarcely walk down the street without hearing a shout of "can I have a P please Bob"!
A solo player competed against a pair of contestants, thus setting out to prove or disprove the old adage that two heads really were better than one.
The game board consisted of 20 interlocking hexagons, arranged in five columns of four. Each hexagon contained a letter of the alphabet. A contestant would choose one of the letters, and would be asked a general-knowledge trivia question whose correct answer began with the chosen letter.
A typical question might be, "What 'P' is a musical instrument with 88 keys?" The answer would be a piano.
The game board is designed in such a way that a tied game was not a possible finishing result. Even if all 20 hexagons were filled, there would always be a winner.
The game began with a toss-up question to play for control of the board, starting with a letter that was chosen at random. The teams or players could buzz-in during the middle of reading of a question. If a player or team got the correct answer, they gained control of that hexagon and were given the chance to choose another one. If the contestant answered incorrectly, the opposing team or player was given a chance to answer it after the host re-read the question. If nobody answered it correctly, the host asked another question whose answer began with that same letter. Each correct answer won £5. In the case of the two-player team, each player won whatever money the team accumulated.
The solo player attempted to complete a vertical connection of white hexagons from the top of the board to the bottom; that required at least four correct answers. The pair attempted to connect a path from left to right with blue hexagons, requiring at least five spaces. The first side to connect their path won the game. The first player or team to win two games won the match. When either party was one correct answer away from completing their path, the hexagons forming their path would flash to indicate this. If both were one correct answer away, all lit hexagons on the board would flash, indicating that the situation was effectively "Blockbusters either way", and the next player to give a correct answer would win the game.
The winner of the match went on to play the Gold Run bonus round; if the pair won, only one player on the team could play, with the turns alternating at each Gold Run. The board consisted of a pattern of hexagons similar to that of the main game, but the hexagons had 2 to 5 letters inside them; those letters were the initials of the correct answer.
For instance, if a contestant chose "BS" and the host said "Where people kiss in Ireland", the correct answer would be "Blarney Stone."
When the contestant guessed correctly, the hexagon turned gold. However, if the contestant passed, it turned black, blocking the player's path; it was then up to the contestant to work around it. The object was to horizontally connect the left and right sides of the board within 60 seconds or before blocking off all possible horizontal connections.
The winner of the match played the Gold Run, where they would have 5 chances to play. From 7th series, it was reduced to 3, in order that more contestants could take part over the course of a series. If players were successful they won a special prize. If the Gold Run wasn't won, each correct answer paid £5 (later £10). Defending champions could keep going for up to five matches undefeated, in order to win an even bigger prize.