Weaver's Week 2017-06-18

Last week | Weaver's Week Index | Next week

From time to time, we cover excellent and interesting programmes on channels not widely available in this territory. We've one of these overseas reviews this week.


The Wall Face au Mur

Endemol Productions (an EndemolShine company) pour TF1

Our sample episode was transmitted on 27 February, the first of the series.

Christophe Dechavanne hosts. The star of the show is a giant wall. Seriously, this is a big wall. If Richard Osman stood on Mark Labbett's shoulders, they'd still only get half-way up this behemoth.

Blimey, that's a big one.

The wall is big and – mostly – a dark blue. It doubles as a video wall, and they display on the wall throughout the show. It's a giant version of the drop zones from Tipping Point, balls bounce around from left to right, as they descend from top to bottom.

Eventually, gravity will win, and the ball will fall into one of the fifteen channels at the foot of the wall. This indicates how much money the players will win.

On this question, €1510 is at stake.

This game is played by couples, and Christophe plugs a Legalised SMS Lottery, to win what the players win, if they win anything.

Unlike the NBC-Universal version, this show doesn't delve too deeply into the contestants' back story. They're on a shoulder-prime game show, they're selected to be entertaining.

And to be overshadowed by the wall.

Without much conversation, we're into the game. A picture appears on the board, and there's a fairly easy question. "Is this a guitar or a piano?"

While the pair answer this oh-so-difficult question, three balls are falling down the wall. They have until the balls hit the bottom to lock in their answer, and if they get the question right, they'll win whatever values the balls fall into. Get it wrong, or fail to answer in time, and they lose that much money from their total.

Piano or guitar?

In the sample episode we watched, our couple had €11 544 after five questions. And we were already getting a bit narked with the screeching as they hollered for balls to fall into the €5000 zone and not the adjacent €1 zone.

Behind the wall

The good news: the couple are going to split up. She goes into the Cabine Insonorisée, the Cabin Unsounded. He remains outside, and can face the wall.

Split the couple.

For the second round, the values increase, and there's a potential €50 000 available on each drop. The player is given two green balls, which he can put into any two of seven drop positions. These add a couple of grand to his total.

This contestant is close, that one is far away.

Then he sees the three possible answers to a general knowledge question, but doesn't see the question. He chooses which drop position to use – and demonstrates this by dropping balls down a chute into the floor, only to see them reappear at the top of the wall a moment later. TF1 has the most efficient system of pneumatic tubes.

The contender drops his balls.

Remember how we left the lady in the Unsounded Cabin? She's going to hear the question and the possible answers. We're going to hear the answer she gives, and we will know whether it's right or wrong. She will not know.

And we're going to see the balls drop down, potentially winning €50 000 in ten seconds. Or potentially losing €50 000, if the answer was wrong.

The second question offers a "coup double", the player outside has the option, but not the obligation, to send two balls down from the same drop location. The third question offers a "coup triple" – three balls from one drop location.

A coup triple in play.

To end this round, the player outside has to drop two red balls into the wall. Whatever they land on comes off his total.

Won (subject to contract)

The couple are still split in round three. It begins with three green balls, adding to the total. And with €150 000 available to be won, there's a hope that the balls will go right.

As the money goes up, the options go up. Four possible answers, and perhaps the player can't guess the question here. If they're sure, the best tactic is to put the ball to the right, closer to the big money. Confident the player will be guessing? Push the ball to the left, so there's likely to be less at stake. Really don't know? Cluster in the middle.

Christophe and a contract to take a small amount of money.

After some ups and downs, our team finish the question period with €133 926. The host makes him outside an offer: you could quit now and take €19 044 – that's the money they won in round one, plus €2500 for each correct answer. Or you could play on, drop these last three red balls, and take what remains afterwards.

Christophe our host sends a physical contract up the wall in a pneumatic tube. We see the other player, the one stuck in the soundproof booth, receive the contract and consider it. After the break, she sends it back to the studio.

We're not going to find out whether she signed it. Of course not.

Amazing what they can do with magnets and string.

