Television Top of the Form

Sharston Mount episode recorded 25 March 1972
Quiz master: Geoffrey Wheeler
Producer: Bill Wright

St Augustine's Grammar School   The Hollies FCJ Grammar School
Mike Murphy Phil Smith   Josephine Finan Anne Heaton



Yvonne Burgess George McCracken Isobel McCarlie Sandy Simpson

You can gain a point if I send it across for a bonus and you tell me the final scores . . .

Linda Evans


Manchester v Stranraer Manchester Won
Manchester v Banbury Banbury Won
Manchester v Llanelli Llanelli Lost

"Transworld Top Team"

There was a Canadian version of Top of the Form, and in August 1972 their 3 top teams came to the UK and played vs. the 3 top UK sides - Llanelli, St Augustine's/Hollies and Banbury.
The Canadian teams included Winipeg, Edmonton and Halifax.

Geoffrey Wheeler recalls:
It was an episode I do remember:
During the warm up session, Father McGuiness seized the BBC microphone from me to address the school himself!

One of the four recalls
"Transworld Top Team"
...was a riot. We toured the UK, playing matches at the 3 schools and having allegedly cultural visits to London, Stratford and Edinburgh. I think the BBC were simply mad allowing 24 hormonal youngsters access to hotel minibars. These days they would simply have left the cameras running for the fortnight (and edited out the dull bits involving G. Wheeler and general knowledge).
My abiding memory is of the hotel in Banbury where one of us got so ratted (almost certainly on something with blackcurrant in it) that the rest of us had to spend a tense night keeping him propped up at an acute angle. He puked fluently for an improbably long time, and it did nothing for team spirit (or the carpets).

Group including
2. Mike Murphy and 4. Phil Smith
Josephine Finan & one of Llanelli Team
Mike Murphy and Phil Smith
(Stratford on Avon)
What the BBC didn't film!

A staff member recalls:
Later, the school was joined with the Hollies to make up a team for the TV programme Top of the Form. I remember Michael Murphy was one of our two. The recording session in the school hall started very late because McGuiness had inflicted his well-known hospitality on the production team and visiting Hollies staff. While Geoffrey Wheeler, the question master, was blurrily trying to put the staging together, Sister Victoire was trying to mount the step between the hall proper and the dining area to reach her assigned place. McGuiness, well-oiled of course, simply put his shoulder under the Sister's bum and hoisted her into the dining area like a sack of potatoes. He then went on to delay proceedings further by making a fifteen-minute speech of welcome to the visitors.

From The Hollies FCJ Annals
2 boys from St Augustine's, 2 Hollies Girls, Josephine Finan and Anne Heaton - represented Manchester.  Manchester team and supporter's travelled to Banbury for the Semi Final.  Manchester won their Semi final. The final was against Llanelli. Llanelli won.  Very impressed by the care of the team. They travelled by air or car, stayed in 1st class hotels, and all expenses were paid.  Chaperones were provided from the BBC. 
Manchester, Llanelli and Banbury then competed against the 3 best Canadian teams in an international TOTF. They came from Winnipeg, Edmonton and Halifax. The British teams joined the Canadian teams in London. All six teams, as guests of the BBC, spent 2 weeks visiting London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Banbury, Llanelli and Stratford on Avon. They were taken to two Shakespearean plays at Stratford. The new series 'Transworld TOTF' then began. When each British team had played each Canadian, the positions were Llanelli, Manchester, Banbury, and the Canadians in 4th 5th and 6th position.  The final match was between the All-Star British team and the All star Canadian team. The best 4 pupils from each country took part. The British team had one boy from Banbury, two from Llanelli and Josephine Finan from the Hollies, Manchester. The British team won and was presented with a trophy and individual prizes. Josephine went on to obtain an open scholarship for Cambridge where she read Modern Languages.

The [Stranraer] team victorious against Shawlands Academy.Unfortunately and in spite of Mr Gill's intensive training programme, the quarter final was as far as we got but many miles were travelled and many friends were made before Stranraer Academy and the BBC parted company. We must admit, it was almost a jioy to be beaten by such charming Mancunians with whom friendly diplomatic relations have since been set up ...We were sorry to hear of their defeat at the hands of the Welsh. The [Stranraer] team's verdict on the whole process - exciting, nerve-racking, certainly an experience to remember.

Glasgow v Stranraer

Theme Music
This was taken from "Marching Strings" by Marshall Ross popularised by Ray Martin and his Orchestra
Theme Music (un-synthesised version)

Thanks to Geoffrey Wheeler, Mark Brennan, Bobby Cree, Paul Fay, Josephine Maltby, Pat Harris, Andrew Hemmens, James Fitzsimons and Sally Drummond