Weaver's Week 2002-06-22

Weaver's Week Index

22nd June 2002

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

In the week when Banzai fell to Tim (who? Stay tuned) this also happened:

- Low scores on UCR

- The Countdown final sequence begins

- An exclusive on the next BB Saturday Task


Oriel Oxford 66 -v- Magdalen Oxford 98

A slow start, with Oriel making two errors in their first three buzzes. Only 105 points have been scored by the time we make the music round. Magdalen seems to have lost much of the fire and precognition that drove them to the title four years ago.

Embarrassment of the week: Phil Jones of Magdalen had a red face last time, when he identified Bananarama's version of "Nathan Jones." His face turns as red as the backdrop this time when he's the first to figure out the identity of Mr Postman Pat. One of the subsequent bonuses sees Magdalen confuse "Aristotle" with "Diogenes the Cynic," which Thumper finds really contemptible.

Useless fact of the week: The Rubik Cube is a product of the 1970s. It gained popularity in the 1980s.

Oriel goes 3/3 on Shakespeare sonnets. This might just show their age. No one gets a question about the early career of Joni Mitchell. This might just show both teams' age.

It's not a classic, but a tremendously fun contest. Oriel 155, Magdalen 110. "We didn't know the answers," says Jones, posting the lowest score of the series. Peter Fulford-Jones of Oriel scores 61, no one else breaks 40. Magdalen made 6/21 bonuses, Oriel 16/27 with three penalties.

The top ten:

345 Somerville 02

340 Keele 69

285 Open 85

255 Dundee 84

240 Imperial 96

240 Univ Ox 73

225 Trinity Ca 95

225 Imperial 01

220 Keble Ox 76

205 Merton Ox 81

Live tennis from Wimbledon means we're off till July 8.


The quarterfinals began on Thursday. Here's the finals bracket at the moment:

[1] Chris Wills bt Brenda Jolley [8], 110-86

[4] Wendy Roe -v- Rupert Stokoe [5]

[3] Lee Hartley -v- Kevin Thurlow [6]

[2] Tom Hargreaves bt Mike Pullin [7], 106-89

Chris Wills took the lead in Thursday's opener when Brenda Jolley's MONITERS was ruled out. In the same round, Smart Alec Geoffrey Durham found MOISTENER wasn't yet in the dictionary - it is used in beauty product commercials. REPTILES doubled Chris' lead early in part two, and he's surprised to have MANGLER allowed - it's a machine that crushes and distorts. OUTLAID is disallowed for both contestants, though DIALOG is acceptable - the rules from July will bar "American" spellings. Chris takes the final conundrum, turning CELERYFIT into ten points.

Tom's winner came in round six, when PARODIES topped Mike's selection. Both players scored with MAUNDERS, a word meaning to talk in a rambling manner and clearly appropriate to Countdown. Tom later has GOOLIES allowed, a small stone in Australian slang according to Dame Susie. The crucial conundrum - SIDSDIMES - falls to Tom in a battle of the buzzer.


The Saturday Task this week: All the housemates who hadn't been evicted, walked out the back door, or scaled the garden wall (eight of them) threw exactly one dart at a dartboard. The highest score went to the diary room, chose to live on one or other side, and named three people to live with them there. Alex came out the top scorer. To the surprise of almost no viewers, he elected to live on side A. This is how the living arrangements panned out:

Side A, "Make It Home": Alex, Adele, Sophie, Jade

Side AA, "Become What You Are": PJ, Spencer, Jonny, Kate

"It's not entirely his fault"

Adele is Alex's closest remaining ally in the house: her only way to win is to knock out the Jonny / Kate axis. Sophie has been rejected by that group, and Alex sees her as a potential ally. Rather than attempt to gain the favour of floating voter Spencer, Alex completes his set with Jade, clearly hoping that she'll be easily swayed after the way PJ's treated her. At this point, only Adele knows Jade won't be nominating on Monday.

Splitting PJ and Spencer would have given one or other a boost - it doesn't matter which, as they are now equal. Alex was always going to leave Kate and Jonny on side AA. Picking Sophie allows Kate and Spencer to remain together, which may allow them to bond and plot some more.

A factor in Alex's choice of sidemates may have been the low-level slightly snide slightly anti-gay comments that have been sent his way by PJ and Spencer. Approximately none of this has made it to C4.

