Weaver's Week 2001-10-22

Weaver's Week Index

22nd October 2001

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

Coming up:

- The most dull episode of University Challenge in a long time

- The merchant banker who wants to win big

- X-FIRE in review

- A preview of the National Television Awards


First round, match 12: St Andrews' -v- Churchill Cambridge

St Andrews beat Jesus and Birkbeck before losing to Trinity Cambridge in the 95 quarter finals. The following year saw a first round loss to eventual champions Imperial London. 97 saw a victory over Girton Cambridge, but a losing draw against Glamorgan in the second round.

This is Churchill's first appearance in the revival, though they won the series back in 1971.

Not the fastest start for either side, they combine for just three starters and three bonuses at the first picture round. Churchill pulls away during the next phase, but scoring is still at a snail's pace. Churchill continues to get starters, but their scoring is slow. This show is like the set of questions on excretia.

But interest is suddenly piqued at second picture set, with the score at 25-170. Could St Andrews record the lowest score a) of the series and b) ever; and c) if the aggregate could possibly be a low for the revival.

The scores required are a) 100 b) 35 c) 250. Two penalties for the Saints bring them to a massive 20, but then they get two starters in a row and move ahead of the New Hall 98 ladies. A starter with one minute to go drags the aggregate score kicking and screaming to 255, but that's it. The final score: St Andrew's 40, Churchill Cambridge 215.

Paxo tries to be encouraging, but even he can only say that's the worst score we've had this year. Birkbeck 97 and Oxford Brookes 98 are the other sides that failed to pass 50, both ending on 40. To be honest, this was the dullest show of the year. The teams combined for just 17/53 bonuses; St Andrews got 2/12.

Loser standings, after 12 of 14 matches:

220 Downing Cambridge

185 Hull

150 Edinburgh

145 Cardiff

Next: Durham -v- York


Lost: Our teams journey from the jungles of south Venezuela to the Caribbean island of Martinique before picking up a flight to London. There's class warfare, open mental sabotage, and all the things that make a good show. A book, also called Lost, is in all good bookstores now.

The Race: Follow the Ganges from Delhi to Varanasi. Visit the Taj Mahal, and see the reincarnated poets at Bickaner. Don't cause commentators to wonder if treating the rats as a Fort Boyard challenge is mocking the Hindu religion. Fail miserably. Have a sit-down row on camera.

Millionaire: This from Tuesday night's episode... Peter Spiredes is a former banker from Brentwood, Essex. He is in the hot seat. He has 50/50 left. He is the second former banker to face a question beginning thus:

£ONE MILLION: What was the profession of the composer Borodin? A) Naval captain B) Chemist C) Lawyer D) Chef "I can categorically say I don't have a clue, so even with a 50/50, I'm going to take the money." Peter takes the half million. The right answer ... keep reading.

Major Lawsuit: Press reports indicate Major Charles Ingram was arrested Monday on a charge of insurance fraud. This is not connected with his disputed win on Millionaire, scream the papers.

Big Brother II's Dean married long-term fiancée Vanessa in a ceremony somewhere in the Midlands on Saturday. Eight of the other ten housemates were there; Helen and Paul are unavailable, as they're on holiday overseas. Apparently, they've employed bodyguards who are not allowed to reveal the two are in Philadelphia. Lovely.


Glenn is looking mean and moody on a mountaintop. He takes off his shades and says with a flourish, "This is your first clue."

To British Columbia's snowfields. Can we take as read that the scenery through this series will be stunning, breathtaking, or downright wonderful? Thanks.

Jim Anderson, 40, garage owner, Kilmarnock Ayrshire

Tanya Buck, 33, fitness instructor, Barnet Herts

Mel Brookes, 30, information associate, Fleet Hants

Natalie Gadd, 28, retail manager, Buckhurst Hill Essex

Chris Gallagher, 28, consultant trainer, Holgate Yorkshire

Chris Lintern, 27, company director, Chapmanslade Wilts

Karrie Fox, 50, artist, Truro Cornwall

Dafydd Williams, 27, event co-ordinator, Cardiff

Paula Mason, 23, ground steward, Spennymoor County Durham

Paul Tregear, 29, firefighter, Westcliff on Sea Essex

Our new chums are abandoned with no equipment or belongings.

