Weaver's Week 2012-10-21

Last week | Weaver's Week Index | Next week

The Great British Bake Off Tuesday's winner.

We were gearing ourselves up for the greatest battle in television history, at least of this year. On ITV, England against Poland in a crucial men's football qualifier. On the BBC, this year's final of The Great British Bake Off. Two shows enter, one show gets rained off, because the Football Gods wrung out their towel, and the Polish people thought, "naah, it's only a minor deluge of biblical proportions" and left the roof open. This caused the pitch in Warsaw to turn into a waterbed, Ed Miller Band to call for an independent inquiry, and Adrian Chiles to fill for an increasingly silly hour. Not only did this hand victory on a very well-presented plate to Mel and Sue (and their baker John Whaite), but it also meant that The Chasers got an unexpected day off because the match was rescheduled for 4pm on Wednesday. Deal or No Deal pulled out its big guns, getting in One Direction and Barack Obama, and Breakaway confused its triple-word and triple-letter scores so we're never playing a word game with them. And good news for Alistair and Richard, as Pointless lost its opposition. Well done if you predicted all those at home.




Chocolate Media (a Universal Media Studios International Ltd company) for Channel 4, from 21 September

Ah, it's so long since we had a good dating show. Why, it must be as many as six days since we cut the lights on ITV's Take Me Out, and literally hundreds of minutes since The Love Machine was last on UKTV Living. We've had E4's Love Shaft, Fiver's Love Bus, and Discovery Travel and Adventure's Love On a Large Lorry. But it is a long time since we had a good dating show, for all of these were a bit rubbish. The wait continues, for Baggage is another not-very-good dating show.

Baggage What's in the case, Mr. Rayce?

The basic idea of Baggage is quite simple. A chap comes out, wheeling a large and a small suitcase. After introducing himself, he'll open the small piece of luggage, and reveal something mildly embarrassing about himself. Then host Gok Wan will bring out three ladies, all of them bringing in a veritable suite of travel bags. In turn, these lasses will introduce themselves, and open the smallest of their suitcases. Again, in these cases are mildly embarrassing facts.

The next set of cases are opened by Gok and his flight assistants alone, and though we get to see the slightly more embarrassing secret it contains, we don't know which of the women it refers to. Based on the statement alone, and perhaps some guesswork based on the facts previously revealed, the gentleman must choose to eliminate one of the ladies from the game.

Baggage The assistants warm up for Synchronised Suitcase-Opening.

Everything on this show is themed around the idea of an airport. In the opening titles, Gok is dressed as a pilot, with flight assistants in high heels. The "blind baggage" arrived on a luggage carousel, and next up is some "surprise baggage". Ah, but surely this blows the airport motif sky-high. We can just imagine the conversations at check in. "Did you pack your baggage yourself, modom?" "Yes. Apart from my mother here, she packed herself." "Oh, dear, modom. You won't be flying tonight, or any night."

With the assistance of the secrets revealed by family and friends, and one final something in a suitcase, the gentleman makes his choice of potential date. Oh, who are we kidding? After the initial blind rejection, the suitor is able to choose his lady based on looks and personality as well as the negative – and positive – reasons explained.

Baggage Good news for frequent travellers, there.

It's clear that Baggage is formatted to within an inch of its life. Host Gok Wan could almost be replaced by a Gokbot, because he talks only in cliché – all the women are "my darling", every suitcase is "opened up" – both in the physical and metaphorical sense. This isn't surprising, as Baggage has been imported from the United States of Yankeeland, where they don't believe in spontaneity or unpredictability, and even Big Brother is written by a team of trained monkeys.

For the final round here, there's a difference. The gentleman and his chosen lady will hear two pieces of baggage. She has to decide which of them is true, and if she chooses the correct one, they're going off on a romantic holiday together. Footage of those trips will be included in the next show. But if she guesses wrongly, or "guesses" wrongly, neither of them will be leaving the country.

Baggage Will he choose the secret she packed? And will anyone care?

After the half-way break, the show repeats, but with a lady choosing one of three gentlemen.

As format go, this is pretty thin stuff. People we've never met reveal mildly embarrassing things about themselves (for instance, "there's mould growing in my car") on national telly, for the decent prospect of a holiday. The theme music – a strident brassy piece – is played in at every opportunity, which is a bit too often. Play it a little less and we might like it. The set design is dominated by the carousel, but never succeeds in looking like an airport.

