Weaver's Week 2002-05-04

Weaver's Week Index

4th May 2002

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

In the week when C4 unveiled details of BIG BROTHER 3, this also happened:

- The Montreux Awards were handed out

- Someone was firing blanks in Panama

- Thumper's jaw hit the floor. Again.


The Rose d'Or is awarded at the Montreux television festival to the greatest show in Europe. Two years ago, Belguim won for DE MOL (The Mole). This year, Britain (in the shape of LWT/19 Productions) wins for POP IDOL, described by the judges as "the perfect television show." They praised the novel twists on the age-old talent search format, and the charismatic judges came in for special praise.

As Pop Idol had been entered as Entertainment, the Rose d'Argent - winner in the Game Show category - was Tiger Aspect's OBLIVIOUS, which I described as "Undemanding fare, with no pretensions to high art. Davina - yet again - has exactly the right touch for this show; the teensiest bit sarcastic, but friendly. Top notch light, fluffy Saturday evening viewing." (July 22)

Second place and a Rose d'Bronze went to E4's MAKE MY DAY, which also merges people's real life with strange and bizarre happenings. The two winning shows are so similar as to be near clones. I think this says more about the judging panel than about the merits of the format(s) against other formats.

ITV bosses are mightily pleased that SHAFTED - the hit game show axed after less than a month - didn't pick up an award. That would have left their faces redder than a really red thing that's been running in the sun. BBC bosses are rather peeved that THE WAITING GAME didn't win.

And BANZAI went home with absolutely nothing. Ha! Where judges' brains? Where judges' brains? Bet now! A) Behind sofa B) In cupboard under stairs C) Locked in garden shed. Ha! Bet now! Bet now!


Last week, Alistair bit the bullet a week earlier than expected. That leaves us six down, six to go, and three weeks from the Phone Vote Of Power (Or Utter Pointlessness, Depending On Circumstances.)

Formerly North island

+ David, 54, Newcastle. Token Old Bloke.

+ Drew, 27, Abingdon. Promised to lay about, eat food and do nothing to help.

Formerly South island

+ Bridget, 42, Oxford. Suffering from a leg injury

+ John, 32, Winchester. Same shirt for three days running. Phew!

+ Jonny, 30, Edinburgh. World champion log stander.

+ Susannah, 27, Wimbledon. Got the North Island's votes last week.

On RAW last week, defending champ Charlotte suggested Suze should play things "a little dizzy." This tactic worked well for Horborough last year, but clearly wouldn't for Suze. She's already revealed herself able to hold a conversation, and becoming dense all of a sudden would be a dead giveaway. It's also a bit dishonourable.

Last week, Drew threatened to sabotage the camp and lay about doing nothing. The rest of the group reckons that she won't be a typical student, but everyone is concerned that there's not much food left. "We're not going to starve," points out Bridget. That wouldn't make good television.

Reward challenge. Walk along a beam in the water, without knocking skittles in the water. The person walking is blindfolded, the other guides them. John is wearing the 3 shirt, and is guided by Sooz. He gets through the first of two beams without trouble, but wobbles two of the three skittles off quickly. He falls in a lot, too.

Drew is guided by Jonny, and walks like a crab, touching the side of the beam with her hands. Stroke of genius. Bree guides David, and he's in straight away. We need a Stuart Hall commentary, this is comedy genius. Jonny and Drew win (but it was mainly Drew). They get the use of a modern fishing boat (complete with shower and bar) for the rest of the day, so it's fish 'n' chips for dinner. Back on land, Bree is isolated because she can't get her stitches wet. The others catch a stick, so it's rice and stick for dinner.

Drew and Dave figure they have no way to break someone off from South tribe. In the mailbox is a bow and arrow. The team is clearly auditioning for a part in Radio 4's long-running documentary THE ARCHERS. We voted Snappy off one week too early for the joke. Tum te tum te tum te tum. Two shots at a target - miss it, and ooooh nooooh, you're out. Then one shot at targets that, like Shula's halo, diminish in size. Last one shooting wins.

Suze and Drew fall at the first hurdle, Dave and John the only ones to hit the next target. Dave's strike at #3 is near the centre; John's bounces out of a target the size of Rev Janet's ego. Dave has won, his first individual triumph.

John shins up a coconut tree to cut some fruit down. There's a double rainbow in the sky, but no pink hippo or Prime Minister's wife in sight. They discuss their taste in music, but no mention of the genius that was Rod, Jane and Freddy.

Big Brother has asked the team to provide some controversial footage to spice up what is becoming an episode so dull it could come from last year's series. The succulent six discuss whether cannabis should be made legal. John adopts what must (surely) be the devil's advocate position, and suggests they should remain illegal, using the slippery slope argument that cannabis inexorably leads to other harder drugs. Suze appears to argue this position from conviction; Bridget avoids pricking their bubble of babble and keeps her counsel. The shepherd will need to explode tomorrow, when Drew raises the Urban arguments against fox hunting without considering the Rural arguments. This is the sort of thing that could count against a contestant when it comes to the public vote.

Suze is going down with tonsillitis. She doesn't know that it's not infectious. Dave and Jonny are moving against Suze and Bree. Mainly Suze, as she's covering something up. Not in that shot, she's not. She and Jonny find Bree arrogant.

