Weaver's Week 2001-03-06

Weaver's Week Index

6th March 2001

Iain Weaver reviews the latest happenings in UK Game Show Land.


Universities, we have a challenge for you. It's worth a piece of cut glass.

In the third UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE quarter-final, Balliol Oxford takes on Hull. Balliol's tactic - knowing all the answers - has paid off in the opening rounds. Hull has scraped through by margins of 20 and 10. With my record for bad tips on the line, I reckon Balliol by 50.

It's a one-man show, as Bayley (Balliol) gets three of the first four starters; the other went to Hull. Then it all falls apart; Bayley loses his touch, Hull get some lucky decisions, and we're tied at 70, then Hull has a lead of 20, then of 40. The shock is on.

Hull keeps a 20 point cushion through the third quarter, thanks to Bayley confusing Newark NJ with Gotham. Hull's tactic of getting starters right but bonuses wrong helps to run down the clock, and prevents the opponents from scoring.

Though Balliol gets one starter, it's just too late. The all-Oxford final is off, and Hull makes the semis.

Box scores Person (starter) total

BALLIOL OXFORD (18 bonuses)

Lipetz 5 (25)

Bayley 60 (93)

Strathdene 0 (18)

Clark 5 (24)

HULL (19 bonuses)

Shepperson-10 ( 9)

Clamp 50 (74)

Crawford 50 (77)

Purbrick 25 (50)

BO 65 25 35 35 = 160

HU 30 80 45 55 = 210


TOUCH THE TRUCK, Channel 5's attempt to bridge the gap between the sublime brilliance of The Mole and -- well, keep reading. Dale Winton hosts from the Lakeside centre, Thurrock. Kick off on Sunday night, review in next week's Weaver's Week.

Coming later on Channel 5: GREED. Fox's spoiler to US-Millionaire makes it to the UK, and is to be hosted by Jerry Springer. Hmm. You get "The Weakest Link" hosted by sober journalist and completely uncontroversial Anne Robinson, we get "Greed" with polite talk show host Jerry Springer. I'm not sure who else they could have got for the job, given that Nasty Nick is busy with a new run of TRUST ME. Premium rate qualification - 0901 560 5555 - at 50p per minute is still cheaper than UK Millionaire.

Now running on Channel 4 and BBC ONE, CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER. Which C-list celebs will be thrown out of the house? Who will raise loads of money for Comic Relief? Which member of the house isn't playing as a member of the team? Why Anthea Turner?


Anne Robinson gets in hot water after taking a position against the Welsh on entertainment show ROOM 101, where celebs consign items they loath and detest to Orwell's Worst Room In The World. The comic moment has given some non-entity politicians a chance to show just how piss-poor their impressions of the *real* red dragon are. The police have opened a file under race relations law. Something like "hothead moaning minnies waste police time." Repeat of Anne's rant on BBC TWO Sunday night. Anne's also come under attack from Esther Rantzen (passed over for Anne's job on consumer show WATCHDOG) and Vanessa Feltz (dropped from daytime tv to make way for (T)WL and now in CELEB BIG BROTHER.)

More tellingly, I've heard the first radio commercial that purports to rip off (T)WL. Double glazing, naturally, featuring a woman quizzing a man about the special deals on offer this millennium only. I could tell it was a (T)WL rip off by the synthesised strings in the background, and that the lady says "Goodbye" at the end of the ad. On a scale 0-10, rate -3.


The statistics don't lie. Assigning points to performances on each of the challenges shows that David clearly underperformed throughout, and became the least valuable surviving player during week 6 (the interrogation.) Sara was clearly the MVP of the team, with Ollie the runner up, mainly thanks to their joint success in the maze in week 3. Of the last three, Zi contributed far more than Jen, with David only a little further back.

However, this isn't (The) Weakest Link, and individual contributions don't count. Guessing the identity of the mole does, and knowing how David did it this year might help for next time. Which leads to...

THE MOLE WEEK NINE - HOW DAVID DID IT It's the morning of March 2. The Mole Finale airs tonight, and eleven visitors to Jersey are in a hotel in London. Zi, David, Jennifer and Glen you'll remember, though not Zi's long hair. Dear director, refresh our memory of The Other Seven... Gloria, down with a cold in week 2. Paul, fell out in week 3. Oliver, hugs all round from week 6. Sara, so near yet so far from week 7. Jo, shot out in week 5. John, huge round of applause on his arrival from week 4. Jules, we (just) remember her from week 1.

David thinks Paul will be disappointed. Gloria has Zi fingered. Ollie says David. Jules has gone with Jen or David. Sara doesn't care now - she knows no more than when she left. John has no more idea than when he came in. Jen can't believe she got it so wrong.

The team watches the finale from last week. Bits are cut to the broadcast tape.

Zi emerges as the winner, handshakes all round. David is unmasked as the mole. He's glassy eyed. Mass ribbing, though Paul stares intently at the screen. And aahs of sympathy for Jen. Who admits getting it wrong right the way through.

