Weaver's Week 2002-06-29

Weaver's Week Index

29th June 2002

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

In the week when it emerged Gordon Brown is a big fan of BIG BROTHER, this also happened:

- The COUNTDOWN final, which seems far more appropriate for this Scot.

- A prudent week on THE VAULT.

- And you won't find any accounting fraud on live televised musical chairs.


Series 37 came to an end this week. Last week's results:

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

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

Mon: [3] Lee Hartley lost to Kevin Thurlow [6], 93-106 Kevin's error - seeing an incorrect second O in LOCATION - in round nine allows Lee to open a lead. He repairs the damage in the following numbers round, using all four big numbers. An unexpected SLAUGHTER in round eleven bumps up both scores, but one cannot have multiple LAUGHTERS. Kevin takes a significant lead with INSHORE the following round, only for Lee to pull back with DOMINATE. It all boils down to the conundrum, BORINGHUE, which Kevin takes in three seconds.

Tue: [4] Wendy Roe lost to Rupert Stokoe [5], 99-80 Wendy displayed some GARMENTS to take an 8-0 lead, but missed ARGUMENTS in that round. Rupert came back with a better numbers game to cut the gap to one. Regular offering LEOTARDS cropped up, as did the appropriate CARDIES, BONDAGE and INEPTLY. Rupert took four large numbers to a nine point lead, and took the conundrum UNDEDTUNA to widen the gap.

Wed: [1] Chris Wills bt Rupert Stokoe [5], 118-78 Smart Alec Richard Digance's shirt blends seamlessly into the garish orange background. A better advert for black and white television you will not see, except when Richard's wearing *that* jacket. Chris romps ahead in the second period, ATTIRED, GORMLESS and HEPATIC his winning words. SPECTRAL in round 12 secures the lead, and conundrum TINYDINGI in less than a second expands the lead. Chris looks unstoppable.

Thu: [2] Tom Hargreaves bt Kevin Thurlow [6], 109-93 Not the most exciting of games: Tom moves ahead in round 2 with PROMISED, doubled his lead in round 8 with CLARINET, both contestants got RADICLES, and neither got conundrum OUTERSUNS. Chris Wills did.

Fri: [1] Chris Wills bt Tom Hargreaves [2], 110-67 Both contestants passed 1000 points in their semifinal appearances. A very sticky round 3 gives HOMAGE for Chris and a slim lead, which is increased when Tom submits the nonsense ROADSALE. Tom picks six small numbers, only to see Chris take the ten and a 23 point lead after the first period. There are a huge number of puns around TRIANGLE, then OBTRUDES turns Chris' lead into a winning margin. Tom pulls back with GLACIER, the first time a contestant has reduced a lead since Tuesday. Chris takes ADOPTIVE for a larger lead, but both miss their VIDEOTAPE. The conundrum will never be crucial, Chris solving ENDVICTOR in less than a second.

Richard notes that Tom appeared on the Boxing Day Opener as well as the final. Monday will see a contestant return to attempt to become an octochamp - if she makes the next final, she will have taken almost seven months to complete her run on the show.


It wasn't quite the game of Spin The Bottle that this column suggested last week, but Musical Chairs tends to be just as random. BB pipes in 30 second bursts of something approximating to music, and when it stops, the team must try to sit down. Jonny is first eliminated, and he will lead the side AA team. The second round sees one of the chairs to be eliminated - its leg broke in the palaver. The final comes down to a face-off between Alex and Tim. The new boy executes a superb seat reversal thrust, but fails to capitalise on this advantage as the posterior-floor interface comes into play, allowing Alex to come out of nip and claim the seat as his own. Alex wins again. He will lead the side A team for the second week.