Baggage Who are you and why are you on my carousel?

"Who are you and why are you on my carousel?", that's another of RoboGok's lines. We could ask something similar: who are you and why are you on Channel 4? When we first heard about Baggage, we assumed that it would be going out on the youth-focussed E4, probably with a repeat on the weekend T4 strand. That worked for Love Shaft, as much as anything to do with Love Shaft worked.

We certainly didn't expect Baggage to be parachuted into primetime on the main Channel 4, and we're not terribly surprised that the audience reaction tended to the negative. We don't blame Gok Wan for writing "Glad you're all enjoying Baggage it was so much fun to make. Love ALL the contestants.. Especially the quirky ones!", and we don't dispute it's true. It's just that that was the only slightly positive thing anyone had to say about the first show.

To be absolutely fair, Gok and his team try very hard, and do manage to add something to the game. At the end, it is a very thin format, about as thick as wet tissue paper. It's never going to be brilliant television, but it is a decent enough show if one's into that sort of slightly gratuitous emotional openness. We really don't think it's right for Channel 4 on Friday nights, though.

Baggage You love it... if we fly.

Only Connect

Heat 8: Accountants v Cinephiles

"We don't bother with 'gimmicks' or 'prizes'," promises the host. The Accountants all work at an accountancy firm; the Cinephiles contain Nancy Dickmann who – yes – appeared with other Masterminders at the start of the year. That was then, this is now.

The Cinephiles begin, and could have had three if they'd buzzed earlier; the colour of blood gets them a pair. Accountants have pictures; no, these aren't spoons with a fruit in their name, and we're never going to accept "kitchen implements". Implements with food in their name. "Ways that people died" is a suggestion for the next clue, then they figure it's ways they killed Kenny in South Park. We've not yet seen the report of their FA Cup match against the Metropolitan Police yesterday, but we do know the cops won 3-0.

Four descriptions of people called John Smith just about evades the teams. In the music round, it helps to know the pieces; "Gladiator march", Hans Zimmer's theme from Gladiator the film, "March of the Gladiators", and the theme from Gladiators the game show. "Thou shalt commit adultery" and "Go on and sin on more" are not Spike Milligan quotes, but misprints from printings of the Bible. All of which leaves the Cinephiles on 5 points.

Into sequences, and Nancy knows all about the children of David and Victoria Beckham, knowledge for three points. If 3 is Edinburgh then surely 6 is Manchester, because 2 is Birmingham, 4 is Glasgow, 5 Liverpool, and 9's Wearside. 7 and 8 were Regent's Park and Twickenham. Two points there, and two for the Cinephiles on children of the royal family.

Scarlet and Four and Baskervilles are obviously Sherlock Holmes stories, but what's the last word in the title of the last book? "Reichstag"? Maybe Reichenbach, as in the falls, but "Fear" earns a bonus. Watches for the Cinephiles, who quickly get it's naval watches, and guess 1600 Dog; Victoria buys it, the formal name is First Dog, a watch lasting two hours. Concentrations of perfume for the Accountants, their Essence is too weak, it's "Eau de Cologne" to give another bonus to the Cinephiles, who now lead 14-2.

Only Connect (2) Accounting for this: Itzhak Matthai, Thomas Gough, Drew Firth.

Connecting walls 207 and 208 on the Only Connect website. The Accountants have types of arch, and places in the Lake District. There's "True Blue", a movie about rowing (but also a Madonna song). "What's Millom" – yep, one of the Cumbrian places. Where does Mastaba fit into anything? What's a Cist? Are those assets frozen, or another Madge track? There's lots of tapping, guessing amongst the twelve options, but to no effect. Things that can have "Bank" in front of them, burial structures, and Madonna records evade the team. Two points!

For the Cinephiles, there are places on the same train line out of Paddington. Places on the Thames is accurate, and the one the Only Connect gremlins were thinking of. Sorts of glasses, boggy ground, and characters from Family Guy complete the group in approximately a minute. Ten points!

Which means Mssng Vls is for the birds, the Cinephiles lead 24-4. But this round can be crucial in closer games, like the Cinephiles' next one. They do well on longer rounds, like comedians born in Wales, and the tricky "Augusta National" scramble in golf courses. The final winning score is 33-8.

