Weaver's Week 2017-04-09

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Only Connect (2) Under new BBC rules, all shows that have one must have their Champagne tower in shot during the opening sequence.


Only Connect (2)

Series 12 final, 7 April: Verbivores v Cosmopolitans

Playing tonight are the Verbivores (Phyl Styles, Tom Cappleman, captain Graeme Cole) and the Cosmopolitans (Annette Fenner, Emily Watnick, captain Amy Godel).

No points in the opening questions, playing card suits as leaf shapes and the remaining Bond stories yet to be filmed. The Verbivores kick off the scores with the music question, songs all about backsides. And they pick up a bonus, letters and their semaphore representations – D is one flag up, one flag down, so 6am.

Only Connect (2) Victoria will drink to that!

The Cosmopolitans strike back with the picture round: remove the initial C from these surnames to be left with a bird. But the Verbivores recognise the phrase "Only connect" translated into other languages, along with the name given to "Howard's End" in those languages. Cosmopolitans are around there, but not quite right, and that lets the Verbivores lead by 3-1.

Only Connect (2) The Cosmopolitans have a deficit to overcome.

The Cosmopolitans have had an uneventful run to the final, a one-point win over the Tubers in round two their only close shave, and a 25-14 demolition of the Psmiths in the quarter-final a particular highlight. They beat Korfballers last time out.

Cosmopolitans have the run in the first Sequences, on how they classify illegal drugs. Confusion between Prince George and Kim Jong Un in the picture question, being effigies burned at the Lewes bonfire night parade. That's a bonus for the Verbivores.

No-one has yet picked up more than a single point on their question. That changes when the Verbivores know their capitals – Capital Q (E), Capital U (M), Capital I (P) finishes with Capital Z (C). Quito of Ecuador, Zagreb of Croatia, and so on. Cosmopolitans almost strike with the number of people in art works, but reckon The Scream has two people. It has three, and that blows their sequence out of skew.

Verbivores score three with things symbolised by the end of the Greek alphabet. Wasn't that in series four? Neither side scores with the men's World Cup of football, with scores representing their prior wins. It's 9-2 to the Verbivores.

Only Connect (2) A good lead, so far.

The Verbivores have taken the longest possible route here. They lost their first match, but came back as a high-scoring loser, won in round two, lost the first group phase match, but won two more and a semi against the Surrealists.
Even in the games they've won, they came close to defeat. In the repêchage, the Verbivores needed to score 11 on Missing Vowels to overturn a horrible wall round. They managed it, defeating the Channel Islanders by 23-22.
And in their next match, the Verbivores were lucky to scrape past the Taverners by 19-18 – their opponents could have gone for five on merged Harry Potter titles, and came within moments of collecting a bonus on another question. In other universes, this team has been eliminated often.

Cosmopolitans need a good wall, and they get a good wall. It's numbers: queen years, cube numbers, songs, and athletics distances. Ten points! The Verbivores also get a good set of numbers: king William years, freezing points of water, films, and record speeds. Ten points!

Only Connect (2) That's numberwall!

So, with the walls having done nothing to split the teams, it's to Missing Vowels. Each team will give seven right answers, the Cosmopolitans will make one error. Within this, some interesting results. "Five words in alphabetical order" is an excuse for repeated patterns – the words differ only in a vowel, and Verbivores score four on this set. Cosmopolitans have speed on the buzzer, winning "months and birthstones" and "on a chip shop menu" 3-1.

In the end, the Verbivores win by 26-18. Having pulled victory from the jaws of defeat, they are the new Only Connect champions.

It's MIPCOM Time!

News from MIPCOM, the biennial festival where television executives get drunk on the beachfront in Cannes, and buy each other's telly shows. This column has been getting into the swing of things: we've been on the beachfront in Cleethorpes, drinking coffee to wrap up against the cold.

Only Connect (2) Television executives have this on their dreamboard.

Virtual Reality was the sponsoring technology, and Danny Keens has the quote: "Most audiences have still not experienced true VR". We have, and then we experienced our lunch again.

VR is going to be different. It's much more intimate than traditional television, an experience only you have – in that respect, more like radio. It also removes the second-screen opportunity. We might tweet along with The Voice, but can't for The Virtual Reality because it totally surrounds us. We'll only be able to report stories in retrospect.

At the moment, there is no market for this stuff. Worldwide sales for VR experiences that weren't games totalled $10.9m last year. That's less than half the cost of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Elsewhere, ITV told us that they're serving 50% of the 18-24 age bracket through ITV Hub. They also have an adage, "A view is a view", it doesn't matter whether people watch on linear telly, catch-up, web players, or carvings on wall panels. That last might explain why The Nightly Show has been so wooden.

Hannah Emac told us, "You must have people with large social-media numbers in your show: they have a portable audience." Does this explain the bookings on The One Show?

Richard Osman Brings a portable audience of 563,145.

It wasn't all nonsense on stage: the BBC had a flashmob on the seafront to promote Let's Sing and Dance and Chase for Comic Relief.

