Weaver's Week 2002-08-03

Weaver's Week Index

3rd August 2002

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

In the week when ITV made a new commission, this also happened:

- UCR moves to a final

- Celebs turn down a trip to Australia

- And anyone for a house somewhere?


Fitzwilliam Cambridge 73 -v- Churchill Cambridge 70

The last match of the opening rounds.

It's even early on, the scored tied after the first pictures. The spelling bonuses - "salchow," "repechage", "Tsukahara" are amazingly easy for me, because I'm watching this with in vision captions. By the music round, Churchill has opened a 65 point lead.

A "music" round containing movie clips brought Fitzwilliam back within 15, with honours roughly even up to the second picture round, a bravura display of royal family trees by David Wurtzel.

Thumper is deservedly nasty on Gareth Aicken of Churchill who hums and haws on a starter the host had said needed to be answered at once. Another Churchill missignal and knowledge that the Forth bridge is a cantilever gives Fitzwilliam the lead, and we're so near the end that Churchill can't come back. Fitzwilliam wins, 180-165.

Simon Tute leads for Fitzwilliam on 52, with Michael Halls 50, David Wurtzel 49 showing how even the team was. Gareth Aicken actually has the highest individual score of the night, 54. Fitzwilliam took 19/27 bonuses with one missignal, Churchill 18/27 with three missignals.

The final 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

The top four will come back to dispute the title of Reunited Champions over the next three weeks. Keele and Open next week.


A jaunty piece of music and a purple-and-orange set makes this show look like something off Channel 5 circa 1997. It's not; it's new to ITV, and former BLUE PETER presenter Yvette Fielding hosts it. Team captain Fred Dinenage hosted GAMBIT once upon a time; opponent Toyah Willcox is perhaps best known for being the voice of the flowers on TELETUBBIES. Each captain has a C-list celeb to help and/or hinder.

The format is not taxing: we're quickly shown round some houses, told the location, and asked to name the price. The agent may keep a trick up his sleeve, such as an attractive garden that gets flooded by sewage. Then the celebs get to rebid, the real price is revealed, and the host hands out points on an only slightly arbitrary basis.

After three houses, there's a buzzer round, based on the description of a fourth house. Find the price of that house, and declare a winner.

In general, I find house and decoration shows to be about as interesting as watching paint dry. This one is perhaps a cut above the rest - four houses and seven bidding rounds in 22 minutes means the pace has to be kept high, and the punful voiceover keeps the attention. It's not intellectually demanding, but neither is it tawdry. Overall, then, a bit of a charmer.


WUDJA? CUDJA? An overexcited bimbette hostess challenges twentysomethings to do silly things, like snog blokes or stuff sawdust down their bikinis, for filthy lucre. This would be the cheap JACKASS ripoff, then. Everything has some sort of salacious overtones, and I'm going to stop this review now before it turns into a Family Morality rant.

ELIMIDATE: An overexcited bimbette hostess asks a contestant to live with four possible suitors, removing one of them at various points during proceedings. This would be the CHAINED ripoff, then, only without Mel. Or the chain. Or the humour. Or the viewers; next Thursday's episode will be the last on ITV. The rest of the series may well be burned off on ITV2.

NICKED! After successful pilots in Azerbaijan in April last year, and in Canada last August, ITV has commissioned a full series of NICKED! The quiz show will test the veracity of some contestants, known as "The Accused," and the recall skills of another team, believed to be known as "The Witlesses." The Accused for the opening show will be a Major Charles Ingram, his wife Diane - both of Wiltshire - and Tecwen Whittock, a college lecturer from Swansea. A fourth man, believed to be the Major's brother, may join them. The charge is deception and conspiracy, and the witlesses will include an expert on coughing. Asking the questions will be an overexcited Justice Cocklecarrot, and we expect a guest appearance from Chris Tarrant. NICKED! will be recording at a studio near you in the autumn (if you live near the Old Bailey). Top prize will be one million pounds: the losers can expect an invitation to the second series of JAILBREAK.

Overseas readers may not know that, under the rules of NICKED!, discussion of strategies with those not appearing in the game is strictly forbidden. As Weaver does not wish to make a special guest appearance on the show, he will not discuss strategies at this point.

Alert readers may recall mention that Diane Ingram had written a book, "Win A Million." Amazon.co.uk does not return any searches for this product, suggesting that it's been written but never published.

THE MACHINE: An overexcited computer generated bimbette asks general knowledge questions. This is *very* late night entertainment, airing around 1 in the morning. The format is multiple choice questions, mostly questions that wouldn't be out of place in the second tier of MILLIONAIRE. Contestants have two and a half minutes to answer questions; correct answers gain points, wrong answers lose points, the highest scores of the series come back in the final. Heavy use of realistic computer graphics means this is visually impressive while being rather cheap to produce. The only problem is that the voice is heavily processed and flattened into a monotone that wears after a few minutes. A few different speech modules - or just one that more closely imitates a human - would have solved that problem. For what it is, though, this is a surprisingly good show.


