Weaver's Week 2002-05-11

Weaver's Week Index

11th May 2002

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

In the week when Antan Dec threatened to give away the contents of an ad break, this also happened:

- Survivor started on time

- People wondered what Harold Macmillan's most famous quote was

- And Anne Robinson showed up on trails.


Last week, Drew took the short step to the luxury hotel. Three weeks from the Phone Vote Of Power (Or Utter Pointlessness, Depending On Circumstances.)

Formerly North island

+ David, 54, Newcastle. Sharp shooter

(Er, that's it. Drew, Alistair, Helen are jurists.)

Formerly South island

+ Bridget, 42, Oxford. Child of the country.

+ John, 32, Winchester. Three.

+ Jonny, 30, Edinburgh. Gone fishing.

+ Susannah, 27, Wimbledon. Has taken North's votes for the past fortnight.

Temperatures are well into the 30s for the final five. Dave has a chance, but he must get Bridget and Susannah on side within 45 air minutes. John and Jonny are discussing the possibility of a fight between Bree and Suze, when there's an unexpected guest. An alligator. Snappy could be a nice meal.

Reward challenge. All five have their hands above their heads, tied to ropes, the ropes to very large vats of water. Move, and you get wet. The team stand in the hot sun, discussing sad songs. No one mentions Chris Tarrant's top 20 hit, the Bucket Of Water Song. Bree leaves after 20 minutes, Suze after 40. The three gents last past an hour, and the on-site medic gives his OK.

90 minutes in, three men still have dry hair. They're egging each other on. Dave has lasted longer here than on the log. Dave is pulled out after two hours, seriously dehydrated. Jonny gives in, giving John a wet win. He's the Arsenal of standing under a bucket of water. He wins a bed, cocoa, cookies, and breakfast in bed.

Suze is rubbing sun block into Jonny's back. That's a bit obvious. It turns out John's bed is just the other side of the clearing. The fortuitous five are cooking prickly nuts. They're meant to be edible, but aren't. John gets his cookies and cocoa, and says for the record that he can't share them, much as he clearly wanted to. John's breakfast doesn't stink out the rest of the camp, much to their relief. Coconut all round it is. John didn't sleep much following a sugar rush.

Post. Five fingerprints. It's Valentine's Day, causing a mass outbreak of things left at home. Wives, children, singing vampire slayers... At the local airport, we have Bree's boyf, Dave's son, Suze's hubby, and John and Jonny's girlfs. They're sat on logs near the contestants. The team must visit each one, and figure out who they are, how old they are, to whom they're attached, and how they're related. Most correct answers wins immunity and 30 minutes with their close one. No conversation, no physical contact at all. Bree's leg seems somewhat better now. Jonny pips John to immunity, 18-17. This has been a challenge that's confirmed just how much all the five survivors have changed their outlook on life. And it seems to have been a bonding experience, similar to the night interrogation in the castle on MOLE I.

Bridget is annoying everyone, and just might have a floating vote from someone. But Dave wants B&S to join him and vote John off. He figures it's the best chance of any of them winning through, barring long runs of immunity.

So to the voting, and we might actually get to shake the cobwebs off the Swingometer. Bree reckons there are no tensions in the camp. De Nile is where she's from. Dave 4, Bridget 1. Put the Swingometer away, we just don't need it this year. Everything has been unanimous or by block.

Next week: the challenge that is in the best possible taste, and mad mapping. 2145 (or after the football) Wednesday, plus repeats most of the week on ITV2.

Way to go? I think we're down for another tiebreak. Bree and Suze need to vote together to counteract the rock-solid John and Jonny. If Suze votes off Bree, then she's got to win immunity in the last three to survive. If she votes with Bree, then they could well both make the final.

Some ratings: 4.7m for Survivor, 2.9m / 15% For primetime WEAKEST LINK, 3.2m / 26% For daytime WL.


Three months after PI finished, a quick review of what the winners, losers, and others involved have been doing.

Will Young was the winner. His single "Evergreen" / "Anything Is Possible" shifted 1.1m in its first week, the third highest one week sale of all time. By close of business on Saturday May 4, he had moved 1.72m copies, the 12th biggest seller of all time. Will's next single will be a version of "Light My Fire" that he performed in the final. This is best described as very easy listening - a cover of the Mike Flowers' Pops covering Jose Feliciano remaking the Doors' original. It's out to buy on June 3.

Gareth Gates has, like Young, been signed to 19 Records, and released his version of "Unchained Melody" on March 17. It sold 0.8m that week, and had sold 1.4m to last weekend. The single was backed by his versions of "Evergreen" and "Anything Is Possible." Tabloids have linked him to...

Zoe Birkett (4th). She's also been snapped up by 19. The video for the gospel number "Get Happy" has been in high rotation on EMAP music channels and is scheduled for release later this month.

Jessica Garlick (9th) will be the UK entry at the Eurovision Song Contest. The entry, "Come Back" will be released on Monday May 13.

Rik Waller (withdrew) released a version of "I Will Always Love You" in February. It struggled to sell 100,000 copies, and has been available in supermarket bargain bins for 1p. He's auditioning for AMERICAN IDLE. To our readers in the US: this is payback for Temptation Island.

Darius (3rd) will not be signed by 19 Records. Three months after the contest ended, Danesh is now available to be signed.

The others have held a successful big band tour, and the resulting album has spent three weeks as the #1 album.

Birkett, Gates, and Young will be touring together in the autumn.

