3-2-1 (1978–1987)

TV Series  -   -  Game-Show
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.7/10 from 45 users  
Reviews: 8 user

Three couples compete in a missing word game, with the winning couple going on to solve riddles left by guest performers to win prizes and avoid Dusty Bin's booby prize.

0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 231 titles
created 14 Nov 2011
list image
a list of 67 titles
created 28 Jul 2012
a list of 49 titles
created 23 Feb 2013

Related Items

Search for "3-2-1" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: 3-2-1 (1978–1987)

3-2-1 (1978–1987) on IMDb 5.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of 3-2-1.

User Polls




10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1987   1986   1985   1984   … See all »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

When the single mother nurse Gloria has financial difficulties, her colleague and friend Dr. Ana Torres invites her to move with her six year-old daughter Vicky to her old big house where ... See full summary »

Director: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador
Stars: Nieve de Medina, Montse Mostaza, Alejandra Lorenzo
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A cop chases two hippies suspected of a series of Manson family-like murders; unbeknownst to him, the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a thirst for human flesh by chemical pesticides being used by area farmers.

Director: Jorge Grau
Stars: Cristina Galbó, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A newlywed couple are passing through a vacation resort. Their paths cross with a mysterious, strikingly beautiful countess and her aide.

Director: Harry Kümel
Stars: Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Danielle Ouimet
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In the 19th century, a sadistic nobleman terrorizes the members of his family. He is found dead, but his ghost soon returns to haunt the residents of his castle.

Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Daliah Lavi, Christopher Lee, Tony Kendall
Rampage (1987)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Liberal district attorney decides to seek the death penalty for a man who slaughtered a family at Christmastime, then drank their blood. He escapes, though, and starts killing again.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Michael Biehn, Alex McArthur, Nicholas Campbell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young trapeze artist must decide between her lust for Sergio, the Happy Clown, or her affection for Javier, the Sad Clown, both of whom are deeply disturbed.

Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Stars: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

The original surreal sketch comedy showcase for the Monty Python troupe.

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Sorcerer (1977)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous South American jungle.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal
Documentary | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: John Das
Stars: Mark Gatiss, Dario Argento, Fabrizio Bava


Series cast summary:
Ted Rogers ...
 Himself - Host (149 episodes, 1978-1987)
Chris Emmett ...
 Himself / ... (62 episodes, 1978-1986)


Three couples compete in a missing word game, with the winning couple going on to solve riddles left by guest performers to win prizes and avoid Dusty Bin's booby prize.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

One three, Two  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


Was a fixture of the ITV schedules in the immediate aftermath of the industrial dispute which saw the channel's almost total shutdown from August to October 1979, as it was one of the few series the network had which were stockpiled for quick and easy transmission. See more »


Referenced in No 73: Hold This (1986) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Variety is no longer a spice of life
30 April 2007 | by (Coventry, England) – See all my reviews

3-2-1 was the cornerstone of ITV's programming from the late 1970's and throughout the 1980's. Saturday night prime time had been dominated for years by Bruce Forsythe's 'Generation Game', but in 1978, 3-2-1 became the 'New Kid On The Block' sweeping all it's rivals aside.

The show's name was derived from the fact that over the course of the hour long show, three teams, usually made up of middle aged married couples, were slowly, (and I mean painfully slowly), whittled down to just one, who would then be on course to win a prize.

These prizes would range from a new tin dustbin (wrapped in a ribbon that was probably worth more), to a brand new Family car, which was usually either a Ford Fiesta or an Austin Metro.

Host Ted Rodgers's long running gimmick was his dexterous and lightning-fast hand signal which he unleashed every time he dared to utter the shows moniker, whereby he would start with three digits extended, twist his wrist and lower one of the fingers and twist back till only one digit remained.

The shows always started with Ted punching out a few 'funnies' with his now hopelessly out-dated holiday camp style humour before he finally revealed the theme for that particular evening's show at which point they would wheel out the shows mascot named 'Dusty Bin' who was adorned in costume associated with the evenings theme such as Circus theme = Ringmaster costume or Pirate theme = Long John Silver costume. You get the point. The 'loveable' Dusty Bin mascot was in fact a metaphor for the show's oft won booby prize of the new dustbin previously mentioned.

After the 'near-to-death' aged audience had retained their composure after being subjected to Ted's 'hilarious' jokes, Ted would then give overly long introductions to the three teams with which he would usually engage into harmless and indeed humourless banter such as:

Ted: "You Met on a Ferris Wheel?" Mrs A: "Yes I was on the top he was on the bottom" Ted: "Something's Don't Change then do they Ha Ha?" Audience: chuckle, guffaw, giggle, snore.

After the introductions were completed, a general knowledge quiz would ensue with £10 given for each correct answer. The questions were usually word associated for example:

Ted: "I'll give you the first name of a Football Team, and you have to complete it's full title, for instance I say Leyton, you say Orient"

In the 2nd round of the quiz, the prize money for each correct answer was raised, and then followed another round of similar structured questions, albeit a little harder.

After this 2nd round, the team with lowest amount of money was booted off with the money they have won and a ceramic Dusty Bin figurine, (which are now considered valuable collectors items as they are the only items given away on the show that didn't depreciate).

In the next round, the two remaining couples were subjected to arse-clenchingly awful variety acts such as comedians, magicians and singers, all of whom were either wannabies that neverdid or hasbeens that neverwere. However, once in a while the producers would secure an artist will real appeal such as Ken Dodd or Les Dawson who would turn up and give the now arthritic audience their only genuine laugh of the evening.

When each artist had completed their skit, they would return to a podium to the awaiting contestants and host, on which, they would deposit an object then read a MENSA style cryptic riddle about it that when deciphered, would hopefully give some indication of the prize the object represented.

After three objects were on the table, each couple chose an item they wanted to reject hoping it may be the dustbin. Ted would then ask a lengthy general knowledge question and the first couple who 'buzzed in' with the correct answer would go through to the final round, with the losers going home with their quiz money, ceramic Dusty Bin, a consolation prize and of course their fond memories of the evening.

Ted would then go on to reject the winning couple's chosen object by explaining how the cryptic clue was supposed to logically lead the contestants to it's associated prize, though he always seem to make the clue MORE confusing with his absurd explanations.

The final couple would then be subjected to further torture in the form of two more Variety acts, which more often than not, included the dance act 'The Brian Rodgers Connection', between each act a further object on the podium was dispatched. This continued until all the acts had completed their turn, and all but one of the remaining objects had been rejected, with the last remaining object being the prize that the couple will eventually take home.

It's sadistic I know, but I loved seeing the perspiration on the contestant's brows when only two items remained and the bin had yet to be rejected.

3-2-1 was a product of it's time and would not stand up well in today's gazillion channel media world, but back in it's day when we only 3 or later 4 channels to choose from, it was the lesser of all the evils dished out to us on Saturday nights.

I quote Writer Mark Hellinger's opening statement from 'The Roaring Twenties':

"Bitter or sweet, most memories become precious with the passage of time"

I think that the above quote applies to 3-2-1 more than any other TV show of the era, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Nostalgia rules OK. Enjoy.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why are you here? shizou666
Discuss 3-2-1 (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page