When Letters & Numbers first premiered on SBS ONE, I couldn’t wait to play the game. We would record the show each night, so we could play later once our two children were asleep. Attempting to play while the kids were around – a 1 and 4 year old at the time – was impossible!
In playing back, soon after the kids were in bed, my wife – Alicia B and I – had pen and paper on hand and gave ourselves unlimited time to answer each of the rounds. At first, Alicia hated the show – but within days, it grew on her – to the point where playing Letters & Numbers became a regular part of our nights.
We found, however, while giving ourselves unlimited time to answer each of the rounds allowed us to usually get the longest words, and usually find a solution to the numbers rounds, playing the show was taking up a long time each night, eating into time to watch other shows.
We soon realised, the only way to do the show, was to allow the same 30 seconds that contestants have to give a solution to each round.
Alicia and I started scoring ourselves, the same way it is done on the show. At first, I would win most of the numbers rounds, but as Alicia got used to the game, she soon caught up. Alicia would usually find the longer words in the beginning, but, as I got used to playing the game, I caught up there too.
Now, over four seasons and more than 400 episodes in, we come very close to each other. We both have our good and bad nights. Alicia wins sometimes, I win sometimes. We have ties as well. Both of us are not that good at conundrums!
Late 2010, a new round of auditions were held in Sydney. Alicia decided to attend, and have a crack at playing the show for real.
Soon after, she received the call to be part of the show.
Letters & Numbers s recorded in Melbourne, at the ABC studios on Gordon St. The show uses the same studio as Spicks and Specks used to, as well as other popular ABC shows made in Melbourne.
Alicia’s show was record in February 2011, and aired May 10, 2011. She played against a contestant called Andre (yep – Andrew without the “w”!) who went on to be a six night champion. She, at the time, had the highest losing score ever on the show – at 53 points. That episode was one of the best of season two.