We're going to have the prove out. One by one, three red balls will drop down the wall, from the same positions as the green balls much earlier. The first one deducts €1.

Christophe builds the tension; the second pulls €20 000 from the total. And the third one goes from the player's favoured drop position, at the far right. It deducts €10. Ten euro.

The final total: €113 915.

But have our team won all this money? We still have to inspect the contract. The player in the soundproof booth only knows the answers she gave. She has no idea how much money has come out of the wall.

Has she chosen to take a guaranteed 19 grand, or risked it for about eight times as much before deductions?

Looks like we're intruding into a bit of a Scene here, as the players recap their adventure.

Gettez-on avec it, Le Journal is on in 95 seconds.

And then we find out what happened in the booth. The contract was torn into several unenforceable bits.

Our team have won €113 915. Music swells, the wall goes gold, everyone's happy. Including a viewer at home, who scooped the Legalised SMS Lottery win-what-they-win prize.

Could The Wall work over here?

After three months of shows, TF1 has given a mean of about €57 800 per show; the median is €27 000. The top prize awarded was €308 467. On average, one show a week gives away €100 000, one-and-a-half shows a week give away the grand non-total of nothing. On these shows, the Legalised SMS Lottery to win what they win (if they win anything) is a win for TF1.

Not every show ends with big winners.

We can see many reasons why The Wall works. There's plenty of tension, a quickfire opening while we get to know the players, and a steady stream of drops down the wall. We're never more than a minute away from some ball-on-wall action.

The show divides very neatly into four parts – an ad break while the player enters the soundproof room, one after the middle round, and one while they consider the contract.

We can see The Wall on this side of the channel, in primetime, as an occasional celebrity spectacular, Rylan and Dan Clark-Neal play to raise money for their charity.

And if they do go down the celebrity route, we might suggest one tweak to the format. Rather than general knowledge questions, make the middle round questions about the couple, like Mr and Mrs. They've got an isolation booth, and the potential to embarrass, so use it.

Like Babushka, The Wall is a journey show, we're following one couple against the big mean machine. Unlike Babushka, it's difficult to leave with nothing – the team would have to get almost every question wrong, or be spectacularly unlucky in the final round.

Every wrong answer costs.

TF1 put out The Wall at 7pm, right before the main evening news. Now, we've reviewed a big win to start the series, but we can't see how ITV wants to give away £100,000 every day. Even Deal or No Deal only gave away about a quarter of that money.

Perhaps divide the eurozone figures through by four, so this good result would be around £25,000, the average £15,000. Averaged out, that's not too far from The Chase.

Could The Wall work on ITV at 5pm? It would be a bold commission, and it would help to avoid Tipping Point because the lazy comparisons would be too easy. But in the right hands, with an experienced presenter, it could just do the trick.

This Week and Next

BARB ratings in the week to 4 June.

  1. One Love Manchester (BBC1, Sun) the top show, seen by 11.65m viewers. Don't expect a series. This Territory's Got Talent recorded 9.45m for its final (ITV, Sat), and 9.25m for the best semi-final (ITV, Mon, performances only).
  2. Next comes the Got Talent Result (ITV, Mon, 6.9m), and then Pointless (BBC1, Mon, 3.2m). Have I Got News for You transferred to BBC2 (Fri), its audience halved to 2.6m. The Chase came back to 2.25m viewers (ITV, Tue).
  3. "Bake Off is on BBC2": the Crème de la Crème final (Wed) gained from a plug on BBC1, with 2.25m. Great Local Menu (Mon, 1.95m) also did well. Channel 4's top game was Four in a Bed (Mon, 730,000).
  4. Taskmaster the top digital game, 815,000 saw Tuesday's episode on Dave. More Talent (ITV2, 535,000) peaked on Saturday, and Go 8 Bit continues to do well (Dave, Mon, 385,000).

Curious Creatures comes to BBC2 teatimes, and The Crystal Maze is back (C4, Fri). There's also a new series of Catchphrase (ITV, Sat)

Photo credits: Endemol Productions (an EndemolShine company).

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