That was the last heat, and we've seen the winners. Whoever they are!

This Week And Next

It was UCL against Exeter in this week's University Challenge heat, the antepenultimate in the series. Exeter got all three bonuses in the first set, already an improvement on last week. Thumper got far too excited when there was a conference on a starter: no need to lose your head, sir, it's only a game show. There was a visual round on Roman roads: would the judges have accepted "A-I", "A-IV", and "A-V" as answers? No? Thought not.

University Challenge UCL: Adam Papaphilippopoulos, Tom Tyszczuk Smith, Simon Dennis, Tom Parton
Exeter: James Bellamy, William O'Rourke, Rob Bental, John Ault.

UCL got a question about utilitarianism, the specialist subject of The Stuffed Jeremy Bentham, whose head could not attend the recording. Their captain Simon Dennis managed to take a sip of water and answer a question at the same time, a feat of multi-tasking unprecedented in University Challenge history. Exeter's early lead was swiftly eclipsed, with UCL taking a 50-point advantage by the audio round, in which the teams were Rickrolled. Later, UCL are caught out by the Great American Muffin Bake-Off. Not that it mattered: UCL's lead was over 100, everyone got at least one starter, and Mr. Dennis had 11. Not quite a Gail Trimble, but very close. UCL's winning score was 260-85.

After last week's error-fest, this week's Mastermind had to be better – didn't it?

  • Chris Quinn (Novels of Roddy Doyle) never really gets out of third gear en route to 8 (3). His general knowledge round, that's a fifth gear job, rocketing up to 27 (3). That's a nineteen-point general knowledge performance! Excellent work.
  • Bart Smith (Fanny Craddock) has a bright shirt and recovers from a sluggish start to 9 (1). His second stint begins with a few passes, but recovers to 25 (5). Another week, that's a winner.
  • Helen Marshall (Catherine of Aragon) has a strong round on Henry VIII's first wife, 12 (1). Crisp answers and swift passes allow her to advance to 28 (3).
  • Jonathan Gordon (French Grand Opera, 1823-1900) gets off to a flying start, and scores a promising 13 (0). His second appearance feels a little wobbly, but he keeps his head up, and finishes on 29 (0).

So Jonathan will be returning in the second round, and there's a decent chance Helen will join him. Spare a thought for Chris Quinn, whose general knowledge round may be one of the best we'll see all series.

Apparently, the big thing at the MIPCOM exhibition last week was Celebrity Splash, an event where mildly famous people run around on a waterlogged grassy field then dive for distance. No, that'll never fill an hour of primetime ITV.

Celebrity Splash (amateur night).

The result from Wednesday, according to our occasional football correspondent Lady Sovereign of Stonebridge Park: "Wow".

Ratings in the week to 7 October, compiled by BARB, show Strictly Come Dancing back at number one, with 9.95m viewers seeing the Saturday performances. The X Factor peaked on Sunday with 9.1m viewers, and The Great British Bake Off scored 5.35m for the penultimate round. That's surely enough to get the BBC1 controller interested in a transfer. Take Me Out returned to just 3.25m viewers, down a couple of million on its February highs. Channel 4's Hotel GB opened with 1.9m, and retained almost all of those through its week.

No change up the EPG, with Celebrity Juice (2.15m) just beating Xtra Factor (2.13m), and Only Connect (890,000) comfortably ahead of The X Factor Us (795,000). Watch will be pleased that Masterchef Australia is regularly pulling in a quarter-million viewers, roughly one for each episode of the infinitely-prolonged series.

A new run of Tool Academy (E4, 10pm Tuesday), and apparently A League of Their Own (Sky1, 10pm Friday) is back as well. Ancient comedians on Pointless Celebrities next Saturday (BBC1, 5.40), including Keith Harris and Orville. Strictly Come Dancing at 6.30, The X Factor at 8.20, and the Comedy World Cup final at 8pm (C4).

To have Weaver's Week emailed to you on publication day, receive our exclusive TV roundup of the game shows in the week ahead, and chat to other ukgameshows.com readers, sign up to our Yahoo! Group.

Last week | Weaver's Week Index | Next week

A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in