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Treasure Hunt (UK game show)

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Title: Treasure Hunt (UK game show)  
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Subject: David J. Bodycombe, Annabel Croft, Chatsworth Television, Treasure hunt (disambiguation), Treasure Hunter
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Treasure Hunt (UK game show)

Treasure Hunt
Title logo from Series 4 (1986).
Created by Jacques Antoine
Presented by Kenneth Kendall

Dermot Murnaghan
Starring Anneka Rice (1982–1988)
Annabel Croft (1989)
Suzi Perry (2002–2003)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 101 (including 9 specials)
Running time 60 minutes (including adverts)
Production company(s) Chatsworth Television
(1982-1989, 2002-2003)

Thames Television
(1985 & 1988)
Original channel Channel 4 (1982–1989)
ITV (1985 & 1988)
BBC Two (2002–2003)
Picture format 4:3 (1982–1989)
16:9 (2002–2003)
Original release 28 December 1982 (1982-12-28) – 2 August 2003 (2003-08-02)
Related shows Interceptor (1989-1990)
Challenge Anneka
(1989-1995, 2006-2007)

The Crystal Maze
Fort Boyard
(1998–2001, 2003)

Treasure Hunt was a popular UK game show, based on the format of the French show La Chasse au Trésor, created by Jacques Antoine. It appeared on Channel 4 between 28 December 1982 and 18 May 1989 and was revived by BBC Two between 16 December 2002 and 2 August 2003.


  • The game 1
  • Presenters and crew 2
  • Broadcasts 3
  • Spin-offs 4
  • Transmissions 5
    • Original series 5.1
    • Revived series 5.2
    • Specials 5.3
  • List of episodes 6
    • 1982–1989 version 6.1
    • 2002–2003 version 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8

The game

A team of two contestants, always in the studio, had to use a library of (deliberately relevant) maps and reference materials to solve up to five clues, and communicate instructions via a radio link to a skyrunner who had the use of a helicopter. The contestants were given the first clue for free, the solving of which would lead to the location of the second clue and so on until a trinket or other significant object was found by solving the final clue. The contestants won a higher cash prize each time they solved a clue correctly. This was all done "against the clock". Even once the contestants had solved the final clue, the skyrunner still had to confirm they were correct, by reaching the final target. On a few occasions, the contestants solved all five clues with time to spare, in which case, a bonus clue was given to the contestants. This typically resulted in their winning a bottle of champagne. One such occasion was the North Yorkshire episode (4.10), in which the bonus clue instructed them to go to "Great British Hospital X-ray Unit". This was actually code for "return to the helicopter, registration G-BHXU", but Anneka alarmed the passers-by outside Skipton Castle by frantically asking "which way to the hospital?"

Understandably, the skyrunner and helicopter did not have freedom to fly and land anywhere they wished. Although the pilot could to an extent request permission from airspace authorities to fly off-course, as happened on occasions, landings needed to be agreed in advance with landowners of a suitable location near the clue. On occasions the helicopter would land in a clearly marked out area, especially at public places. It is open to interpretation how much detail of the route was known in advance by either of the studio presenters or even the skyrunner herself, and hence to what extent the contestants were helped to correctly direct the skyrunner to the approximate location. Kenneth Kendall always stressed that he did not know the clues and locations in advance, and any help that he gave the contestants was from his own knowledge. According to a "making of Treasure Hunt" programme, Anneka Rice was confined to the hotel on the day that the cameraman, video recordist and helicopter pilot undertook a rehearsal (typically the day before the programme was recorded), so she had no advance knowledge of the locations. This did not stop her carrying out research about the general area in order to have a stock of interesting facts to fill in any awkward silences that might arise while the contestants were thinking.

Presenters and crew

In the original version, the presenter was former BBC newsreader Kenneth Kendall and the "skyrunner" was broadcaster Anneka Rice. In the first series, Kenneth was joined briefly in the studio for the handover of the first clue by the original clue-setter, Ann Meo. She would later rejoin the contestants if they had been successful in finding the treasure to offer her congratulations. If they had been unsuccessful, she would be heard as a voiceover explaining where they had gone wrong. From the second series onwards, this role was expanded, another studio-based person acted as adjudicator, giving the contestants tips on how they were doing against the scheduled time, and providing additional information about the locations visited. In series 2, this was Annette Lynton ("Nettie") and from series 3 onwards, TV-am weather girl Wincey Willis. In 1988, Rice left to have a baby, and her place was taken by tennis player Annabel Croft. In this series, the set was revamped due to a move to Thames Television's facilities (the original studios were at Trilion in Soho, London, and then Limehouse in East London which was by this point earmarked for demolition to make way for Canary Wharf), and Willis was promoted to sharing main billing with Kendall. Croft was billed as "Guest Skyrunner" for the first episode of the series, and it was stated at the time that Rice would return after giving birth, but it turned out to be the show's final series and the "Guest Skyrunner" credit was dropped.

