Perfect Strangers



Adrian Chiles


Jessica Brohn (voiceover)


Celador for BBC Two, 22 January to ? 2007


General knowledge quiz in which strangers are paired up at random to compete as teams, the crux of the show being that no matter how clever you are, you can't win without your partner's help.

Before the show, the eight contestants do a written test to judge how intelligent they are. The contestants then meet each other for the first time on set, paired up beforehand using the traditional "pick numbers out of a hat method". At this point, Adrian tells everyone who the "perfect pair", the team with the highest combined score in the tests is who are the people to watch out for, and the "right pair" (as in "right pair of idiots") who scored the lowest. (None of this has any bearing on the game, mind: it's just for fun.) With that out of the way, it's time for the quiz.

At this point, you notice that the set has been designed inside a large slinky, for no discernible reason.

In round one, general knowledge questions are asked, the first on the buzzer gets to answer it. Both members of the pair must get a question right to progress through to the next round, so it's no good if you've been plonked with a thicko. The first three teams to successfully get both questions right go through to the next round, the final team is eliminated.

Eliminated teams get to do their pieces to camera seperately, which are then intercut together and given a sarcastic voiceover.

Round two is a picture round of sorts. A picture is shown, and two questions are asked of it. When you buzz in, you take one half of the question, but to score a point your partner needs to be able to answer the other half. The first two teams to three points proceed.

The semi-final sees the final two teams battle each other against the clock. There are five categories put up on the category board. Beginning with the team who got through to the round first, they pick a category and then answer alternating questions on it for 90 seconds. They must get as many questions correct as possible, but only their longest chain of consecutive correct answers counts for anything. The other team must then beat it, but they can't pick the category that's already gone. Whichever team gets the longest chain goes through to the money round. For this round, the contestants have to turn and face each other which seems a bit ridiculous.

In the money round, our plucky winners must decide who is going to be wagering the money and who is going to be answering the questions. The contestants stand at opposite ends of the studio, facing away from each other so they can't communicate. The Banker is given £500 to begin with, and gets to see the question, which is always multiple choice with three possible answers. They then decide how much of the money they are willing to wager on the Answerer getting the question right. This happens four times. For the fifth question, the two contestants swap roles, but this time the new Banker only has two options: treble-or-nothing, or walk away with the money banked so far. The decision locked in, the new Answerer then has to give an answer, without knowing if anything is riding on the outcome. Whatever they have left after this question is what they get to take away. If they bet it all each time, there's a potential £24,000 to be won.

A pretty affable show with a pretty affable host.

See also

Weaver's Week review


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