Can We Still be Friends?



Melinda Messenger


LWT for Channel 5, 20 April to 18 August 1999 (15 episodes in 1 series)


Hmm, strange one this. Two recently split-up couples played to win the show's "Star Prize".

To begin with, the two couples played a kind of Mr and Mrs sort of thing (although not exclusively so), two questions each about their partners. The fifth question was based on a shared interest and there were ten points on offer for each question. The losing couple got a Can We Still Be Friends wall clock because (drum roll) "time is the best healer!" Groan.

The couple with the most points went through to part two, and this is where the show got interesting...

In Round Two, the couple now turned against each other. In the middle of the studio was a giant six petal flower, on each petal a name of a round which also happened to be the name of a song. Each player picked a petal from the Flower of Fate (as it were) by pressing a big red button stopping a flashing light. We then heard an excerpt from that song (with accompanying lyrics flashing up on screen). While this was clever the first time around, it soon became annoying and lost any pace the show ever had.

In each round we learned of the players darkest secrets. For example, in "Suspicious Minds" each player was given three statements to read out which could be true or false, such as "I slept with someone else" or suchlike whilst Melinda, The Devil's Advocate, asked lots of questions such as asking who the person was, often with "is he a good friend?" often to be replied with "he was..." and so on.

In "What's the Story?", Melinda would bring out a prop which would relate to a story Confessions style. Typically, each person would get a go at each round so knives could be violently twisted.

Egos battered, the person with the most points went through to the final round, "What do I win?" Three prizes were lined up for the winner. One was something small but nice that they had always wanted (a Playstation or similar). The second prize was invariably a trip for two people on the Eurostar - however, the tickets were non-transferrable and the names of the winner and their ex were on the ticket! The third was the booby prize, usually relating to one of the situations already arisen in the show.

Melinda asked which prize the winner wanted. They invariably picked the star prize. However, then Melinda mentioned that sadly (for them) it was the ex-partner that got to decide the prize for the winner. Aaah! Now Melinda really stuck the shoe in, describing how easy it was to get revenge and stuff.

The show was cheap, tacky and shallow. It was also frequently hilarious, sometimes not always for the right reasons, especially in round two where it got personal. Melinda Messenger actually presented the show rather well, even if she was in perpetual happiness. Her happiness was quite disturbing at times, frankly, with a sort of attitude like: "You slept with somebody else? How could you! Still, three points, not bad..."


The show was devised by John Maloney, who is a stand-up comedian. Shows devised by such people is an increasing trend these days (q.v. Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment, Fluke, and all the Andrew O'Connor shows).


It's fair to say the programme didn't prove too popular with the public - in one particular week it registered a zero rating (i.e. so small it couldn't be measured).

Web links

Channel 5

See also

Was revived in the form of Ex-Rated.


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