"He can't control it all"

PJ does not take kindly to the news that he's on Side AA for another week. He's loudly complaining about the situation, in the manner Alex was using two weeks ago. Spencer is also annoyed by this development, but he's not the one throwing the toys out of his pram and casting aspersions at Alex's motives.

After he's stuck on side AA for a second week, BB gives Spencer some tobacco. This makes something of a mockery of the rules of the divide.

"It's my turn in a minute"

There's a replacement for Sandy. Tim, 23, production company manager, from Cleveland. BB sets the housemates a Reward Challenge to compose a song to welcome Tim: if it was good enough, they got to keep the guitar. It was a very good song, but not one that BBLB could broadcast at 1910. He's bonded well with Alex, and I think he'd work well with Kate and Spencer. To read some of the scalded cats on usenet, one would think he was the devil.

Actually, the welcome song, imaginatively entitled "Welcome To Our House" was a rather large pile of rubbish. Radio 1's Chris Moyles reckoned it "had #2 hit written all over it." I reckon it could sell even fewer copies than Nichola Holt's release, which made the dizzy height of #76.

"Five minutes in the closet with you"

I've been very impressed with the digitalspy.co.uk live updates, which offer far more detail than the official website. Here's the shortest of extracts from Monday: 17:00 From the comfort of the pool, Alex screams "Cock-a-doodle-do" to the chickens. Several times. 17:03: The cock starts shouting back, much to Alex's delight. 17:05: Alex stops acting like a cock, and returns to doing laps of the pool.

"Gonna put my message in it"

BB lets the group use tarot cards to predict their future, with Sophie taking the lead in the predictions stakes. Wonder what she saw of her own future. That night, Spencer has a dream about murdering Alex with a sausage. Draw your own conclusion.

Just over the wall of the BB garden is the edge of the Elstree studio complex. The other side of that is a superstore, where crowds of children gather most evenings to shout messages to the housemates. Some of them are factual. Some of them are fictional. Some of them are nasty remarks about the housemates. BB tries to drown out the chants with piped crowd noise, but some messages get across. None of them are shown on C4, or heard on E4, but they still affect the contestants and the way they interact.

"Spin it round again"

Up for nomination this week: Alex, Spencer.

Just before nominations closed, the betting for eviction 4 saw Sophie the 6/5 favourite, PJ 9/4, and Alex 6/1. Spencer was the 80/1 outsider. This means that a few people will stand to make rather a large and gruesome killing if Spencer's out come Friday night.

The outright winner odds at that time: Spencer 5/4 fav, Alex 5/1, Jonny 13/2, Adele 14/1, 20/1 bar. High street bookmakers suspended betting on Thursday morning following a flood of bets on Spencer to leave.

Jade didn't nominate as punishment for discussing her nominations last week. Her nominations alone wouldn't have changed anything.

Adele and Alex: PJ, Spencer

PJ, Spencer: Alex, Sophie

Jonny: Alex, Spencer

Kate: Alex, Jade

Sophie: Spencer, Jade

Adele and Alex share nominations for the second week running. Last week, Jonny, Kate and Sophie picked the same two; this time, they perm two from three. PJ moves from sharing nominations with Jade to sharing with Spencer, who was with Adele and Alex last week. Still no one has voted for Adele; neither did anyone nominate Nick in BB1 until his disqualification.

"Everybody's watching"

Spencer took a very bad press in Tuesday's show, Alex a decent showing. Spencer's reasons for nominating Alex were not broadcast. In the first two weeks, Spencer's reasons for nomination have been weak to the point of fragility. This is the first time that no reason at all has been shown on BB. Though less blatant, the balance wasn't redressed on subsequent nights.

There has been much criticism of the show this year: the press has been more hostile than usual, public attention has been stolen by the football, and the divide has attracted vocal criticism from much of the public. The public may be wrong, but they're certainly vocal.

As noted last week, Spencer led a revolt against BB, with a night of high jinks capped by Sandy's dramatic exit. It's possible that the entire C4 publicity machine has been turned against Spencer - unbalanced editing on the highlights show, blatant favouritism from Dermot on BBLB, the "keep Alex in" campaigns on RI:SE and Graham Norton.

Tara Pretentious-Tompkintwaddle was the guest on BBLB Wednesday. She was surprised that Sophie nominated Alex, though she didn't. She also began a long and complex sentence making a potentially interesting point, but forgot what it was half way through.