In the BBC's 2002-2003 version, newsreader Dermot Murnaghan presented, the "skyrunner" was Suzi Perry, and there was no adjudicator. Advances in broadcasting technology meant that this new version could come from a much greater range of locations; however, the new version was quite short-lived. It is thought that the BBC felt the moderate ratings (maybe due in part to lack of promotion) did not justify the budget required for the show.

Keith Thompson of Castle Air Charters was the usual helicopter pilot in both versions, though for overseas editions a local pilot was often used. There was always a "chase" helicopter which relayed radio signals back to London and, although this could never be used "tactically" by the contestants, it was not hidden from the viewers. This communications helicopter had dark brown with gold stripe livery, registration G-SPEY. The two crews would sometimes fly in formation to generate exciting footage. Both helicopters were usually Bell 206 JetRangers; the helicopter usually used by the skyrunner was registration G-BHXU. This aircraft was later forced to ditch in the sea north of Alderney in June 1995 where it sank; the crew were rescued.[1]

A feature was made of the camaraderie between the female presenter and the male recording and flight crews. This extended to many infamous shots of the presenter's rear as she ran from clue to clue in a jump-suit, which became the main focus of the programme's portrayal in the satirical TV series, Spitting Image. Cameraman Graham reaching in front of the camera to wipe away rain, sea spray, etc. with a cloth also became a well-known image from the series.

In 1985, the cameraman, Graham Berry, was awarded a BAFTA for his contribution to the series.


When first shown on Channel 4 on 28 December 1982, Treasure Hunt was one of the earliest major series on the then-new channel. The unusual format earned extra publicity for both the programme and the channel, which was striving to justify itself with new and different programming.

The 1982–1989 series were repeated on terrestrial television several times, and during the 1990s appeared on the Challenge satellite and cable channel, as well as Sky Travel. The first episode was repeated on 30 October 2007 on the digital channel More4 as part of Channel 4's 25th anniversary celebrations. This was a one-off and there are no current plans to repeat the TV show.

On 21 November 2013, Challenge announced that they re-acquired the first two series. The first episode was repeated again on 28 December 2013 as part of Challenge's First Ever Episodes weekend. Challenge have confirmed that the re-run of series 1 and 2 would air on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 February 2014. The Saturday episode was screened at 6pm and the Sunday episode aired at 5pm (times varied afterwards).[2]

The original run of the first series was watched by up to 900,000 viewers; however, by the mid-1980s, ratings were some of the highest for Channel 4 at around seven million.

Two charity editions of the show were produced, one locally in the London area for the Thames Television telethon in 1985 and another broadcast across the UK as part of the ITV network's Telethon '88. The show was also featured in an edition of the BBC children's aspiration show Jim'll Fix It (in which a young viewer joined Anneka Rice in the famous helicopter over the county of Surrey for a scaled down version of the show), in the Paul Daniels Magic Show (BBC) and in The Krypton Factor (Granada for ITV).

For all the UK series, the programme was a Chatsworth Television independent production in association with Tele Union Paris.


An eponymous board game based on the show was published in the UK. It involved moving pieces around a map of England and Wales.

There was also a computer game released for some home computer formats in 1986, including for the BBC Micro, published by Macsen Software. This game featured very basic graphic layout and was text-driven, and had the options of four different locations to find clues in.

A one-off Welsh language version, Helfa Drysor (Welsh for "Treasure Hunt"), was produced for S4C in 1985.[3]

In 1989, Rice began her own BBC series, Challenge Anneka, in which she was set a different task to complete each week. Although essentially unrelated to the original concept of Treasure Hunt, there were some similarities between the shows, primarily the principles of Rice being up against a time limit, racing from location to location and having a real chance of success or failure to complete a task with the aid of others.

BBC Three Counties Radio aired Treasure Quest each Sunday from 9am to 12 noon. Andy Gelder was in the studio and varying assistants in the radio car help two contestants to solve clues over the three-hour period. This format was later changed to a Saturday morning hosted by Jonathan Vernon-Smith, the new format is somewhat confusing as the program is shared with BBC Radio Northampton and there are 2 runners running simultaneously in the two radio areas during the same program.

BBC Radio Norfolk began their own version of Treasure Quest in 2008, on Sunday mornings from 9am to 12 noon, with David Clayton presenting and Kirsteen Thorne and Sophie Little doing alternate weeks in the radio car with Navigator Ian Forster. Over the years there have been several different guest runners, presenters and Navigators when the regular team are unavailable, these are normally presenters or staff from Radio Norfolk or BBC look east, however On 6 September 2009, Wincey Willis stood in for the then full time runner Becky Betts, and on Valentine's Day, 14 February 2010, Anneka Rice took part in the programme, appearing at the fifth clue location, Norwich Castle, and then teaming up with Betts to find the treasure.[4][5][6]

On London's talk station LBC, presenter James O'Brien hosted The Treasure Hunt on Wednesday lunchtimes as part of his weekday show. In this format, callers rang in and requested things they had been trying to get hold of, hoping that other listeners had the required items. Although otherwise unrelated to the original concept, the programme opened with the Treasure Hunt television series theme tune, and in August 2007, Anneka Rice recorded a voice-over lead-in for it.


