Criss Cross Quiz

Criss Cross Quiz

1957 - United Kingdom

Popular quiz show based on the simple game of noughts and crosses. The format was devised for American television where it was known as Tic Tac Dough. Played on a grid of nine squares, each of two contestants had to answer a question correctly to put a nought or a cross in a square. They then had to get three noughts or three crosses in a row either horizontaly, vertically or diagonally to win the game. A wrong answer, if you were playing noughts for example, put your opponents cross in the square. However, a wrong answer would not cost a player the game because to complete three in a row he or she had to answer their own question correctly. 

Questions were asked from almost 100 different categories as diverse as films, quotations, nicknames, Africa, the 1920's, currency or pot luck, etc. Every correct answer would win a tenner (except for the middle square which was 20 pounds) and if a game was drawn the prize money was doubled for the next game. 

Winners stayed on show after show until they were beaten and some of the better players were able to build up a nice pot of money. However, a strict rule about how much a contestant could win was introduced after one lucky player walked away with £2,360. 

Produced by Granada Television, Criss Cross Quiz began in 1957 and was presented by Jeremy Hawk a character actor with a long career in music halls and on London's West End stage. He also appeared on television as straight man to Benny Hill, Arthur Askey and Norman Wisdom. When he left in 1962 he was replaced by Barbara Kelly a Canadian-born actress, best-known as a panelist on the British version of What's My Line? (She was also the wife of Bernard Braden). Contestants were chosen by Granada Television's Contestants Department which sorted through thousands of applications for a number of quiz shows such as Spot the Tune, Make Up Your Mind and Concentration

Criss, Cross, Quiz was shown three times a week and the show was networked across the ITV regions. One 1963 broadcast was interupted when news broke of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's resignation. 

A children's version of the show called Junior Criss Cross Quiz was produced the same year the adult version started although the children played for prizes instead of money. Presenters on the children's version were: Jeremy Hawk, Chris Kelly, Bob Holness, Mike Sarne, Chris Howland, Gordon Luck, Peter Wheeler, Bill Grundy, Danny Blanchflower and Barbara Kelly. Variations of the basic format have re-appeared many times on television down the years on shows such as Celebrity Squares.

Published on December 5th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Have Gun Will Travel

US Western series which chronicled the exploits of the college educated, West Point trained, black clad lone solider of fortune known simply as 'Paladin'

Also released in 1957

What's My Line

Quiz show in which a panel of guest celebrities attempt to guess the occupation of people unknown to them.

Also starring Barbara Kelly

Take Your Pick

Classic British quiz show with genial host Michael Miles who would ask contestants whether they wanted to "take the money or open the box...?"

Also tagged Gameshow

The Black and White Minstrel Show

A firm Saturday night favourite for many years The Black and White Minstrel Show, a mixture of American deep South music previously popularised by internationally famous vaudeville stars such as the great Al Jolson.

Also released in 1957

The Gay Cavalier

Swashbuckling adventure as yet another historical rogue is turned into a hero for 1950s British television.

Also released in 1957


General knowledge quiz show featuring two sides representing a football team from the English or Scottish Leagues, as they battle it out off the pitch.

Also tagged Gameshow

Educated Evans

Based on an Edgar Wallace created character this 1957/8 sitcom starred Charlie Chester as the popular Cockney racing tipster 'Educated' Evans, who ducked and dived through the back streets and public houses of London all the while trying to stay one step ahead of the law.

Also released in 1957

The Generation Game

Gameshow in which two generations of the same family team up to win prizes.

Also tagged Gameshow

Double Your Money

Hosted by the charismatic Hughie Green, Double Your Money gave away the biggest cash prize on British television in the 1950s.

Also tagged Gameshow