Chain Letters (1)
Chain Letters (2)
ITV, 7 September 1987 - 6 July 1990
2 January 1995 - 25 April 1997
Run time
30 Minutes
Jeremy Beadle (1987–1988)
Andrew O'Connor (1988–1989)
Allan Stewart (1989–1990)
Ted Robbins (1995)
Vince Henderson (1996)
Dave Spikey (1997)
City Road Studios, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Chain Letters was a game show from the United Kingdom.

Game FormatEdit

Three contestants competed to win money by changing letters in words to form new words

Round 1 - Chain LettersEdit

The first round was entitled Chain Letters (Make a Chain in the final series). Each contestant was given a hidden four-letter word (from a choice of four) and 45 seconds to make as many changes as possible, with prize money of £5 offered for every new word made. All words in the Chambers English Dictionary were permitted (or the Longman Dictionary of the English Language in early series), though proper nouns and plurals were not. A contestant was not allowed to make two consecutive changes in the same letter position. For example, a contestant, having changed BALL to HALL, would then not be permitted to change HALL to CALL, FALL, et cetera.

Round 2 - Booby TrapEdit

Round two was entitled the Booby Trap round. Each contestant was invited to choose one of four four-letter words, followed by a letter in the word that they would like to change. The opposing contestants would then secretly predict on an electronic pad the word that they think the contestant is going to change to. If the contestant in play changes into a word which none of their opponents have predicted, they win £10. The contestant then makes another change to another word, and so on - winning double the amount of the previous win (only £10 additional in latter series) with each subsequent change (Players may only make a maximum of 3 changes for a total of £40 (£30 in the last 2 series)). However, if a contestant is caught out with a word one of their opponents picked (the booby trap), that opponent wins the at-stakes money instead. In case of a tie or if the contestant in control gave an illegal word, both opponents get the money. The contestant in play could also choose to stop if they thought the word could not be changed any further or the next word would be the booby trap.

Round 3 (1995–1997)Edit

A third round was added in the revival of Chain Letters in 1995 and would eventually involve two different formats.

Chaingang (1995)Edit

One contestant was given a four-letter word and must change that word into a new word, which is then given to the next contestant in line who must change that word into another new word, and so on for one minute total time. £5 offered for every new word made and £5 lost if the new word was unacceptable. However, if the new word could not be changed by both opponents, the contestant who created the word won a £10 bonus and was given a new word.

Add a Letter (1996–1997)Edit

Each contestant was given a three-letter word by Wordsworth, the computer. Each contestant must change that word into a new word using all the letters in the current word plus one new letter, in any position, at a time. £10 was offered for every new word made. (Players may make up to a maximum seven-letter word for a total of £40). If the new word was unacceptable, the contestant's turn ends. The contestant in play could also choose to stop if they thought the word could not be changed any further.

Final Round - Tie the LeaderEdit

The final round involved (in the initial set-up) a five-letter word with a plus sign (+) to the left side of the word and a minus sign (-) to the right side. The host then asked cryptic crossword-type clues to which the answer was a new word, with only one letter difference from the previous answer. Each letter needing to be changed was highlighted by Wordsworth. However, the answer would be a longer word (up to 5 letters) when the plus sign was highlighted, or a shorter word (down to 3 letters) when the minus sign was highlighted. Contestants competed on the buzzers to win £10, £20, £40 (£30 in the last 2 series), or tie the leader and match the leading player's score, depending on when the buzzer was pressed. If the answer was incorrect, the question was then offered to the opposing contestants.

Only the contestant with the highest amount of money at the end of the final round was declared the winner and went on to compete in the bonus round. The other contestants going home with the money they had accumulated up to that point.

Bonus Round - SuperchainEdit

In the Superchain, the show-winner was given a four-letter word and one minute of time. Wordsworth would highlight one of the letters within the word, inviting the show-winner to change the letter and make a new word. If the show-winner could not change the letter, they can say “pass” and the computer would highlight a different letter. Each acceptable change was worth £50, and ten changes within one minute won £1,000.


This show started out as an 1985 American pilot hosted by Jim Peck.

International VersionsEdit



Episode StatusEdit


Theme LyricsEdit

By Mike Moran

Take a Word...
Change a Letter...
Do It Again...
And You've Got a Chain!
That's How You Pla-a-a-ay Chain Letters!
Chain Letters!


Chain Letters @
Game Show Memories - Chain Letters