Weaver's Week 2001-12-10

Weaver's Week Index

10th December 2001

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

This week:

- The show that is awfully like GOING FOR GOLD...

- The show that is back after an awful long wait...

- The out of place commercial.


Second round, match 3: [6] St Hugh's Oxford -v- Churchill Cambridge [7]. Pick Churchill.

St Hugh's accounted for Leeds in a late rush; Churchill had the easy ride against St Andrew's 40.

We have our first substitution of the season: James Chapman is the new #4 for Churchill, replacing Robert Hunter. It's a useful sub, as Chapman gets the first starter, but Hugh's goes into a distinct lead by the first pictures. Though Churchill pulls a little way back, Hugh's is not challenged.

Shutting Thumper Up I: "The Ukraine." The run of five starter questions, starting with the music starter, that no one gets right is finally ended with this answer. Their reward: three versions of "The Girl From Ipanema."

Shutting Thumper Up II: Churchill confuses the sphincter with the appendix. Thumper has to explain what the sphincter is, but suggests, "You'll have to ask."

Shutting Thumper Up III: "Goitre is a term for the inflammation of the thyroid..."

David Holdsworth, Hugh's: "Aaah.... Iodine."

Thumper: "Correct!"

Churchill's crowd support is strong, but the team's performance is never going to win. They do pull it back late, but still lose 190-140. Hugh's got 17/30 bonuses, Churchill 10/30. Top scorer is Chapman (63), but three of the St Hugh's team score between 51 and 62.

Next: [4] Christ Church Oxford -v- Imperial [2]. Should be good. Imperial by a nose.


A new show for Wednesday night ties in with the Saturday show. It's quick-fire questions amongst nine contestants. The first six to give three correct answers will go through to the Saturday show. A wrong answer freezes the contestant out of the next question. There are six categories of question, the starter picked at random, then changed after each correct answer.

Er, that's about it. Other than to mention that the show noises - especially the buzzer - are *very* loud. The scoring - contestants in individual podia with lights that illuminate - is a bit like FIFTEEN TO ONE in reverse. The way contestants who succeed leave to set to go to the next phase of the competition is the GOING FOR GOLD elimination.

One blatantly wrong question rather spoiled my enjoyment. The buzzers could use quietening down, and the canned crowd could best remain in their can. This is fast and furious stuff, but does rather show the whole JET SET format to be a closer relative of daytime quiz shows than they might like.

STAKE OUT (Challenge TV)

Four contestants appear to pay-to-play, but this is Strictly Illegal, so the money handed over is a) fake and b) from the production company anyway. There are then some 100% style multiple choice questions, on which each player stakes money, and gets all or more back for correct answers. On one more question, each player can stake as much of their pot as they like.

Then player A challenges player B to one head-to-head question, on a subject of A's choice, and for a stake both can make. Winner takes that much from the loser. As soon as someone reaches no money left, they leave the game. This repeats until two remain.

Then we play for increasing stakes until the increase would be more than one player, in which case we then play for their pot. Whoever goes down to nothing is out, and the winner takes all.

To say that this show is soporific would be unfair to sleeping pills. The losers go off down yet another cheap "walk of shame," though just how much shame one can experience on a minority satellite channel is yet to be explained. More of a "walk of transient embarrassment."

The set is laid out in a similar pattern to a cloverleaf, albeit with five leaves. Our anodyne host only walks down the leaves, constantly turning his back on contestants. The music is intensely irritating, even more grating than the constant repetition on GREED. The host reads from the same script on every show, and makes more statements of the blindingly obvious than a motor racing commentator.

This is a decent idea, but the tedious host doesn't encourage viewing. Perhaps if it were a regional television production, played for household trinkets such as a waffle maker or a microwave oven, it might be tolerable viewing. I really don't think it quite cuts the mustard on national television, even if it is "only" satellite.


The MOLE finale sees the mole confirmed as the person I thought it was back in episode 1, changed against in epi 2, then cracked the clue in epi 3. Find out how they did it on Sunday. And for those who need a further clue: it's not Glenn.


Ratings Watch for Monday saw both THE WEAKEST LINK and THE PEOPLE VERSUS rise above C4's RICHARD AND JUDY talk show. The king and queen of daytime are finding it much tougher going after dark. To rub salt into their wounds, Thursday's show included a commercial for the video of The Best Of The Weakest Link. The subliminal message: You could be watching this, right now, just at the click of a button.

THE RACE sees four teams trying to get to Quito. One team goes through the jungle, has their coach get stuck in mud, and can't make the time limit. There's some football, pottery, and fortune telling. "You won't make it on time." Unless you're the winners. Not the best of weeks.


If you only read this column on this website, and don't look at the front page, you'll have missed the return of INTERCEPTOR on Challenge TV. This seminal late 80s show is airing at 9am weekend mornings on the game show station. How does it fare after such a long time? Tell you next week.

Another week, another Saturday night line up. BBC1 has FRIENDS LIKE THESE at 6:15, THE WAITING GAME at 7:10, and JET SET at 7:50.

ITV has a 70 minute MILLIONAIRE, no doubt with a lot of plugs for the Record Of The Year, at 8:15. Millionaire Couples at 8:30 Monday (30), 8 Tuesday and Wednesday (both 60 minutes.)

Still trying to work out how the mole worked? Confused by what them clocks are for? All may be revealed C5 Sunday at 8.

Though it may be moving away from head-to-head competition with Millionaire on both sides of the pond, has THE WEAKEST LINK (US)'s ask by date passed? Judge for yourself as BBC2 airs more episodes. Daily at 5:15.

Readers who wish to know the value of "I" are spoiled for choice on Monday. The amazingly esoteric ROUND BRITAIN QUIZ returns to Radio 4 at 1:30, while Paul Hendy provides a value on WHEEL OF FORTUNE, ITV daily.

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