Win My Wage



Nick Hancock


Hotbed Media for Channel 4, 16 July to 10 August 2007 (20 episodes in 1 series)


Summer replacement for Deal or No Deal in which one player attempts to pick out the panellist with the highest salary in order to win it.

First we find out what's on offer from the 8 panellists from a low amount to a high amount. These amounts appear on a screen in the studio in the time-honoured "money ladder" style.

In round one, we hear from each money person their name, where they come from, and annoyingly, "Do I earn (so many pounds)"? Over and over again. Well, they should know, they earn it, or don't earn it, as the case may be. We also note that they get the delivery all wrong, asking the question in a monotone rather than emphasising "Do I earn (so many pounds)?" as they really ought to. A little thing, perhaps, but we're picky like that.

Then the player decides to take out one of the money people, which in a Channel 4 daytime context is rather reminiscent of eliminating boxes on Deal or No Deal, only you're supposed to be working out which players are best to keep rather than just blind guessing, so maybe it's a bit like The Weakest Link. Or even that (other?) one series wonder, Liar. So many influences, so little time. Anyway, the eliminated person reveals their occupation and wage and are bid farewell. Naturally, the wage in question is removed from the money tree and is no longer in play.

In round two, we hear five facts on each person, seemingly random stuff like phobias, what music they're into, interesting hobbies, and so on. Repeat the elimination bit, break for commercial messages.

Round three is a series of yes/no questions, the red lighting behind each player turns green to indicate a response in the affirmative. Sample questions: Do you use energy-saving lightbulbs in your home? Have you ever spent more than £10,000 on a car? One more is eliminated.

Round four, look at pictures of the money people as young kids, a few facts about their childhood. Elimination. Ads.

Round five, same as round three, but different questions, obviously. Elimination.

After all this, we're down to three players and their wages. The endgame has a slight twist: the player can choose to be told what jobs the money people do (but not who does which one), but they are then playing for half the money. Guess the one out of three who takes home the biggest pay packet, and the player wins it (or half of it), otherwise they win nothing. The all-or-nothing endgame feels a bit limp, and a different prize structure might improve matters - off the top of our heads, maybe the player could win the whole of the highest wage, half the middle wage or one third of the lowest, halved again as appropriate. That might be a bit more interesting than the straight win/lose condition, and encourage a little more tactical play when deciding whether or not to hear the job titles.

Nick Hancock remains as affable as ever and does a pretty decent job of interacting with a bunch of people who give him very little to work with, since the money people only speak at the very start and after they are eliminated. We can understand that it's important to avoid the possibility of someone blurting out a dead giveaway, but there must be some way of allowing the money people more interaction with the host. Interestingly, the person picked as the highest wage earner wins some money themselves (another nod to Liar, then) yet this element of rewarding bluff is barely touched upon. Definitely a missed opportunity there.

There's a pleasing non-reliance on background music, with most of the show, barring the eliminations, lacking any sort of underscore at all - though it could stand to have some proper "think music" at the elimination stages rather the rubbish heartbeat-over-synth-wash sound effect it actually has.

Actually, on a related note, if they must use the heartbeat FX - and frankly, nobody needs to use heartbeat FX, but we'll let that pass - then they should at least moderate the tempo, as the effect at the final decision is way too fast and as a result sounds less tense and more comical.

One big problem is that having seen a few episodes, either we're rubbish at this game, or it's far too difficult. We get to hear a lot about the wage earners, but little if anything that actually helps in deciding who earns what. In stark contrast to a certain other daytime show, the clues are not there. Or they are and we've missed them. Though the upshot is pretty much the same.

But it's quite entertaining, has a central puzzle that you can play along with at home, and if it didn't have the misfortune to launch just after five's Payday it would look almost original, if you disregard the nods to Weakest Link, Liar, Deal or No Deal, etc. Oh, Judgemental, that's another one.

Of course it's been handed the poisoned chalice of replacing Deal or No Deal over the summer and is probably going to get slaughtered simply for not being DoND (it's certainly more of a straight puzzle than that show), but there's actually the germ of a decent show here, albeit one that has very little chance of appealing to the same audience as the one it replaces.


Simon Broadley (also the devisor of Star Portraits)


It's filmed in the same Yorkshire Television studio as Countdown. So much so that Des and Carol had to move to Granada's studios in Manchester whilst this was being produced.

About the show, Hancock later said: "I was disappointed Win My Wage didn't do better. I really enjoyed doing that [and] was surprised it didn't take off."

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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