Bognor or Bust
Dave Lamb (voiceover)
4DTV for ITV1, 2 September to ? 2004
Flushed with the success of other comedy formats, ITV pushed the boat out for a topical news quiz. "Who can we get to front a topical news quiz?" pondered the channel's top brass. It couldn't be any of the channel's big stars - Harry Hill and Antan Dec already have quite enough on their plates, Trevor McDoughnut would have to rush from one studio to another in less than twenty seconds, Gabby Logan was scheduled to still present The Vault (RIP), and the previous primetime game show host, Robert Kilroy-Silk, has gone and shafted off to some job or other.
In the event, the ITV top brass took a look through back issues of the TV Times. "Ah! Angus Deayton's not doing anything these days. Let's ask him." The man who was TV's Mister Sex before Dermot Murnaghan came along has been under-employed for the last couple of years. He was evicted from the presenter's seat on Have I Got News for You in autumn 2002, making way for all sorts of chancers and incompetents who can't read an autocue at anything like Angus's pace.
Two members of the public and four minor celebrities gather in the studio. The members of the public choose their preferred celebs, then we get down to quizzing business.
Angus fires a series of questions about the week's news. Like The Cram, these really are questions about the week's news, not general knowledge questions loosely tied to the topic in hand. All of the questions are on the buzzers, and contestants and their celebs can guess as often as they like. There's one point for a correct answer, and everyone's encouraged to be funnier than they are accurate. Indeed, the emphasis really is on the joke answers, rather than the correct answers. This opening round occupies the majority of the first half
Before the commercial break, Angus shows us a picture from the news, with something missing. What's gone walkies? Answer after the break, along with round two.
Round two is introduced by two cryptic pictures, the team leading gets first pick, and consists of quick-fire questions against the clock. All answers must be given through the member of the public, and are worth two points each. Whoever has the most points after this round goes on to play for the big prize.
The big prize is a trip to somewhere foreign. By a process of semi-random generation, one of the seats in the studio is picked out. Whoever is sitting in that seat will win the big prize if the contestant doesn't get it. To win the big prize, the contestant must answer one question from two options, and can confer with the celebs to help them choose. The question is a pure guess.
Where does Bognor come into this? If the contestant chooses the correct answer to this final shot, they go to somewhere foreign. If they choose the wrong answer, the person in the nominated seat will go to abroad, and the main player will get a trip to Bognor Regis, a seaside town in Sussex. Bognor is not the most upmarket of resorts, and has rather been left behind by the march of cosmopolitan and international holidays.
As a quiz, Bognor or Bust is a bit of a bust, offering nothing new to the genre. As a comedy show, it's rather more of a goer. We do, however, have a suspicion that the format may stop being funny after a few weeks. (Update: indeed, it only lasted one series.)