The Enemy Within



Nigel Lythgoe


Zenith for BBC One, 25 March to 30 August 2002 (50 episodes in 1 series)


Imagine a game show where one of the contestants is a liar and cheat whose aim is to bring the rest of the contestants down. Well, that's The Mole. Funnily enough, The Enemy Within is a bit like The Mole but in quiz form. You see, one of the contestants has been sent all the questions and answers a week earlier. The other contestant's job is to work out which one of them is... the Mole, sorry, the Enemy. And it's important they do just that otherwise the Enemy wins all the prize money everyone has accumulated. So, it's a quiz with psychological elements. It's hosted by long-serving producer "Nasty" Nigel Lythgoe, and devised by Mr Catchword himself Paul Coia. Blimey!

Image:Enemywithin nigellythgoe promo.jpgNigel: not the enemy

The set is diamond shaped with some rather nice holographic-esque screens behind Nigel which don't actually display very much but look very futuristicy. In fact 'futuristicy' is the best way to describe the set, with lots of criss-cross lights which make up the floor and the background can change colour at will (but it's usually white). The audience sit behind Nigel. The contestants sit opposite. Nigel seems to read his questions off some refracted glass, a bit like Bob on The 64,000 Question. The music is similarly commendably futuristicy and bleepy - well done to Paul Farrer for making it better than Shafted.

Before the first round, each player gives a short filmed eulogy on the virtues of cheating whilst various bits of personal information flash up on screen before being asked [dramatic music]: Are you the enemy? To which the obvious answer is "no Nigel I'm not." Luckily no-one seems to have been caught out by that question yet although Nigel will often point out that certain people said it rather nervously.

Whilst we're on the subject we must just point out now that we really like Nasty Nigel as host. This is mainly due to his antagonistic tendencies but in a different way to Anne Robinson. In a show about paranoia he's very good at pointing the finger at people whenever they get difficult questions right or buzz in a little bit too quickly. He also quite humorously relates anecdotes throughout the show (i.e. "dirt") the researchers have dug up on our contestants to reveal their moral fibres. This is all done in an objective way rather than a sneering way but he'll continue to press points until a half decent response has been given.

Round one very simply gives each person three questions for £25 each. Wrong answers are thrown across for a bonus but only once. The contestants don't know any of the scores until the final round but after each round Nige will tell them who is currently winning.

Round two is a buzzer round with each question being worth £50. Wrong answers are thrown across.

At this point Nigel asks each player their preliminary thoughts on who they think the Enemy is.

In round three each person gets three questions on a certain subject which has been chosen for them which might be very good for them or might not be. Wrong answers are thrown across for a bonus, each one worth £75.

The fourth and final round is on the buzzers again with the first question being worth £100 and each correct answer increasing the value of the next question by £25. Obviously The Enemy wants as much money in play as possible but simultaneously they don't want to give themselves away.

At the end of this round all the cash totals are revealed but that might be the closest any of them will get to their money for now is the time of the reckoning. Just who is the Enemy? First the audience vote for our interest. However, it's the contestant that have to do the business - find the enemy via a majority vote. If it's a split decision, the audience has the casting vote whether the contestants like it or not.

Finally it's time for The Enemy to stand up in a blaze of white light. Gasp! If the Enemy has gone undetected then he or she proves that it pays to cheat and it pays everybody's prize money (around £3,000). If, however, the contestants are very good and they spot the enemy then not only do they keep their cash but they split the Enemy's winnings between them.

It's interesting how we can talk about the direction of the show more than we can the actual game isn't it? And that's because at heart it's just a bog standard quiz. But it's done very nicely with the show's direction and overall riddle stopping it from ever being dull. There's a bit of a problem with game balance we think, because there are so many ways of playing the role of the Enemy they tend to win a bit too much. Surely the best strategy for the Enemy is not to read the answers you've been sent at all and just play it as a straight quiz? There's no real incentive for the Enemy to answer any of the questions either which makes a bit of a mockery of having all the answers in the first place really - they'll either win everyone's cash or none at all.

Therefore, the main killer stopping this being a really great is that there's no major incentive for the Enemy to get many of the questions right, as they'll win their opponents' money by hanging back. Maybe winning 5 times their score would be fairer? On the upside, the techy set is fab and Nigel is a real star.

All this considered, it's an entertaining half hour show which also has the clever idea of opening phone lines during the show as a novel twist on viewer phone in competitions. The people at home ring in and try to guess who the Enemy is. All references to this phone game is cunningly taken out of the repeats.

Sadly, the programme wasn't recommissioned but an Israeli producer has asked us if they could buy the international rights (we passed the email on). The Enemy Within in Israel. Now there's a concept...


"(contestant's name), are you the enemy?"

"Who is the enemy?"

"Will the real enemy please stand up?"


The former game show host, Paul Coia


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