This is the first of a six part series, leading up to Andrew B appearing as a contestant on Letters & Numbers Thursday April 12, 2012.
I attended one of the first auditions in Sydney, back in June 2010 – two months before the show would air on SBS ONE. Those who attended the auditions then were made up of a mix of people who regularly auditioned for game shows, scrabble enthusiasts, and the like.
Apart from viewing the UK and French shows online, noone knew what the show would be like. At the audition, we were told about eh exact format of the Australian version – five letters rounds, three numbers rounds and a conundrum round. For those who have not seen the show, read and view more here: sbs.com.au/lettersandnumbers
When we were told there were no cash prizes – just a Macquarie Dictionary – which is the “house” dictionary or source document that governs what words are allowed on the show – you could hear a collective sigh from the people attending the audition.
At the audition, there was a test made up of a several letters, number and conundrum rounds, performed in the style of the show – that is, you had 30 seconds to give an answer. Like any TV show audition, there was also the lengthy form to fill out telling all about yourself.
Soon after completing the test, attendees were called one by one for a face to face interview and a photo. The test results, the form and the photo then go onto the producers to decide who ends up on the show.
Letters and Numbers premiered on SBS ONE at 6pm Monday August 2, 2010. With the exception of a break in July 2011 for SBS’s cycling coverage, it has aired at the that timeslot ever since, as well as having a repeat episode at 3pm weekdays, which one week behind the 6pm episode.
The first two seasons of Letters and Numbers were produced by Shine Australia. Since season three, Letters & Numbers has been an in-house production made completely by SBS.
Letters & Numbers is now in its fifth season, and attracts a nightly audience of around 150,000 (OzTam five city metro).