Australian Game Shows Wiki
Alister McHarg (1964)
Richard Wilkins (1992–1993)
Craig Huggins (1992–1993)
Broadcast (Nine Network)
McHarg Era: 2 March – 5 June 1964
Wilkins Era: 30 November 1992 – 26 February 1993
Grundy Productions

Keynotes was a musical television game show.

The Australian version originally aired in 1964 hosted by Alister McHarg and then revived in 1992 as Sale of the Century’s summer replacement on the Nine Network, hosted by Richard Wilkins.


1964 Version[]

Not much is known about this version (except for the fact that it was described as a "musical quiz" hosted by Scottish singer Alistair McHarg (who had moved to Australia)), and it is not known if any of the episodes still exist, given the wiping of the era.

1992–1993 Version[]

The show was revived in 1992 as Sale of the Century’s summer replacement series on the Nine Network, hosted by Richard Wilkins.

According to the host, the aim of the game was for "two teams of players (one coloured pink and are the champions, the other coloured blue and are the challengers), to try to put the right words in the right songs and see how well they can follow the bouncing ball to solve our puzzle song."

Main Game[]

A series of nine squares were presented, with each square hiding a note in a "familiar" tune. The host gave the teams Notes 1, 5, and 9 in all three rounds; starting in Series 2, Note 7 was added as well in Round 3.

A member of each team would join the host at the central podium, where they had three coloured buttons (red, blue & yellow) each. A card was randomly selected from the host, which represented the note which was set to be revealed. Three words attached to that number were provided. These words represented the next word in a given tune. The contestant who was quickest to select the correct word after hearing the start of this tune was given the note represented by that selected card. If neither contestant could select the correct word, the note would go in as a blank and two new players would be brought up to play for two keynotes (and so on).

The team that the winning representative came from then had the opportunity to guess the main tune (as shown to the home viewers) by listening to the already-revealed notes and following the rhythm of the bouncing ball. If the team could correctly name the tune, they won the round and received a cash prize which doubled for each new round. If not, the round continued, rotating through the various members of both teams. If neither of the teams could work out the song before all nine notes were revealed, then the prize for that round was lost and the players would go on to the next round.

Here are the values for each round:

  • Round 1 – $300
  • Round 2 – $600
  • Round 3 – $1,200

Correctly identifying all three tunes won $2,100.

The team with the most money after the third round won the game and went on to play for double their main game cash winnings.

Bonus Round[]

The winning team had to attempt to uncover the nine notes of the final tune over the course of 30 seconds, by using a buzzer to stop a random flashing light in order to choose a note, and then picking the correct word, as in the main rounds. However, the final tune was only played once at the end of the 30 seconds. If any of the questions representing the notes were not answered correctly within the time limit, they would not be revealed in the playing of the final tune. If the team could correctly identify the final tune, they won a gift certificate from Chandler's (a now-defunct Australian electronics store) worth double their front game winnings.

Teams could stay on the show for up to five nights and if they succeeded in surviving that long, they also won a holiday in Vanuatu.


The sound the randomizing puzzle board made when it flashed was also used on the American version of Sale of the Century and the Magic Number Game on The Price is Right.

The 1990s version was repeated from 2000 to 2008, in celebration of Grundy's 40th anniversary.


YouTube Links[]

Promo for "Keynotes" from 1992
General Episode
Another Episode