Un, dos, tres... responda otra vez

Un, dos, tres... responda otra vez
Un dos tres logo and Ruperta the Pumpkin.jpg
Show's mascot (Ruperta the Pumpkin) and Logo.
GenreGame show
Created byNarciso Ibáñez Serrador
Directed byNarciso Ibáñez Serrador
Presented byKiko Ledgard [es]
Mayra Gómez Kemp
Jordi Estadella
Miriam Díaz Aroca
José María Bachs [es]
Luis Roderas [es]
Country of originSpain
Original language(s)Spanish
No. of seasons10
No. of episodes411
Running time90 minutes / 120 minutes
Production company(s)Televisión Española / Prointel
Original networkProduction website

Un, dos, tres... responda otra vez (English: One, two, three... respond again), usually shortened as Un, dos, tres..., and named Un, dos, tres... a leer esta vez (English: One, two, three... reading this time) in its last season, was a Spanish prime-time television game show, created by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, which was broadcast on La Primera Cadena of Televisión Española for ten seasons from 1972 to 2004.

It became the most famous game show in the history of television in Spain and it was the first television show format exported outside Spain, with versions aired in the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.


Narciso (alias Chicho) Ibáñez Serrador created the show as a mixture of different traditional game show formats. It included a quiz show as the first round (called the question round), a physical competition as the second round (called the elimination round), and a luck and psychological game as the third round (called the auction). The show derives its name from these three parts (un, dos, tres means "one, two, three"). Contestants consisted of three couples and each episode had a theme focused on a specific topic, such as the French Revolution or the Far West.

The contestants would be cheered on by a "positive" cast of characters who wanted them to win as much money and prizes as possible; and opposed by a "negative" cast, which wanted contestants to lose. The notion of having people actively rooting against contestants was innovative for Spanish television, something that had never been tried before this show.

The "positive" cast consisted of the host of the show and a team of six to eight beautiful girls who served as the host's assistants, called secretaries. The secretaries usually wore sexy uniforms or costumes that reflected the theme of the episode (for instance, they might dress as cowgirls for an episode about the "Far West"). No matter their costumes, the secretaries usually wore a pair of glasses with large round frames, one of the show's trademarks.

The "negative" cast consisted of characters from a fictional town called Tacañón del Todo (English: Complete Misers). As the name of the town suggests, they were misers and didn't want the contestants to earn any money. They were puritanical and disapproved the secretaries' sexy clothing. They were also pedant and complained about the contestants' lack of knowledge. The most important of these characters were Don Cicuta and Las Tacañonas (English: The Miser Ladies).

The question round

In the first part of the show, a secretary would hand each couple of contestants a tray full of envelopes in turn. The contestants were to choose one and give it to the host. The envelope contained a multiple-answer question which the host read to the contestants and gave an example (like: "Name some fruits like, for example, an apple."). The couple then, after the host said "Un, dos, tres... responda otra vez" (English: "One, two, three... respond again"), had to obey the inquiry and "respond again", that is, they had to repeat the given example as the first answer, and then give as many answers as they could within a maximum time of 45 seconds.

Contestants had to answer alternately and could not repeat an answer that had already been given before, either by them or their partner. Additionally, the rules encouraged contestants to be as specific as possible (for instance, if a contestant answered a generic "berry" to the above question, it would be valid, but after that they could not mention specific varieties of berries, such as "strawberry" or "blueberry" as it would be counted as a repetition). Additional rules were added for some questions. When a contestant gave a mistaken or repeated answer, a member of the negative cast stopped the clock immediately and the couple's time was over. From the third season, the contestant who did not have the turn to answer could mime to help the other contestant if they got stuck. Contestants were given a certain amount of money for each correct answer. The accountant secretary was in charge of sum and announce the money won in each question.

There were three questions for each couple with an increasing level of difficulty. In the show's first three seasons, couples were given 25 pesetas for each correct answer for the first question. From the fourth season onward, a slot machine determined the random amount of money for that in every episode. In the second question the couples were given the amount won in the first question for each correct answer. And in the third question the couples were given the amount won in the second question for each correct answer.

When all the questions were done, the couple with the highest amount of money became champions and returned the following episode and the other two couples went on to the second part of the show. In the last episode of every season and in special self-contained episodes with no regular contestants, as Christmas specials with children or charity specials with celebrities, the two couples with the highest amount of money went on to the second part of the show and the couple with the smallest amount of money left the show.

The elimination round

Elimination round from the episode dedicated to New York, broadcast on 30 September 1983. There was a large structure decorated like the Empire State Building, with King Kong on the background and a steep with a string. On the top of the building there were the female members of the couples, and the male members had to climb the slope to reach the top. The female members would throw liquids to their respective rivals to try and make them slip and make them more difficult to climb. The winner would be the couple whose male member would reach the top first, and if no one managed it on the specified time, the winner would be the one who had reached the highest height.

The elimination round was a physical competition that changed each week according to the episode's theme. For example, contestants might be required to fill wine glasses sitting on a tray and then slide down a slide, and the winner would be the couple with the highest amount of liquid accumulated in a jar, or they might be required to climb structures like buildings, strings or poles faster than their rivals, or they could also have to wear clothes of the opposite sex and walk through a cat walk in front of a jury that would vote the funniest couple. On the tenth season, the elimination round would be replaced by a round of questions about the book of the week and the winners would be the couple with the highest amount of correct answers. The winning couple would go on the third part of the show.