Glenn has a challenge. Find him, and there's £10,000 at stake. Sixteen pieces of equipment in their luggage that will help. It's parts of a map, and some instructions.

Jim can't find anything in his luggage until someone else looks. No-one spots the sketch map on the flip side of the cards, they just spot the word message. They must march in a geographic order, most northerly by residence leading. There's a GPS unit, which - if operated correctly - will help their route. The rope up the rock face might also be a hint. As might the mobile phone ringing on a rock.

Their marching order becomes crucial: Glenn says that if they get it wrong, they lose the challenge. Paul and Tanya argue about who is further north. What about Cardiff, I wonder?

Jim - Paula - Chris G - Mel - Natalie Paul - Tanya - Dafydd - Chris L - Karrie

Dafydd thinks he has lost the puzzle pictures. Jim tries to lead the team the wrong way, but is talked out of it.

They're in time, and 14 minutes to spare. But Paul, Natalie, and Tanya are wrong. Tanya should have gone ahead of Natalie, and both ahead of Paul. What's worse, Glenn points out that the GPS system had a map of the UK.

Glenn gives each person a sealed tube that contains a hint to someone who can't be trusted. They're to be kept, but not opened unless Glenn says so.

Weaver's suspicion: Dafydd losing the map and not finding his piece? Paul's job might have a lot of geography. In Natalie and Tanya's defence, the difference between their locations is less than 2 miles.

Challenge 2: Name four strongest swimmers. Paul, Chris G, Natalie, and Mel. There's survival equipment in each of 24 waterproof bags, released into a cold fast flowing river. The team are shown what's in each bag.

Jim drops Chris' rope on the first lunge, which will tire Chris out. Mel misses her first two bags, and is replaced by Dafydd. Chris misses the key to a log cabin, but Jim loses his grip and falls in. Paul decides not to take a tent, but blankets. So, no tent, no log cabin. But they do get £5000. Guess they'll have to burn it to stay warm.

Glenn offers the key to the cabin for £2500, and hints that staying out overnight is not the best idea. They buy the cabin. The Ritzy would be cheaper.

Weaver's suspicion: Jim is either incompetent or tiring Chris out - he reckons the former. Mel is either moleing or overestimated her ability. Paul has a bad memory or is sabotaging. Tanya wouldn't get in the water; she's a fitness instructor, and ought to be used to that. Dafydd is looking like a useful asset, just as Mole David did at this stage last time. Would the producers choose a second mole called David?

Day two, and we have the stunning, breathtaking panoramic vista (etc - see note earlier) of Revelstoke dam. It's 450 foot high. Let's look over the edge. This would be the traditional bungee off the dam challenge, right? Wrong. This is the walk across the tightrope challenge for £10,000. One hour for everyone to get across. There's the added complication that their heartrate is not to exceed 130bpm, else they're not to move. Failures or refusals count as 10 minutes.

Paul is the only one of the first four to make it across without getting stopped by the monitor. Chris G, Karrie, Mel, all can't get down below the limit and are cited at 10 minutes. Natalie and Paula make it, Chris L goes a whole three steps before moving to 160bpm, he joins the flunkers list. Tanya is slow but steady. Dafydd is calm as anything, and moves like greased lightning. Jim cracks jokes and makes it across.

Did the six make it inside 20'? Nope, missed by 3'53. Paul took eight minutes, Tanya six. Dafydd and Jim both made it inside 1'20.

Weaver's suspicion: Is it possible for one to force their heartrate up? I don't think so, but one of the Chris G had a resting rate of 120. Dafydd and Jim might have been better used early, but so might Natalie and Paula. Tanya took a long time for someone who *is* fit.

