Weaver's Week 2017-07-09

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Wait, what? Sounds like someone is trying to mess with the CBBC Massive.
You do not mess with the CBBC Massive.
They will serve revenge. They will wrap you in sticky-backed plastic, smother you in meat paste, and fire pellets of mashed potato.




Potato (part of ITV Studios) for ITV2, from 15 June

Let us welcome our host, the amazing Iain Stirling. The comedian and presenter is known for such hits as The Dog Ate My Homework, and here is introduced by his narration on Love Island. It helps that Celebability begins just a few seconds after Love Island ended.

The host is joined by five ITV2 celebrities – the sort who might appear on I'm a Celeb, or TOWIE. They're young and attractive. If single, they're the sort who might appear on a celebrity version of Love Island. (Guffaw! Like anyone would watch that!!)

The celebs are introduced quickly – they'll have a second introduction later in the show. Now we meet the team, five people from ordinary life, introduced through a short video package.

Celebability Also: forgetting about Tumble.

So we have a group of friends up against some of the most familiar faces on television. The comparisons to Eggheads don't end here, as Iain Stirling introduces Marek Larwood. Marek plays the part of the referee, and pretends to be an unfunny comedian. Who does he think he is, Tim Vine's Brother?

Each round is linked to one of the celebrities. According to the show's conceit, each celeb has a specific skill they can show off on network television. Vogue Williams, for instance, is able to mark the passage of time. She can tell when a minute has elapsed.

One of the civilian team steps forward to tell the time against Vogue. Will his dream be gone in sixty seconds, or will her ability be bested by a random member of the public?

We're going to find out. Celebability asks the players to time a minute. In their heads. 'Scuse us, the phone's ringing. Hello. You don't say. You don't say. You don't say. Bye.

Break the Safe Who was it? He didn't say.

Break the Safe is on the line, asking if it can have its endgame back. They worked for years to get people to mark time in their heads, and now it's a throwaway game on a youth show.

But there's a slight difference. You never got Nick Knowles calling bingo numbers while his finalists tried to concentrate. We must have missed the episode where there was a conga line onstage. And did Break the Safe ever feature Steps over the sound system?

Celebability has all of these, and more. In a later round, we see The Amazing Iain Stirling's Rage, the host losing his rag at players who don't understand the rules.

-"And add another sound."
-"Me bell's getting in the way."
-"Play the game! Get on with it! Shut up! Shut up!"

Or we might see Marek trying to move his lips in time with a pre-recorded backing track. He's good at bad lip-syncing, but he's no Hacker T Dog.

Celebability A race for a train.

Marek is designed to be an irritating character. He succeeds on screen, and we think his character is best when kept in small doses. A few lines here and there, and allow the character to be the butt of lots of jokes. It gives Iain Stirling someone to bounce off, and improves both their performance. Too much Marek – as we saw in the early episodes – is a turnoff.

Jarred Christmas is another member of the CBBC Massive, he fronted The Joke Machine a few years ago. For Celebability, he contributes a commentary, telling us what we're seeing on screen. We can take or leave his efforts, and most of the time they add little.

Celebability These teams are far away, and the wall is shot to look huge.

The set is unusual. Both teams sit high above a giant video screen, little dots above the picture. When they're playing their games, they descend to the studio floor. It's like a classical arena, players going toe-to-toe in death defying stunts. The theme tune is mostly chants of "hey, hey, hey" to a jaunty beat. There's a coherent visual design, the celebrities in comic strips as though they're superheroes.

After five rounds, all of the Eggheads, erm, celebrities have played. They've each shown their abilities. Some have been successful, some have been failures. Whoever won their challenge – celebrity versus player – will take part in the final.

The successful celebs go down onto the studio floor, and the remaining contestants answer five questions. All of the answers are one of the players down there.

Celebability Tweedledum or Tweddlesfriend?

Who said that Tina Turner would be an ideal party guest? Who has taken a selfie with Oprah Winfrey? £500 for a correct answer, selected from the two (or more) winning celebrities. After five questions, the team are able to play double-or-quits on a final question. A perfect team won't get rich, but they could win a grand each.

Content notes: the show tends to the crude and often raucous. Some foul language is to be expected in the 10pm hour; we've also seen electric shocks and obnoxious foodstuffs.