Original series

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 6 January 1983 10 March 1983 10
2 12 January 1984 22 March 1984 11
3 3 January 1985 14 March 1985
4 2 January 1986 20 March 1986 12
5 12 February 1987 14 May 1987 14
6 18 February 1988 19 May 1988
7 16 February 1989 18 May 1989

Revived series

Series Start date End date Episodes
8 16 December 2002 20 December 2002 5
9 14 April 2003 2 August 2003 10


Date Entitle
28 December 1982 Christmas Special
17 March 1983 Series 1 Highlights
5 January 1984 Christmas Special
29 March 1984 Series 2 Highlights
27 December 1984 Christmas Special
5 April 1985 Series Finale Special
30 October 1985 ITV Telethon Special
27 December 1985 Christmas Special
29 May 1988 ITV Telethon Special

List of episodes

1982–1989 version

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 28 December 1982 10 March 1983 11
Episode 1 Bali
Episode 2 Speyside
Episode 3 Suffolk
Episode 4 Powys
Episode 5 Lothian
Episode 6 Wiltshire
Episode 7 London
Episode 8 Isle of Mull
Episode 9 Gloucestershire
Episode 10 Lake District
Episode 11  Singapore
2 5 January 1984 22 March 1984 12
Episode 1 Burgundy
Episode 2 Kent
Episode 3 Guernsey
Episode 4 North Yorkshire
Episode 5 Birmingham
Episode 6 Majorca
Episode 7  Northern Ireland
Episode 8 Cambridgeshire
Episode 9 Cornwall
Episode 10  Malta
Episode 11 Gwynedd
Episode 12 Merseyside
3 27 December 1984 14 March 1985 12
Episode 1  Israel
Episode 2 Warwickshire
Episode 3 South Glamorgan
Episode 4 Norfolk
Episode 5 French Riviera
Episode 6 West Sussex
Episode 7 Somerset
Episode 8 Shropshire
Episode 9 Corfu
Episode 10 Ayrshire
Episode 11 Isle of Wight
Episode 12 Derbyshire
4 27 December 1985 20 March 1986 13
Episode 1 Florida
Episode 2 Clwyd
Episode 3 Oxfordshire
Episode 4 Surrey
Episode 5 Lake District
Episode 6 Bedfordshire
Episode 7 Devon
Episode 8 Stirlingshire
Episode 9 Dorset
Episode 10 North Yorkshire
Episode 11 Nottinghamshire
Episode 12 Pembrokeshire
Episode 13 Cheshire
5 12 February 1987 14 May 1987 14
Episode 1   Switzerland
Episode 2 Jersey
Episode 3 Cornwall
Episode 4 Hampshire
Episode 5 Wiltshire
Episode 6 Hertfordshire
Episode 7  Isle of Man
Episode 8 Buckinghamshire
Episode 9 Lancashire
Episode 10 Gwynedd
Episode 11 Northumberland
Episode 12 Kent
Episode 13 West Highlands
Episode 14 North Yorkshire
6 18 February 1988 19 May 1988 14
Episode 1 Sydney
Episode 2 Suffolk
Episode 3 Lincolnshire
Episode4 West Sussex
Episode 5 West Yorkshire
Episode 6 Buckinghamshire
Episode 7 Scottish Borders
Episode 8 Wiltshire
Episode 9 Staffordshire
Episode 10 Devon
Episode 11 Cotswolds
Episode 12 County Kerry
Episode 13 County Durham
Episode 14 Clwyd
7 16 February 1989 18 May 1989 14
Episode 1  New Zealand
Episode 2 Worcestershire
Episode 3 Devon
Episode 4 Lake District
Episode 5 West Berkshire
Episode 6 Perthshire
Episode 7 East Sussex
Episode 8 Buckinghamshire
Episode 9 Shropshire
Episode 10 Humberside
Episode 11 Somerset
Episode 12 Gwent
Episode 13 South Lancashire
Episode 14 Derbyshire

2002–2003 version

Series Start date End date Episodes
8 16 December 2002 20 December 2002 5
Episode 1 Folkestone, Kent
Episode 2 Canterbury, Kent
Episode 3 The Weald, Kent
Episode 4 Dover, Kent
Episode 5 West Kent, UK
9 14 April 2003 2 August 2003 10
Episode 1 San Francisco
Episode 2 Mexico City
Episode 3 Rotorua
Episode 4 Alice Springs
Episode 5 Melbourne
Episode 6 Arizona
Episode 7 Tasmania
Episode 8 New Orleans
Episode 9 Christchurch
Episode 10 Gold Coast


  1. ^ AAIB Bulletin 09/1995, Air Accidents Investigation Board.
  2. ^
  3. ^ - URL accessed 1 March 2007.
  4. ^ "In pictures: Treasure Quest 06/09/2009".  
  5. ^ "In pictures: Treasure Quest 14/02/2010".  
  6. ^ "Anneka turns up in Treasure Hunt take-off".  

External links

  • Anneka Rice
  • Episode guide — with exhaustive location, clue and crew listings plus helicopter registration letters
  • Treasure Hunt at
  • "Off The Telly" article
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