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Tennis, Elbow, Foot

by Kit
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The Tennis Elbow Foot Game BBC TV title graphics designed by Bernard Lodge.

This is name of a game show aired on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Home Service between 1966 and 1968 and then as a TV programme (1,2). It’s a word association game played between two teams/panels in which the host would give the starting word and then the first panellist would need to come up with an associated word (Eg Tennis –> Elbow (as in Tennis Elbow). The round would then pass to the first panellist on the opposing team to come up with the next association, but based on the last word (eg Elbow –> Foot (as both parts of the body)). Players had a time limit in which to come up with an associated word and also be prepared to convince the host of the word association. Tim Worthing (2) comments that the game was played very much like a tennis match with participants batting the linked words between them in time to a bleeping loop which sped up. Scoring was also as in tennis using games, set and match.

It was brought to my attention by an ex-pupil and eventual teacher at Streatham Secondary School, later to become Rosa Bassett School a school famous for supporting the Dalton Plan, who commented they often used it and apart from it being fun, found it useful in all sorts of situations. The simplicity of the game certainly lends to variations which would be useful pedagogically, such as limiting word associations to within a subject area and it needed be played as between two teams but could easily be a non-team format from one individual to another.

The Tennis, Elbow, Knee game is stated as being invented by David Hatch with Norman Hackforth (1,2). Graphics by Bernard Lodge (3)

  1. http://www.ukgameshows.com/ukgs/The_Tennis_Elbow_Foot_Game,
  2. https://timworthington.org/2024/05/07/the-tennis-elbow-foot-game/
  3. https://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/bbc-motion-graphics-archive/tennis-elbow-foot-game-1968

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