Saturday: Celebrated 9.9m / 49% viewing figures for the finale. These are the highest figures C4 has achieved since a French serial drama captured the nation's attention in early 1985. It's the highest audience share for the channel ever.

Sunday: The BBLB Leaving Party, at which some awards were handed out, voted for by some viewers. The Best Diary Room Moment was Tim's argument with BB over the roller disco task, in which he asked if BB did "comprendez?" The Most Dramatic Moment was Jade and Adele's verruca argument. The Most Awkward Moment was Jade's strip. The Funniest Moment was Kate falling over while putting on a fourth pair of trousers during her flying visit to join Tim on Side A. The Best Moment was Alex hiding behind the door and mouthing along to some 70s tune.

All of these clips have been played to death on BBLB.

Monday: Wondered why the Daily Tabloid has paid Jade £500,000. The media circus - AM:TV, FA:LL, Chris:Moyles with Jonny (who invited our hero on a date to a well known monarchist burger chain; he also invited Alex and Jade to appear, but their agents wanted lucre).

Tuesday: Sniggered at reports in the Daily Comic that she's going to appear on the BBC's EASTENDERS. Raised eyebrows at reports that two contestants threatened to walk from the US edition, and that the producers are messing with the footage to show contestants in a different light. Full details: www.jokersupdates.com. Went shopping at a store that sounds like Lebenhams, and heard that a fashion magazine that sounds like Brogues wants to do a shoot.

Wednesday: Returned to Beckenham. Rolled eyebrows at internet support group Big Brother Addicts Anonymous. Ranted at parent who nearly got himself killed running a trailing car off the road. Blew off interview with the Daily Pornographersrag; do photoshoot with the Glossy Pornographersrag. Wore £1400 dress, looked better in T-Shirt and jeans. Said "yes" for ten minutes, Alex not invited.

Thursday: Interview with London Commercial Radio, issued spoof challenge to box Jade for 200 grand. Modelled new away strip at Highbury. Signing copies of IBB with Alison, Jonny, Spencer, Sunita, Tim, PJ, Lynne, Jade. Squares things off with Jade.

Friday: Spent day laughing at Daily Comic's front page, taking the challenge seriously. If only she'd have taken the interview on GLR, none of this would have happened.

Saturday: Appear on SMTV with Jade and last year's winner Brian. (There's a reason why this mailing is slightly early. This is that reason. SMTV starts at 0925.)

Those who don't get E4 can see the compilation doc (and the rest of Friday) at 2200 Saturday on C4. This is positively the last BB item, a mere three months after the HOW NOT TO GET ON doc. Next: CELEB BIG BROTHER 2, coming to a house near you (so long as you live near Elstree) in November.


Further reports of ITV's CELEBRITY SURVIVOR suggest Nell McAndrew (a model, according to the reports), Darren Day (a singer, it says here), Christine Hamilton (chat show host), and Ed Byrne (comic) are lined up for time in the Outback. Paul McKenna and Melinda Messenger have become unavailable. The whole thing kicks off in mid August; the chances of the show actually being D-LIST CELEBRITY LOST! are annoyingly low.

As if his current plans weren't enough, Simon Fuller intends to launch WORLD IDLE, pitting the cream of the talent (or winners of POP IDLEs) from around the world in one, massive, Eurovision-style show.

Further trouble on the US edition of DOG EAT DOG, when the finale hinges on the question "Which president said 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself'?" The guessing guy said "Roosevelt," but host Brooke Bond didn't ask for clarification: Teddy, FDR, or someone else. Bond has clearly been employed for her looks, as she's even more lost by these trivia questions than Annie or Ulrikakakakaka.


Just when you thought the sport had finished... the Commonwealth Games end on Sunday, but there's European athletics all over the schedule from Tuesday. And the Men In White are back from Thursday.

On the upside, we do have another WEAKEST LINK special 1925 Sa. It's "People We Love To Hate." Will Sandy be there? Followed by the return of WINNING LINES, hosted by Philip "Gopherman" Schofield.

Also on the upside, we have a new series of THE ENEMY WITHIN. Nasty Nigel hosts at 1230 weekdays BBC1.

C5 moves back into the daytime quiz market, with BRAINTEASER. Alex Lovell hosts as four contestants take part in word puzzles. Viewers can phone and email in, apparently. 1330 daily for an hour.

SWAPHEADS takes its bow on C5 at 1900 Monday. Jonny Ball hosts, so it's going to be good already. Contestants have a keen interest, and have eight hours to learn about the opponent's specialist subject. On Monday, Britney Spears takes on the Third Reich; on Wednesday, it's David Beckham versus space travel; and on Friday, it's Kylie versus killer sharks. Place bets now! Kylie! Killer shark! Kylie! Killer shark!

Paul Kaye hosts LIAR on BBC2 at 2130 Monday, in which six people claim to have done something, and it's up to the audience to decide who was wrong to split a cash pot.

Daily entertainment roundup LIQUID NEWS moves back to 1900 from this week. Claudia Winkleman and Colin Patterson will fail to fill Christopher Price's shoes on a permanent basis.

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