Because he claims not to have read the instructions carefully, Alex is surprised that he has to pick other people to remain on side A. First pick is PJ, the only person to be on side AA for both previous weeks. Jonny brings Sophie over, she's been on side A for the past fortnight. After an interminable thinking time, Alex picks Adele for his team, Tim goes to side AA, and Alex completes his harem with Jade. The teams in a nutshell:

Side A, Alex, PJ, Adele, Jade

Side AA, Jonny, Sophie, Tim, Kate

Alex's rationale: Kate can handle side AA better than Jade, and he took a gamble that Jonny wouldn't take Tim with his second pick. Tim "has three strikes and intends to use them." Kate has a Cunning Plan which needs Jade's help.

I Bring Marshmallows: One good thing about Spencer coming out of the house now is the way he's able to test some of television's best and/or most viewed interviewers. He rode roughshod over Davina on exit night, and slowly ground away Dermot's patience on BBLB. GMTV's Andy Droid blew a fuse, while Kirsty and Colin on RI:SE actually made a decent fist of their time with him.

Ha! Betting Ends! The odds before nominations... For Eviction: Sophie 4/6, Jade 5, Tim 12, Jonny 20.

To win: Alex 17/20, Jonny 19/4, Adele 12.

Peter, the swingometer:

Adele - Jonny and PJ

Alex - Jonny and Kate

Jade, Tim - Sophie and Jonny

Jonny - Alex and Tim

Kate - Alex and Jade

PJ - Sophie and Adele

Sophie - Jade and Tim

Never mind the bars, we see the *real* divide here: Alex's close-knit harem of Adele, Jade, and Tim; versus a looser alliance of PJ, Kate, Jonny and Sophie. I'm amazed that Adele and Jade used almost the same words to nominate Jonny, and neither BB nor his LB raised a single murmur. Also that Adele clearly threatened Jade with physical violence during their spat last week, and we've not seen BB discuss this with her.

Kate has been coming across well on the nightly shows, she's just about the only person who has really thrived on side AA. With Kate joining the hatefest against Sophie after nominations, it looks like Sophie will be nominated until she goes. This may not be a long process.

In true SURVIVOR fashion, Kate's side has to work out which two members of the harem are most likely to distract the others, and vote unanimously for them. Tim is still in a vulnerable position, while Jade and Adele could yet be split. Unless the harem votes for two people en bloc, three votes will be enough to put someone up for the chop. Next week's nominations will be fascinating.

BBLB concentrates on Alex's beard (it's gone) and Tim's hair dye (he's really ginger, and it's due to run out after three weeks.) Spencer's two word interviews are far more fun, and not just because the sadists at Chateau Weaver like to see telly people work for their money.

Tuesday night saw Jade almost forcing herself on PJ, in a manner that would have resulted in (at least) a severe talking to had the roles been reversed.

Wednesday night saw Jade spend time (almost two hours) with the non-resident resident psychiatrist. As ever, discussions of this nature are confidential to the cameras. Endemol employs the psychiatrist; reporting lines to the production staff are not made clear. Davina confirms that he doesn't discuss anything about the outside world, but I'm unsure how he can avoid indicating how the contestants are shown.

Thursday lunchtime sees Jade and Sophie initiate a long confessional make-up session, the kind that could all be for effect, lasts well into the evening, and is straight out of the Ally McBore playbook. Jade also tells Adele that she and PJ did reach home base.

Alex and Adele reckon Jade will be stabbing them both in the back. Adele claims to have spoken of this to BB a fortnight ago. This does not square with Tuesday's confession, televised on C4 the following night, of how Adele and Jade were *that* close. Adele openly admits that she's concealing her feelings to other people in the house; this is her gameplan and she's sticking with it. And if that translates into one nomination from within the harem, plus two from outside, Jade will be up for the vote, and right now she might have difficulty staying in against Osama bin Laden. Alex's remark about Jade makes it to C4; Adele's response doesn't. Adele later notes that "there are getting to be more of *us*," clearly indicating that she's in cahoots with Alex.