MIPCOM incorporated the International Emmy Awards for Childrens' Programming. Factual went to Horrible Histories. Non-Scripted Entertainment went to Ultras Sorte Kageshow (Baking in the Dark), quite rightly. Animated Feature went to Shaun the Sheep.

And, as ever, there are some intriguing game and game-related formats...

* Thief Chef (Asahi Broadcasting): a top chef tries to work out how another makes his signature dish.

* Double Temptation (Telemundo): seven couples and fourteen singletons – which couples will stay together and which will find happiness?

* Spring Break With Grandad (VIMN): young people go partying with the grandparents in the next room. A bit like Sun Sea and Suspicious Parents.

* Handyman Wanted (Banijay Rights): Single ladies are looking for renovations and maybe more; craftsmen compete for business and maybe more.

Interceptor Like it?

* Naked (Tuvalu Media): Two people are dropped many miles apart and have one day to find each other. No transport has been provided, and they're not being pursued by a bloke in a helicopter doing eagle impressions. Oh, and they're in the nuddy, which seems a superfluous twist.

* Cash Island (Vivendi Entertainment): Treasure is buried on an island. The winner needs to hide their discovery from the others. This could be awesome, or like those sagas where seven knights ride out on six horses, have a quest, then spend two-thirds of the poem arguing over who will walk home...

* Lost in Time (Fremantle Media): Virtual reality challenges, with a play-at-home element.

* Funderdone (MGM): Entrepreneurs pitch ideas to a live studio audience, they decide who gets funded. Doubtless different from Dragons' Den or Money Pit on Dave last year.

* Prank Star (Gil Formats): The best prankster in the area.

* I Know What Your Pet Did (Stepping Stone): Predict what animals will do next.

* Hole in the Gap (Fuji TV): teams answer questions while standing on platforms that move apart whenever they answer wrong. A sizzle reel would be nice...

* The Wall, which we'll be reviewing in a few weeks' time.

Countdown Update

Since we last looked, Wesley Jardine has completed eight wins. His total of 753 is low for octochamps, but was held back by a couple of shows where he had invalid words. When every offer is valid, he could make progress.

Three wins for Sam Holden, and a teapot each for Wayne Tuck and Amraj Dhami. Karl Bates won three, Neel Popat took two. Lawrie Collingwood won eight, with a total of 734 points. He was hurt by a four-small numbers selection, and a smattering of disallowed words.

Tom Marlow won one match, but then Jeff Clayton won eight. Jeff was solid, 846 points makes him the top seed so far. At the moment, Jeff looks likely to meet Elliott Mack in the final on 30 June.

This Week and Next

Eurovision news, and S4C have signed up to Eurovision Choir of the Year. The inaugural event will take place in Riga on 22 July. Will tonight's winners of Côr Cymru have first refusal on this ticket?

Second semi-final for University Challenge, and Balliol Oxford beat Edinburgh by 215-145. Balliol got off to the proverbial flyer, answering eight of the first nine starters right, and running up a 150-20 lead. Edinburgh went on a run of their own in the second half, securing five of seven late starters.

Balliol had the better buzzers, and the better bonuses: 22/36 is a sterling rate anywhere in the series, never mind at this stage. Edinburgh's comeback was a little too late and a touch too weak.

Shorn of their overseas student, as some politicians would like, Balliol would have lost. Pope answered four starters, and voiding the points from his starters and bonuses we find Edinburgh take the match, by 145-130.

So the scene is set for next Monday's University Challenge final. Most of us will be watching the Oxbridge clash between Balliol and Emmanuel. Politicians with bad hair will try to work out whether SOAS or Edinburgh would have won their clash. Never mind the quality, not when they can wrap themselves in the flag.

BARB ratings in the week to 26 March.

  1. Broadchurch (ITV, Mon) was top show, seen by 10.05m. Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV) the top game, pulling 7.3m.
  2. Silver for BBC The Voice (ITV, Sat), 4.45m for the semi-final. Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, Sat, 3.85m) the top BBC game show.
  3. On BBC2, The Great Pottery Throw Down (Thu) finished with a series-best 3.35m. University Challenge (Mon) had 3m, and Only Connect (Fri, part-network) slipped to 1.65m. Wednesday's transfer of Pointless had 1.6m, and Robot Wars (Sun) 1.45m.
  4. Celebrity Juice returned (ITV2, Thu) with 1.205m viewers. Hell's Kitchen (ITV2, Tue, 405,000) and Britain's Next Top Model (Lifetime, Thu, 210,000) complete the medals – but we don't have figures for More4.

There's a new run of French Collection (C4, weekdays). ITV has some new attractions next Saturday, but has embargoed them until Tuesday, so we can't talk about them. The finals of Côr Cymru (S4C, Sun), Got What It Takes? (CBBC, Fri), University Challenge (BBC2, Mon).

Photo credits: Presentable, 12 Yard / Black Dog, Chatsworth, Warner Brothers.

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