Weaver's Week 2002-07-20

Weaver's Week Index

20th July 2002

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

In the week when one dim peroxide blond asked another to strip, this also happened:

- Is it a 2p piece? Not quite.

- Alex lights the blue touchpaper...

- ...and Les retires


Keble Oxford 1987 -v- Open 1999.

Keble remained the UC champions for seven years, as the ITV network deemed UC too intelligent for their audience. Open is also a side undefeated - after rumours that members of the winning side had only taken their degrees to appear on the show, no other side from the institution has made the final 28.

Keble picks up an easy starter when asked about Shelly's expulsion from Oxford Uni. It's even easier when there's a former literature student on the team. A moment of madness sees Open confuse the Mandarins with the Satsumas. A lack of knowledge regarding what I'll notice sees Keble falter on two questions on Newfoundland, and not spotting a Tori Amos track. The sides are almost level going into the music, but Keble has the preponderance in the next quarter.

The lead is 80 by the second picture round. Though Open stages a comeback, their lengthy conferences run the clock down. Keble confuses the size of a housebrick with the size of a 2p piece, but the Oxford side are never going to be beaten. Keble wins, 210-135, not quite enough to trouble the top ten.

Steven Follows of Keble is the top scorer, making 77. David Good led for the Open, clocking 61. Keble made 22/33 bonuses and two penalties; Open 12/27 and three penalties.

The top ten:

345 Somerville 02

340 Keele 69

285 Open 85

275 Sidney Sussex Ca 77

260 Jesus Ox 86

255 Dundee 84

240 Imperial 96

240 Univ Ox 73

225 Trinity Ca 95

225 Imperial 01


This week's task is another Know Your Housemates challenge. The remaining five are given facts from the others' application forms, and asked to figure out which competitor said what. Interesting facts emerge - Tim's favourite single is Michael Jackson's 1987 opus "Man in the Mirror," while Alex's mother calls him "Poppy." [Sidebar: The book reviewed later reveals that Spencer named the same top tune, and the nickname isn't in.] The group is correct in 8 of 15 questions, allowing them a £200 budget, and one person to receive a 40 second call from home. Tim is the reluctant recipient, but puts the time with his mother to good use, and she dispels rumours that he's been ditched.

Jade orders some hair bleach with the budget, and the result is rather ginger. It soon wears off, but the stain on her vanity will prove more stubborn. Alex reports that Jade has been giving him headaches with her loud, screechy voice. No one is surprised.

Peter! Swing your swinger, just one more time.

Just as at this stage last year, one vote swings it. Last year Brian's was the clincher; this year Jade joins Kate and Jonny in voting out Alex and Tim. The two remaining members of The Harem of four weeks ago both pick Jade and Jonny. Could Jade be playing a far more canny game than anyone has given her credit? Will this convince The Great Public that she deserves a lot of respect? Time will tell.

Alex takes the news very hard. He mentioned on Sunday how he didn't feel like the same carefree person who entered the house, and had become more grumpy. Now he seriously talks about walking, an action that would bring the eviction vote to a crashing halt, and a possible £500,000 hole in Endemol / C4's revenue stream. Fortunately for C4's commitment to new and exciting shows, Poppy decides to stay put, but only after a two-hour chat with the psychotherapist. The "Stop Alex" plan outlined here three weeks ago - ditch Adele, then Jade and Tim - may not have worked as scheduled, but the results are there to see.

Humourwatch: Jade loses her remaining housemates. They're actually hiding behind the side AA shower and crouching the far side of the pool, but she cannot find them for love nor money. She goes to the Diary Room. "BB, I've lost my housemates." "Did you look carefully, everywhere?" says Duty BB, scarcely able to prevent herself from collapsing into hysterics. By the time Jade comes out, the fab four are back on the sunloungers as if nothing had happened. Though Jade leaves them with the shock, she's back within ten minutes. This return isn't shown on C4, as if Jade can't take a joke.

BB sets a singularly pointless task in which the five have to get dolled up in crash pads and helmets to have a roller disco in what was bedroom 2 but is now a floor with a few lights and a glitterball. Whenever the klaxon sounds, the team has three minutes to pad up and start skating about. All goes well until after midnight, when Tim declines to put in a new pair of disposable contact lenses purely to ponce about on skates. Not surprisingly, he argues the odds with Duty BB. Not surprisingly, Duty BB declines to show mercy. If Tim really feels that strongly about it, and is convinced that he's leaving Friday, why does he not walk and thoroughly mess with BB's head? The front door can be opened from inside. This is just one of the ways Tim has taken over Spencer's role as House Rebel, to go along with his lead role in the near-revolt after the divide remained two weeks ago, and his uber-cynical attitude to the game. Tim is smart enough to remember that without the contestants, the show is nothing. Though he does remind me of David Baddiel's character afflicted with a Sarcastic Tone Of Voice.

Poppy provides a masterclass in how to engineer a fight in the BB house. He tells Jade exactly what he thinks of her, then Jade goes off and disturbs Jonny and Kate's reverie to confront them with Alex's tales, they suggest that she goes and argues with Alex, not them, and it all ends up with Jonny getting so agitated he loses his temper with the Londoner.