Celebability And, er, slices of cheese.

We've a lot of time for Celebability. The challenges are absurd but never demeaning, a tough line to tread, and the show does well to make it look easy. Fast-moving, none of the games lasts longer than needed, and they keep the tempo moving throughout. We found it best to watch on catch-up, without the adverts – they sap most of the show's pace.

When done well, this show can be very entertaining. Took a bit of getting into, but we get where they're coming from. Just don't expect to tax your brain cells. As someone once said, we didn't learn much, but we had fun.

Ratings watch

BARB ratings in the week to 25 June.

  1. Top show was Coronation Street (ITV, Fri), with 7.8m viewers. Top game was BBC The Voice of This Territory Kids (ITV, Sat, 4.15m). So far, so normal.
  2. The Crystal Maze (C4, Fri) came back, and pulled 3.1m. That's just ahead of Catchphrase (ITV, Sat, 3m) and well ahead of Pitch Battle (BBC1, Sat, about 2m). Another 265,000 for Crystal Maze on Sunday evening E4, 125,000 on E4+1.
  3. Love Island (ITV2, Sun) continues to break records: 2.2m for the weekly highlights puts it nearly a million ahead of Big Brother (C5, Mon, 1.25m). Game of Thrones returns later in the month, and we'll be interested to see if that can beat Love Island.
  4. Top on BBC2 were Mock the Week (Thu, 1.75m, series best) and Great Local Menu (Thu, 1.7m). Blind Date (C5, Sat) had 1.55m.
  5. Lower digital channels: A League of Their Own Roadtrip (The Satellite Channel, Mon) was hit by the heatwave, down to 900,000 – and two-thirds of that was timeshifted. Celebrity Juice (ITV2, Wed) entertained 500,000. Celebability entertains about 400,000 on ITV2 and ITV2+1.

We've managed to get some juicy demographic breakdown information. These figures relate to commercial channels only. We don't see the breakdown of Eastenders, we don't see the eleventy billion people watching Blue Peter, and we don't see who (if anyone) watches Pitch Battle.

Love Island Spoiler: Love Island does very well.

  • Women: Bit on the Side was very popular.
  • Youth (16-24): Love Island dominates. The Voice Kids had more youth viewers than the top Big Brother episode, and that's got to hurt.
  • Young (16-34): Your Face or Mine (Comedy Central, Wed) overperforms by 3x – and 2.8x amongst young men... Love Island by a mere 2.5x. For every 100 "not young" viewers, Love Island has 250, Your Face 300.
  • Young men: Go 8 Bit Dlc (Dave, Mon) does very well. The show has about 150,000 total viewers, half the parent show.
  • Young women: Big Brother's traditional demographic, but Love Island and Coronation Street fill the top ten and exclude BB.
  • "ABC1 women": Come Dine with Me on More4 and Countdown do well for this affluent group.
  • "ABC1 housewives" love The Handmaid's Tale, and Channel 4's themed evening about gay Britain (by which they meant white men).
  • "Housewives with kids" are the audience for Big Brother lunchtime repeats (C5), almost 5x your average show.
  • "Kids" watched The Voice Kids, obvs – and almost 300,000 young viewers for The Crystal Maze. Remember, children, there is no Louie Spence in your Future Zone.

We won't do this deep analysis every week, but (if we retain access to this data), we'll pick out some interesting and relevant points.

This Week and Next

Counterpoint began again this week. A good quizzer with no particular music specialism can do well in Radio 4's music quiz – we recall Ian Bayley's run to the final a few years ago. This week, Max Espensen won the episode, coming through on the final buzzer round. Does the name sound familiar? Max won the Fifteen-to-One final just last week.

Broadcast magazine recognised some of its favourite shows at an expensive dinner. Awards were handed out, and Big Brother picked up Best Digital Programme Support.

A very quiet week for new shows. The Chase With Celebrities resumes (ITV, Sun). Master of Photography finds a winner (Artsworld, Thu). Hole in the Wall arrives on the Challenge channel, and another chance to miss Play to the Whistle (ITV, Tue).

Photo credits: Potato (part of ITV Studios), BBC, ITV Studios.

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