Game-by-game: Week 1 (W) Parachute jump: David was with Gloria, and tried to talk her out of jumping. (L) Luggage: Nothing on the show. (*) Hostage: Allow Ollie to commandeer the phone, but he can't get to Zi - David has changed the number. This is not shown. When they landed, David was the one at the far end, waving them down the road, and is seen riding on the back of the car.

Week 2: (W) Fund raising: No sabotage, it's for charity, mate. (L) Golf: get the question wrong. As did everyone but Paul. John distracted attention well. (L) Rally: David picks the lightest wheels to change. Then left the rachet to tighten, not loosen. And didn't level the jack.

Week 3: (W) Bridge jump: David was scheduled to fake how scary it was, to put people off. Group dynamics overtook events, and David jumped well down the order, behind a lot of scared people. (L) Food and drink: David agrees with the wrong answer from Ollie and Jo. (W) Maze: Won by Sara and Ollie. David hooks with Jenny, who doesn't know her left from her right. Also, the producer told David to abort plans to confuse himself. This resulted in a 1:31 run, deflecting suspicion.

Week 4: (W) Fishing: David knows to avoid the lobster trip, and refuses to help handle the fish. Probably the second most obvious piece of sabotage. (W) Island night: Dismantle the phone, no-one will use it. (W) Boat: There's a knife by the boat, slash it further. Go off and take a slash. Literally, hope t he small slash sinks the boat. When the team discovers the hole, David tries to get them moving to the yacht, rather than repair the hole. But the hole wasn't big enough.

Week 5: (L) Intelligence test: David does very well. "Was it that you were genuinely stumped, or do moles t hrive underground?" Major clue. (L) Identify the guest: David has pictures in the theatre toilet. (L) Paintball: David was to allow his bandages to fall off, causing him to be disqualified.

Week 6: (L) Death slide: David knew his question beforehand, and was instructed to play to the odds. Zi had got his question right, so David was tipped to get his wrong. (W) Predict David's actions. Nothing he could do. (W) Interrogation: David is to get the pass. Late in the night, it genuinely becomes too much for D avid, and he walks.

Week 7: (L) Sport: Lose, come what may. Probably the clearest sabotage of all. (L) Find Jen: Simple to lose. (W) Roulette challenges: David was prepared for the head-shaving or nude painting. Sara and Jen had already said it was unlikely they'd do their challenges, but they did.

Week 8: (L) Running Men: David is late turning up, and seals on the GPS box are damaged. He's tampered with the other two. I owe an apology to Jen. Certainly David's best sabotage. (L) Treasure Wanted: Delay the game, only the team takes so long over clue 1 that's not really a problem.

Paul cracked David in week 3. His error was to team with John in the maze and fall over. Paul changed his nomination off camera to John, costing him the win.

The visible clues: At the airport, David has a small bag, and ACTION TIME headed paper. And he's wearing the shirt discarded there in the final. * In episode 1, Jules voted for Jennifer. I should have noticed that! * David wore his bedtime slippers to the week 4 elimination. Someone's not going. * In later episodes, David wore a t-shirt from William's Bar - William of Orange, who died after his horse stumbled over a mole hill. Those with A1 vision may have seen a Wilmington number 426 843 6653 - IAM THE MOLE * "Clues are there... in Glen's introduction" said David in week 7's elimination. At the start of the show, Glen recapped: "Oliver braved the death slide, but the mole was one step ahead of him." Ollie was third down the slide, David second. * The start of each episode... "The first words reveal the mole is David." * In the briefing room at London airport: bottles of mineral water. (David) Buxton mineral water.

Unanswered Questions and Questionable Answers: Back to the hostage game in week 1. I'm *still* not convinced that there is any *legal* force behind the one-way system, as it does appear to be on private land. I'm waiting to hear back from the boat club concerned to resolve this point. Pending clarification, this game was not counted in my MVP calculations.

Paintball in week 5. Still no mention of Zi being shot *before* he reached the finish.

Predict David's Actions in week 6. Was there *really* no instruction to act out of character in that game? It's completely overlooked in the broadcast.

Find Jen in week 7. Did David actually see Jen at any time? Probably not, otherwise we would have seen it. I'm chalking this up as a win for Jen, rather than for the mole.

Overall, David did an excellent job at covering his tracks. As a saboteur, though, I can't rate his performance very well. I reckon there were 13 sabotage opportunities. Grading each sabotage from 0 (total failure - the interrogation) to 10 (pinning a sabotage on another team member), I give David a score of 67/130. Overall, I reckon a B- grade for David as a mole. The series as a whole rates an A-.

NEXT YEAR... The Mole II will be filming over the summer. If you have a valid passport (don't think you'll be off to Jersey,) send your contact details, a recent photo and an explanation of why you want to appear to: The Mole, PO Box 121, Manchester, M60 1EX.

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