BBLB has been attracting weekday audiences of 700,000, with 1.4 million seeing Tim's entry on Sunday. Amongst non-traditional channels, only first run episodes of FRIENDS and BUFFY, and major football matches, have attracted such large viewing figures.

"Everybody's looking"

Tuesday sees a serious spat between Jade and Adele. Adele's sudden rage suggests that her masterplan might have been rumbled by the Sherlock Hemlock of the group, revealing a side of Adele that she'd rather we not see. BBLB shows Alex as the peacemaker and the one consoling Jade. The conflict is fuelled by drink: Jade and Adele had both been on the booze since lunchtime, on a hot day, and all their inhibitions went out the window. This wouldn't happen on side AA.

The root cause of this spat was that Jade had discovered a verruca on her foot. The BBLB segment concentrating on this was followed by a commercial for wart removal cream. It pays to pay attention to the ads.

"He is gonna kiss me"

Alex's parents appear on C4's breakfast show RI:SE on Friday morning, opposite an England football match. Viewing figures are estimated at 1: your correspondent. The parental units mention Alex's Brazilian girlfriend. Could this be a quiet way to slip out the news that Alex is dating a lady from the country that ended England's world cup shot?

Also on RI:SE is first footage of The Incredible Shuffling Blue Blanket Monsters. Three of the people on side AA crouch under their blankets, then one of them crawls through the bars to side A and raids the fridges. Chocolate was to be the target, as the team scoffed their gains while Jonny faced the wrath of BB. By the time he returned with a formal strike and orders to confiscate the loot, all that was left was one square. This is almost the best thing of the series, but not quite as jaw-dropping as Sandy's Exit.

"If he doesn't miss me"

Out this week: Spencer. Just about every other evictee has been frantic with excitement about leaving, but Spencer is coolness and calm personified. Instead of rushing about to pack and hug, he sits back and has a cigarette. The early favourite is out, 55-45 on a poll of 2.25 million, and I can't help but feel it's the wrong end of an almost impossible decision. It always seems to be the characters who leave fourth: Bubble last year, Nick in BB1.

Spencer steals the post-march interview with two well-chosen words:

EMD: The second thing is love, and Kate especially. Now, I'm a die-hard romantic...

S: You're married..?

I can see him doing well on live comedy.

For next week's task, the housemates will gather in a close approximation to a circle, and will rotate a Random Indicator Of Richness provided by BB; the first housemate the RIOR points to when it comes to rest will win a place in side A, the second will win a place in side AA. Those selected by the RIOR will then make alternate picks for their side.

The bars may come down the week after, which strikes me as being a week or two too soon. They're up, they're changing the dynamic of the house, and they can stay up till there are no more than six in the house. That's three weeks more.

All, some, or fewer of the notes on future tasks are accurate.


Of What Are Phasmophobics Afraid? It's not giving away huge amounts of money on prime time television, as Kwan wins £111,100 on THE VAULT. He's the first studio player to win the grand prize.

Another slightly different format for the elimination quiz on ANTAN DEC'S TAKEAWAY: the elimination question from GOING FOR GOLD. Albeit with 18 potential answers listed on the board. "What am I?" None of the alternatives was "A Henry Kelly."

I note the return of BIG BREAK to the Saturday night schedules, albeit as a repeat. Can a slot in the lunchtime game show hour be too far off?


Football is on Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. At the time of writing, exactly which broadcasters will air which matches during the week is to be confirmed. Expect schedule changes. England's exit means that widespread changes are unlikely.

Saturday on BBC1: BIG BREAK at 1730, REMOTELY FUNNY at 1855 and INIT at 1930.


Ha! Will BANZAI be replaced by unscheduled repeat of BBLB? Bet now! Bet now! Answer 2310 Su C4.

DIRTY MONEY continues all week. 90s editions of HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU are cheap filler at 1200 on BBC1 with WIPEOUT at 1230. (Maybe not Tu, We) The return of CATCHPHRASE, now hosted by erstwhile Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry at 1705. Don't forget to miss it.

This week's X-FIRE mission is Energy Crisis.

The COUNTDOWN final: 1615 Friday. The conundra from above are ELECTRIFY and DISMISSED

Phasmophobics are afraid of ghosts.

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