The effects of the psychiatrist's visit seem profound - Jade has started using long words, almost without knowing what they mean. Jonny has become the comedy genius of early weeks, while Alex has remained the fun-loving harem leader. It would be very interesting to see Alex lead his harem on side AA - the on-screen psychologist suggested that he was only popular because he could provide for his angels. Perhaps Jade and Sophie know they have been scrapping for the last place in Alex's harem.

Perhaps a little belatedly, Kate is turning into the gossip monger. She hears Jade and Tim badmouth Sophie, reports their words to her, then feeds back to Jade before stepping back and watching Jade spin into a tizzy.

Can Alex be beaten? Perhaps. Those who never wanted to be in the harem need to get rid of Adele's influence as soon as possible; that means she must go up against someone who can easily beat her, which may be Alex. Then get Tim up for the vote, he goes, Jade will go easily, leaving Alex in the final four and isolated and there's just a chance that he might not handle this lack of people to control quite so well. That would probably gift the win to Jonny. The whole scheme depends on Kate and PJ convincing Jonny to vote with them without openly discussing nominations. This is not a trivial task, as Jonny isn't the most receptive to such shenanigans.

Results time: Just over a million votes, an 85-15 split. Leaving tonight, to the surprise of no one, is Sophie. Hugs all round and a post-march interview that tells us little we hadn't already spotted, please.

The next task: according to the Earth Mother, contestants will be asked questions about the other contestants. A correct answer is a ticket to side A, an incorrect answer results in exile to side AA. If all contestants end up on side A, the bars come down. If all contestants end up on side AA, the production team panics. You hear it here first!


How To Make Earth Mother Davina's Mouth Drop Open (7): Answer all ten questions in the opening round in a minute, thus giving yourself £7000 and the host of THE VAULT a most unexpected 109 seconds of airtime to fill. It's a rollover for tonight's series finale.

I mentioned two weeks ago that ANTAN DEC'S TAKEAWAY would need to evolve to stay fresh. Just three weeks in, we have new features. The Interrogation, in which the new boyfriend meets the father and takes a lie detector test and everyone gets very embarrassed and it's clear from minute two that the couple get a holiday somewhere exotic (or Ibiza, depending on budget.) Call To Win An Ad, in which viewers call up to win a commercial.

It might be interesting if the contestant could pick their break based on skill and judgement, rather than leaving it to chance. Letting the contestant see what they're gambling away might also add excitement - had this week's contestant seen their poor selection of prizes, I'm sure the gamble would be on.


Last week of the football: Saturday, Sunday and that's it. Wimbledon continues through the showers all week, so nothing quizzy on BBC2.

Saturday on BBC1: BIG BREAK at 1735, FRIENDS LIKE THESE 1805, REMOTELY FUNNY 1900 and INIT at 1935.

On ITV: last trip to THE VAULT 1830, ANTAN DEC 1915, FAMILY FORTUNES 2020.

Last week, Lady One Question spoke to Bob Holness for over two and a half minutes without saying anything. In this week's BANZAI, Mr Keith Harris and Mr Nookie Bear have a battle of the stuffed dummies. 2305 Sunday C4.

PLAY ALONG SCRABBLE is on CHALLENGE? at 1815 weeknights.

A new series of JUST A MINUTE on R4 1830 Monday (and 1204 next Sunday) stars gentlemen Merton, Freud, Duncan-Smith and Clary.

This week's X-FIRE mission is Code Breaker. After a team topped the leader board after going standard on the final mission, they look favourites to come back in the finale two weeks hence.

ELIMIDATE, in which a member of Atomic Kitten helps four girls compete with one guy then four guys compete for one girl. Included here for completeness, and because it's a quiet week. 2230 Thu ITV, an "Uncut" version at 2230 Fri ITV2.

Those conundrum answers in alphabetical order: CONTRIVED, INDIGNITY, NEIGHBOUR, STRENUOUS, UNDAUNTED.

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