Quiz Shows – Through the Keyhole


In March 2007, I joined friends to see a live recording of ‘Through the Keyhole’ at Yorkshire Studios, hosted by none other than the legendary Sir David Frost.

Like a crusty, flea-ridden, manky old dog who’d rather die quietly in the back yard than be forced to play fetch again, ‘Through the Keyhole’ is a worn-out, repeatedly resurrected format which regularly bounces between daytime ITV and the BBC. This time, the Beeb have secured rights, but – like Channel 4’s Countdown – it is recorded at ITV Leeds.

As we entered the studio, it was clear that my friends and I had immediately bought the average age of the audience down to approximately 75 years old. Hoards of pensioners had been shipped in from their respective retirement homes courtesy of the Beeb.

The set seemed really small and tacky but looked oddly better when lit up and shown on the monitors. The show involves a co-host wandering around a famous person’s home and the studio panel having to guess who they reckon lives there. As audience members, we had to clap when the z-list panel were getting warm, and scream and holler when the z-list celebrity guest was revealed. Since the z-listers were so z-list, we had to be prompted by one of the crew, as usually we hadn’t a clue who the celebs actually were. Some of the less forgettable guests included Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), designer Karen Mirren and golf champ Colin Montgomerie (who lives on a boat).

Davey Frost looked about 100 and did an excruciating but thankfully short stand-up comedy routine at the beginning. Despite the warm-up comedian assuring us Frosty had only screwed things up 3 times in 20 years of the show, Sir Dave went on to commit the worse cock-up possible on a ‘guess who’ quiz show. I’ve no doubt they’ll cut it out of the final version, but he managed to blurt the name of one of the mystery guests as the panel were trying to work it out. I think he must be cracking up in his old age. Furthermore, one of the runners confirmed for me that the Frostmiester is indeed a big diva and insists of being addressed as ‘Sir David’.

I was sure to chase after him at the end to congratulate him on his defection to Al-Jazeera and have him sign my arm (I was originally going to ask for the belly, but it seemed inappropriate to ask such a thing of a guy who’s been knighted by the her maj, the Queen).

David Frost’s autograph…

David Frost's autograph