Given my record last series, this probably means that she's innocent (and could be heading home right now), but I'm citing Tanya as the prime suspect.

To the Glacier House Resort hotel, for the first elimination. Who suspects whom?

Jim: Chris G, Chris L, Natalie, Paul

Paul: Chris L, Karrie

Karrie: Natalie

Natalie: Chris G, Tanya

Chris G: Dafydd

Tanya: Paul, Chris L

Dafydd: Chris L

Chris L: Karrie

Mel: Karrie

Paula: Paul, Chris G

And the old red and green screens come back. Mel... stays. Tanya... stays. Paul... stays. Chris L... stays. Natalie... is a goner. Less suspicion for Chris G and Tanya, then. The UK Game Show Page has a jolly useful summary sheet: http://www.ukgameshows.com/mole/

Acrobatics and the return of the INTERCEPTOR? That'll be next Sunday at 8.


On 1, people shooting people on the news. On 3, people shooting people on the news. On 2, aliens shooting aliens on Star Trek. On 5, poor soaps that really should be shot. If you've not had enough shooting, there's always the paintballing game on 4.

Unlike the painfully realistic warfare on the real news, this is unashamed fantasy. People don't get killed, they get emulsified. There's no après-mission briefing from officials determined to put their own point of view to the exclusion of others and the objective truth, but an honest critique from presenter Ed Hall and the deceased combatants.

Teams of six are given a task to perform, broken down into three sub-tasks. They have to shoot black-clad Grunts, clearly named after Ross Kemp's character on EastEnders - they look vaguely useful, but never actually do much. There are also Special Forces to take out, six trained paintballers who can talk in dodgy Eastern European accents.

The action sequences are well filmed, giving a clear sense of how difficult the challenges are. Points are awarded for completing the mission, emulsifying the opposition, and bonuses handed out on a whim. Deductions for team members emulsified, wounds, and breaking the rules.

Look, it's televised paintball, and you're either going to love this or hate it. Ed Hall knows that this is a silly show, and presents with a manner (and long black trench coat) that strongly resembles Richard O'Brien's heyday on The Crystal Maze. It's exciting in small doses, adrenaline pumping, and decent in a clearly non-sensible way.

History will probably view this as the victim of unfortunate timing, a fake military campaign airing during a real military campaign. It's not challenging viewing, it's not going to be to everyone's tastes, but its niche is filled very well.


After last week's amazingly close finish - winning the round the world top prize with exactly 0 seconds left - there's no WINNING LINES on Saturday. The final of STAR FOR A NIGHT, a singing contest presented by Jane McDonald, replaces it.

MILLIONAIRE drops back to just the one episode, Saturday for 75 minutes. Tuesday is replaced by the National Television Awards. Thursday is replaced by an episode of Great Chemists In History, featuring Borodin.

In the NTAs, voted by the audience, Chris and Anne face off in the Most Popular Quiz Programme, alongside makeweights Question of Sport and They Think it's All Over. Chris is also up for Entertainment Presenter, alongside Jim Davidson (Generation Game) Michael Barrymore (My Kind of Music) Ant and Dec (Challenge Ant) and Graham Norton (of no quiz show connection.) Generation and MKOM join Popstars and Stars in Their Eyes for Entertainment Programme. Countdown is in the Daytime Programme category, while Big Brother's appearance is - somewhat surprisingly - in Factual Programme.

For the record, no Channel 5 programme is nominated for anything. Nor is Survivor; maybe series 2 will prove more worthy of awards.

If you missed last week's season premier of THE MOLE, it's repeated at 9:25 Sunday morning, in a "That'll teach you to miss it" slot. The second episode airs at 8pm.

Daytime update: no WIPEOUT this week, replaced by NEIGHBOURS REVEALED. WEAKEST LINK daily is back. WEAKEST LINK prime time is at 8:05.

A later slot and longer shows for LOST: 11:55 Monday for 30, 11:55 Tuesday for 50, and 10:55 Wednesday for 50.

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