Voting time. Once again, it's along tribal lines. Suze 2, Drew 4. Looks like Dave, Bridget, Suze to go in that order.

Next week, a planeload of tourists and another dead chicken. 2145 Wednesday. There is no football to delay proceedings.


Sussex '68 -v- Imperial '01

Sussex won in the year of student unrest, when the entire team wore bow ties. Imperial describes Balliol Bailey as "a quiz machine" - I remarked at the time how amazing he was.

This week's edition starts out as The Alex Campbell Show, as he gets the first three starters and is the resident expert on the French Fifth Republic.

Jawdropper: Gavin Estcourt interrupts a long and rambling question about birds suitable for various classes of people with the single word "Kestrel." Thumper's amazement is clear, asking how on earth he knew he would ask about the bird appropriate for the servant class. "It's in Kes" replies Estcourt.

Spirited rounds on Dingle in Ireland and Paris landmarks from their street map locations bring Sussex back to 85-45. Imperial strikes back, including 4/4 on Bond themes, to extend the lead to 145-55. Some blatant favouritism from Thumper allows two very late starters from John Roberts (Sussex) to stand, when I'd have moved on to Imperial some time earlier.

With four minutes to go, Sussex is suddenly threatening to pull off an upset victory, closing to within 15. Then Campbell identifies the origin of "paparazzi" and Imperial is back away. Estcourt tries to evaluate the integral of x squared between 0 and 3, but only gets 6. Estcourt is now a banker. Imperial still wins, 225-170.

Stat pack: Sussex 22/27 bonuses, 3 penalties, Roberts scored 71. Imperial 23/34 bonuses, 2 penalties, Campbell 74, Estcourt 65.

The finals board:

345 Somerville 02

240 Imperial 96

240 Univ Ox 73

225 Trinity Ca 95

225 Imperial 01

205 Merton Ox 81

200 Lancaster 80

180 Bradford 80

175 New Ox 64

170 Sussex 68

150 Sidney Sussex Camb

72 120 Leicester 62

UCR suffers from Buffy's Disease next week, making way for grown men playing with their balls. The world snooker final means it's all go in two weeks time, with Jesus 86 -v- Univ 83 in an all-Oxford affair.


A fourth person has been arrested in the Great Millionaire Coughing Scandal. The arrestee is a 35 year old man. His identity has not been made public, and his connection to the events has not been revealed by Avon and Somerset Police. The arrests come almost six months after Major Charles Ingram, his wife Diane, and next contestant Tecwen Whittock were quizzed by the force. All have been bailed to re-appear in June.

Troubled digital terrestrial broadcaster MonkeyDigital finally fell into the liquidiser on Tuesday, when the month ran out. Channel 4 is operating the only pay channels on the platform. Their E4 channel will continue broadcasting "at least until May 24." Rather oddly, this is the same date as the new series of C4's hit reality show BIG BROTHER is strongly rumoured to start...

C4 didn't give a start date at Thursday's press launch, but did say it would be in May, for a late July finish - May 24 + 9 weeks = July 26 [I think it's 10 weeks this time - Ed]. 12 contestants this year. Big Brother promises to be a bit more cranky, as "real reasons" will be required for eviction nominations. There will be live coverage of the entry to the house, with a post-eviction interview on Sunday. The Task will finish on a live Saturday show. No books, no musical instruments, no coverage of some men kicking a windbag around a field.

Exec prod Peter Grimsdale says, "BB has become as much a part of the British summer as Wimbledon." This worries me: it sounds as though complacency may be setting in, the makers are resting on their laurels, and we all know what happened to SURVIVOR last year. He also confirmed that there would be a heated hexagonal swimming pool, and a chicken coup. That'll make interesting viewing...

As a warm up, footage from the unsuccessful contestants' tapes will be shown on E4 between 0200 and 1400. This is expected to generate higher ratings than C4's new brekkie show that no one's watching.

Viewers overseas should note that C4 "anticipates that the live streaming will be available on subscription." (That means you've to pay to watch live coverage of BB, not them paying you to watch FA:LL)


Best wishes to Paul O'Grady following his recent operation. In character as Lily Savage, he hosts BLANKETY BLANK on ITV at 1730 Saturday. Guests include Kaye "People Versus" Adams, and Fern "Ready Steady Cook" Britton. FAMILY FORTUNES returns at 2010 for one week only. E4's CHAINED omnibus begins at 2300.

Monday is a public holiday in the UK, and Discovery is airing the highlights of its recent MASTERMIND series all day. The FIFTEEN TO ONE repeat and COUNTDOWN begin 10 minutes early, and there is no WEAKEST LINK or other daily shows.

Get a vasectomy: this week's Smart Alec is Anna Raeburn.

New: ITV debuts NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD at 1705 Tuesday (and daily.) It reviews the best TV shows, music, ads, and famous faces from recent years. Matthew Kelly, Rowland Rivron and Fred Dinenage are regulars.

We have a Prime Time WEAKEST LINK at 1930 Wednesday, followed at 2015 by THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Could these shows be related? Ssssh...

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