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Face the Music (British TV programme)

  (Redirected from Face the Music (UK TV programme))

Face the Music was a weekly BBC television programme in the form of a classical music quiz. It began in 1967 and continued until 1979, with revivals in 1983–1984 and 2007.

Face the Music
Written byJoseph Cooper
Walter Todds
Directed byDenis Moriarty
Presented byJoseph Cooper
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Running time30 minutes
Original networkBBC
Original release1967 – 1979, 1983 –
1984, 2007



The programme, chaired by Joseph Cooper,[1] took the form of a quiz, with a panel of three music-loving celebrities, but without scoring or any winner. Each week there would be a special guest, who would also have to answer questions – with the focus being on topics that related to the guest's life and career, so as to lead to amusing anecdotes. The questions to the panel were asked in a series of rounds, each with a theme, such as "The Face, The Music", where the panel would have to identify a composer from their picture, as well as the composer of the music played along with it.

The most demanding round was the "Dummy Keyboard", where Cooper would play a famous piece on a dummy (soundless) instrument, requiring the panel to identify it from hand movements alone.[2] For the benefit of the audience at home, the music in question – which Cooper was hearing through earphones for the purpose of synchronisation – would be slowly faded in as the piece progressed.

Another round was "Hidden Melody" where Cooper would perform a popular tune in the style of a famous composer, while including extracts of works by that composer to help the listeners.[2] Robin Ray, if a member of that week's panel, would typically identify the opus number of the quoted works.

For opera lovers, the panel were shown a filmed performance of one opera with the soundtrack of a different one, and asked to identify both.

The theme music for the show was the Popular Song from the Façade suite by William Walton (who was a guest on the programme in his 70th birthday year). During its most popular period the programme had a weekly audience of over 4 million.[3]

Panel membersEdit

Regular panel members included Joyce Grenfell, Robin Ray, Richard Baker,[3] Bernard Levin, David Attenborough, Arianna Stassinopoulos (now known as Arianna Huffington), Valerie Pitts, Patrick Moore and Polly Elwes. Guests included William Walton, Dudley Moore, André Previn, Julian Lloyd Webber, Nigel Kennedy and Georg Solti (whose wife, Valerie Pitts, was a panel member for the broadcast).

2007 revivalEdit

A version hosted by John Sergeant and entitled Face the Music 2007 was aired by BBC Four on 1 July 2007. It was announced as a pilot, implying that a full series would follow. Unlike the original, points were awarded for correct answers.


  1. ^ "Pianist Joseph Cooper dies". BBC News. 6 August 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b Anderson, Martin. "Obituaries – Joseph Cooper". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2011.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Joseph Cooper". The Telegraph. 6 August 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2011.

External linksEdit