The consolation game

In the first season and also in the first months of the second and third season, the couple losing the elimination round went home only with the amount earned on the question round. This was changed during the second season, when the consolation game was introduced. Up until the fifth season, the consolation game was a board game, usually involving the use of giant dices and a big board, where moving the tab to certain square and answering certain question or performing certain task would give money to the contestants. They could also lose money from the question round if they did not have luck, and usually there was a goal in the game which if reached gave the contestants a jackpot that was increased each week it was not won. All board games were dedicated to the mascot of the show, and home versions of these games were commercially released so that people could play at home. From the last three episodes of the fifth season onward, a change was made in the style of the games. They were no longer typical board games but luck games attached to certain sponsor. These games were more simple in their rules (usually simply choosing some numbers or letters from the sponsor's name), but the potential prizes were drastically increased. In many episodes the couple in the consolation game eventually won a much better prize than the one who had won the elimination round at the end of the Auction.

The auction

The longest and most well-known part of the show was the auction. The host and the contestants stood next to the audience behind a table from where they saw everything that happened. The auction usually began with the host introducing a theatrical set specifically built in front of the audience according to the theme of the week, where a Broadway-like musical number related to that topic was performed by the secretaries, who sang and performed different choreographed dances. There were also comedic sketches and performances by famous artists next to the table, as well as other surprises. After each performance was finished, an object related to the theme was taken to the table. Each object had a card attached to it, which had a text that could be related to the object or the performance where it came from. The host was allowed to read a part of the text, until they stopped midway with a phrase that became iconic in Spain, "y hasta aquí puedo leer" (English: "and I can read only until this point").

This would continue until there were three objects on the table. As there could not be more than three objects, the contestants had to discard one in order to continue with the game. When an item was discarded, the host would read the complete card, including the text beyond the point where they had stopped earlier, revealing a prize the contestants had passed up. The show went on like that, watching performances, bringing a new object, discarding another one and losing a prize, until the show was over and there were three final objects on the table. At this point, the host could ask the contestants to discard two objects at once, or one by one, and they would keep a final object which would contain the prize they had won. Prizes ranged from cars, apartments, travels, money, jewels... to thousands of matches, used tyres and bottles of laxative (a couple of contestants even ended up winning their own tombs on a cemetery of their choice).

Some cards could contain more than one prize, some times, a booby prize at the beginning followed by marvelous or even worse prizes. In those cases, the host could let the contestants keep the object after revealing the first booby prize to reject another prize on the table, in the hope that the following unknown prize would be good. An example of a card with this system is this one, from a 1991 episode dedicated to the Stock Exchange, found in a newspaper about the Great Crash:

In a program dedicated to the stock exchange, there could not fail to be a mention to the terrific fall of the American stock exchange in 1929, the famous Great Crash (Crack in Spanish) that sank economy in the United States...[end of clue]...The same way there had to be a reference to the Crash of 1929, in "Un, dos, tres", we are also forced to remember that in the past season, one of our mascots had exactly that name, El Crack... and here you've got it!...[pause]... El Crack was the negative mascot in our previous season. But, since in this season the symbol of negativity is monopolized by Ruperta, this Crack has no more mission than to serve as decoration in... This wonderful apartment![1]

Sometimes, however, an object's card would contain a gambling game. In those gambling games, the contestants could win different amounts of money or other prizes. The host was usually allowed to reveal when an object had a game attached to it, as long as they did not reveal the rules, which remained secret if the game was discarded, because some unused games were recycled for future programs.

Even when the contestants had the last object on the table, the game was still not over. At that point, the game started that gave this segment its name: the auction. The host would begin to offer money to the contestants in exchange for the prize, raising the amount if the contestants said no, until they reached the top offer. When the host reached the top offer or the contestants decided to accept the money, the prize they had won or lost was revealed.

Any imaginable prize could appear on the show, and no prize was guaranteed to appear at all, except one prize that the rules stated had to appear in at least one of the objects: the show's mascot. There were different mascots through different seasons, normally associated with a booby prize. Sometimes, though, the mascot had extra prizes attached to it, so it was not always bad. There also were some seasons where there was a couple of mascots, one of them good and the other bad. In those seasons, winning the good mascot meant choosing any prize from that episode, and winning the bad mascot meant going home only with a doll of the mascot. When there were a good and a bad mascot on the same season, only the presence of one of them was forced, and the contestants wouldn't know which one of them was going to appear on the show. Sometimes, though, both could appear on the same episode, and they could even appear as prizes inside a game.

There was one basic rule for the host. The contestants could make all the questions they wanted, and the host was not allowed to say a single falsehood. They could refuse to answer, and also could not say the whole truth, that is, they could omit context or hide some valuable data, but everything they said had to be true. For example, the host could explain a gambling game like this:

You have a lottery hype full of balls. You have to choose eight numbers from 1 to 12, and then you can extract up to 6 balls. The first extracted number that coincides with a number you chose earlier will be rewarded with 250,000 pesetas, and the following hits will each one multiply by 2 the money, meaning that you can win up to 8 million pesetas. But if the ball with the number 13 gets out, you will lose all your money. You can stop whenever you want.

And the contestants would indeed stop before getting their 6 numbers from the hype, in fear of getting the ball 13 as the chances were increasing. But then, when the game was over, the host would reveal that, certainly, the contestants would have lost if the ball 13 had come out... but there was no ball 13 in the hype.[2]