As for the hosts:

Antan Dec's career has taken off since PI. They'll be starring in a one-off remake of comedy THE LIKELY LADS this month, and they've recorded the official England single for some football tournament. This release is due out on the same day as Young's next release. They'll also host this bizarre live game show where they'll give away everything advertised in one commercial break. Probably the coveted 3:24 AM slot, home to commercials for Bob's Car Wash of Chiselworth; Frost's Scrap Dealers; the Greatest Hits of Antan Dec; and a job lot of stuffed woollen monkeys.

Simon Cowell - has achieved notoriety in the media; Dr Fox has dropped the Doc and will appear on HIGNFY next week; Nikki Chapman has gained a career as a media talking head; and Pete Waterman continues to search for the next malleable pop act.

Auditions for PI2 are already under way.


Back in the mid 90s, COUNTDOWN's hegemony in the late afternoon game show slot was briefly challenged by TODAY'S THE DAY. Former newsreader Martyn Lewis showed some vintage clips, and asked general knowledge questions that were vaguely based on the old film. Though it had claims to be a nostalgia quiz, it was more a quiz with nostalgia inserts. Though the format was appealing, TTD ran for six years, somewhat past its ask by date. In 96, Channel 4 ran BACKDATE, hosted by former newsreader Valerie Singleton - that was more nostalgia than its BBC counterpart, and lasted less than a year. More recently, the BBC has run the incestuously kitschy CLASS OF... This week, ITV launched a nostalgia quiz of its own. It's not as clearly set at a point in the past as Zoe Ball's effort, but neither is it as wide-ranging as Lewis and Singleton's shows.

Two teams of three celebs - captained by former GAMBIT host Fred Dinenage and Rowland Rivron - are shown a montage of clips from one year, an old commercial, and a few pictures. They're asked questions about what they've seen. Fourteen questions take about sixteen minutes of airtime. Host Matthew Kelly camps it up for all he's worth, but this is slow, ponderous, and as dull as ditchwater.

The final round shows promise - the teams have to name five elements in a category (for instance, five hits for ABBA, or five Lloyd Webber "musicals") for lots of points, or fewer elements for fewer points, and a minute to go through as many categories as they can. This could be the genesis of a decent show, but in this format it's somewhat wasted.

ITV is aiming at - well, this is the first problem. What audience *is* the monkey aiming at? 5pm is too early to catch the affluent twenty and thirty somethings that would enjoy a pop culture quiz; scheduling in the old BLOCKBUSTERS slot - immediately after two hours of children's programmes - suggests that housewives and teens is the target audience. Yet the pace of the show is ponderously slow. It feels like it would do well in an early afternoon slot, around 2pm, when a more mature audience is watching. It's not right sat at 5.

On the upside, this has re-established the 5pm slot for quiz and game shows, and the monkey does have 16 (or is it 17?) episodes of SHAFTED to burn off. Could these facts be linked?


Well, it's quite the game show block on BBC1 Saturday. Friends Like These at 1800, Waiting Game at 1855, Jet Set at 1935, then make way for TEST THE NATION at 2010. Anne "Wink" Robinson and Phillip "Gopherman" Schofield attempts to take the audience's ability to use logic, language, memory, numbers, and perception. Viewers at home can take part by internet - www.bbc.co.uk/testthenation/ - interactive TV, or pen and paper. Reports that viewers would also be able to use telepathy have been denied; that's saved for next year's GUESS THE NATION. The more fundamental objection that IQ tests measure exactly how good one is at doing IQ tests and nothing more is appropriate for a BBC Four documentary, not an evening's light entertainment. TTN runs - apart from a break for the news - until 2315.

Before that, ITV attempts to steal the limelight and next week's top review as THE VAULT finally debuts at 1855. Earth Mother Davina presents the high-stakes game where contestants are up for a £100,000 jackpot. If they fail, a lucky viewer watching live at home could win by answering general knowledge questions. Premium rate entry, 0906 191 9000. Interestingly, this programme has been absent from the monkey's Saturday night trails, but has been advertised on local radio.

And as if that wasn't enough, HOW NOT TO GET ON BIG BROTHER airs on E4 at 2200 - to be repeated next week on C4, and twice next weekend on E4. Followed by BIG BROTHER HOPEFULS, the audition tapes of the unsuccessful contestants, from 2300 to 1400 Sunday, then (roughly) 0200 to 1600 weekdays.

Sunday offers nothing more than a couple of chances to see Ed and Charlotte on Raw, and a chance to catch up on all the tapes from last night.

Monday at noon sees the return of NO WIN NO FEE, Paul Ross' charity giveaway.

Oh goody: after his show-stealing appearance on HIGNFY recently, this week's Smart Alec is Tim Brooke-Taylor. Oh baddy: COUNTDOWN and the 15-1 repeats don't air on Thursday and Friday, as England will be losing at cricket.

Monday's WEAKEST LINK DAILY is an Americans In Britain special. I wonder if this might have been the pilot that sold her to NBC. 1715 on 2.

UK Horizons strips BARE NECESSITIES at 0910 weekdays. Sky One similarly repeats BOOT CAMP at 1030 weekdays. For the record, BULLSEYE is stripped on Granada Plus at 1930 and 2300.

New episodes of COME FLY WITH ME at 2030 Mon-Thu on Choice.

A new series of Radio 4's wildlife quiz WILDBRAIN begins 1330 Wednesday.

Advance notice: Challenge TV relaunches on May 20; the Survivor final is on or around May 29; and BBIII from May 24.

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