Unintentional humourwatch: Alex to Jade "You should have been out here weeks ago." Alex doesn't know that he owes his survival in the house to a seriously dodgy result.

Beckham's Booted Out. Association football player David Beckham has been dropped as the face of a haircare product in favour of Alex. This announcement presupposes that he will actually accept the job. If not, expect face and egg in close proximity. Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow wants to recruit Jade as a stripper, prompting the headline earlier. Lee and Sophie have decided to become an item, following the success of Tom and Claire from two years ago.

Even BBLB is unable to pretend that this week's eviction vote is close. 1.5 million votes cast; with 80% of them, Tim's going, and he's worried about the crowd reaction. What has Tim done to upset people? Not much that I can see. And certainly nothing to deserve the shameful chorus of boos, though he takes the eedjits like a trouper, concentrating on the ladies throwing knickers.

Who wins? Though I really like the way Alex has done pieces directly to camera, he's been the cause of too much conflict and he drones on and on. Jade is out of her depth; she's secured the backing of A Daily Tabloid, but I don't think this will swing the vote her way. Kate and Jonny have combined to be the life of the house, and I'd be chuffed if either of them could win. There is no obvious candidate to win at this stage, and anyone could finish anywhere. Who wins? You decide.


A few new books that might be of interest to our readers.

BIG BROTHER: HOW TO GET IN AND STAY IN is the latest tie-in to the hit constructed reality show that everyone's watching. It profiles all 14 contestants, and makes mention of Sophie's exit three weeks ago. The sketches and handwriting samples familiar to dedicated viewers of BBLB are there, though without Dermot's constructive criticism. The official book will probably follow in August, hopefully correcting the glaring error in the introduction. Further printings will, I trust, resolve the occasional error in proofing the book - one article cuts off in mid sentence, leaving


SURVIVOR PANAMA is the official book of the contractually obligated hit constructed reality show that no one watched because it was monkeyed about the schedules. Like last year's book, the narrative centres around the internal politicking, rather than revolving on the challenges. Unlike last year's book, there are fewer revelations between the covers, but this owes more to the sensible editing of SURVIVOR and RAW than to any lapses by the author. Celeb SURVIVOR (just don't call it that) begins in around a month.

HOW LONG IS A PIECE OF STRING asks Rob Eastaway, who when he's not appearing on Radio 4's Puzzle Panel is a mathematician and writer. One of the chapters in his new book of expositionary mathematics explains the logic that contestants on Millionaire might use, and hints at a strategy for potential Links, Weak or otherwise.

And Celador has finally published a WINNING LINES quizbook, even though the show is no longer on our screens. You too can pretend to be sat at the Wonderwall being out-sarcasticated by Simon Mayo. And wonder why they bother with the other two rounds. Could this presage the show's return to network television? We will see.


Maverick host Chris Evans has broken his sabbatical and is returning to television. Amongst other projects, he'll be developing two entertainment shows for C4 that may just have a game show element. Also in the pipeline are a daily entertainment programme on C5 - hosted by Radio 1 DJ and gameshow fan Chris Moyles, this could rival BBC3's LIQUID NEWS as the place for celeb gossip. Former BLANKETY BLANK host Terry Wogan will present a morning show for the channel, but not until he's done the Radio 2 breakfast show.

As one door opens, so another closes. Les Dennis announces that he's to leave FAMILY FORTUNES after 16 years. The show will be revamped specifically for a daytime audience, with lower prizes and Canned Crowd (TM) in place of an audience. Dennis's predecessors on FF were the inimitable Bob Monkhouse, and the ill-suited Max Bygraves.


Back to normal on BBC1 this week: BIG BREAK 1740, REMOTELY UNFUNNY 1810, WEAKEST LINK Drag Queens 1845, INIT 1935. ITV has taken away Antan Dec.

A third slot for repeats of LOST! on Discovery Home and Leisure - 2230 Saturday, immediately after the BB task. Followed by LATE NIGHT POKER. LOST! also airs twice on Monday nights.

Bad news for Marcus Bentley fans, as DIRTY MONEY comes off air for the summer. WIPEOUT and KEYHOLE are on 1, UNDER OFFER and NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD on ITV, HOT PROPERTY on 5. We have WEAKEST LINK USA on Monday, UK editions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Alan Titchmarsh remake of ASK THE FAMILY is on UK Gold at around 0455 each morning.

The Men In White are back this week, so no FIFTEEN TO ONE or COUNTDOWN on Thursday or Friday. Unless it rains, or the match is all over in time for tea.

This also impacts on the BIG BROTHER final night. BB's LITTLE BROTHER will be on E4 only, at 1900 for an hour. Then it's straight back to the house. EMD removes the loser and the third placed person from 2030, coverage continues on E4. At 2130, both channels go off and do something else. 2200 sees coverage on E4 and C4 as the winner is announced. Lights out about 2300. In case you missed it, a rather pointless BBLB repeat at 2340 on C4, followed by a repeat of the 2200 C4 show.

And finally. Nick Bateman, whose time in the Big Brother house came to a premature ejection, pops up (along with 40 nubile chums) in THE BIG BANG on The Adult Channel.

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