Hole in the Wall
Dale Winton (2008)
Anton Du Beke (2009)
Announcer: Peter Dickson (2008)
Commentator: Jonathan Pearce (also announcer in 2009)
TalkbackThames for BBC One, 20 September to 20 December 2008 (11 episodes in 1 series)
BBC Scotland for BBC One, 26 September to 12 December 2009 (10 episodes in 2 series + 1 unaired)
Q. Stupid: Is it the new clever?
A. Well like, DUHHHHHH!!
Every now and again, a game show comes along which simply revels in its own stupidity. Hole in the Wall is such a show. It's got celebrities! It's got people falling in the water! It's got Dale Winton! And to top it all off, it makes no secret of its origins in a Japanese format. You know Japan, right? Everything's all wacky and postmodern and far out there! Go lively, atomic happy boy!
Abysmal national stereotyping aside, this is a pretty stupid game. Fortunately, it's also simple enough to be understood even by us, so here goes. There are two teams of three celebrities (well as close to celebrities as you'll find on a show like this anyway), and a total of four walls per team to be tackled in order to determine which team will face the final Mega Wall.
Bring on the Walls!
The first round is Solo Wall, which sees a celebrity chosen by their team captain standing in the Play Area, which is immediately adjacent to a pool of water. After a 3 second countdown, a screen rises, revealing a wall with a hole in it. The wall advances and the celebrity has ten seconds or so to adopt a position which will enable them to pass through the hole in the wall. Ten points are awarded for successfully doing so; a lesser number of points are awarded at the host's discretion for failing in style. A member of the opposing team then does the same challenge with a different wall.
The second round is the Captain's Challenge which alters format each week, but usually involves attempting a wall blindfolded with their team-mates giving instructions, or attempting a wall facing backwards, again with their team-mates giving verbal assistance. Other variations include having to pass through a wall whilst holding a prop, such as a space hopper or an umbrella, or having to complete a wall with one of their two team-mates. Points are arbitrarily awarded, from a maximum of 20.
Round three is Killer Question or Mystery Guest. Here the team who is in the lead picks which of the two options they want to play. The other team then plays the remaining challenge. In Killer Question, two team-mates face a wall with a question and two possible answers marked on doors. They must quickly work out the answer and both stand in front of the door with what they think is the correct answer on it. If they are correct, the door gives way, and they pass through the wall. If not, the solid wall knocks them both into the water. In Mystery Guest, one team member must attempt a wall with that week's special guest, who usually has, or can create, an unusual shape with their body or costume, e.g. sumo wrestlers, Can-Can dancers, or ballerinas. Points are somewhat randomly assigned once again.
The penultimate round is the Team Wall. This is a straightforward round which sees all three team members attempt to complete a wall at the same time. Up to 30 points are on offer to each team in this round for all three team members successfully completing the challenge. After this the final points are calculated, and the team with the most points has the choice of playing or passing the final wall, the Mega Wall, which we are reliably informed is evil and goes at double speed (ooohh!). The Mega Wall sees all three members of a team participate and they must all pass through the wall in order to win £10,000 for their chosen charity. Fail, and the money goes to the other team's charity.
It's dumb, but it's fun. It's undoubtedly doomed to appear in "worst TV ever!" lists for years to come, but take no notice of them.
There are a few slight changes in series 2, with Dale Winton gone and and Anton Du Beke promoted from within to take his place, plus two new team captains. The Captain's Challenge round is now named "Captain's Mate", while, there's now no Mystery Guest; instead both teams now get a Killer Question wall (which has been renamed "Wonder Wall"). The Team Wall has also become Anton's Twist, with various gimmicks like the team-members being handcuffed together, or one blindfold, one gagged and one wearing earmuffs. In addition, the final Mega Wall round has been renamed the "Great Wall", complete with ever so slightly irritating oriental gong sound when its name is mentioned. (Also, it's now credited to Talkback Thames Scotland, which is a new one on us.) But it's very much the same show as before. And it's still as dumb as ever.
The look of panic on a celeb's face when they realise that the hole in the wall is off the ground.
Vanessa Feltz's countless attempts to avoid falling into the pool.
"Bring on the wall!"
Anton Du Beke: "Please step up to the play area". Which is suspiciously similar to his titular catchphrase from Step Up to the Plate.
Based a game called "Nou Kabe" ("Brain Wall") from the Japanese show Tonneruzu no Minasan no Okage Deshita ("Tunnels, Thanks to Everyone").
The 2009 series was filmed in high definition.
As of early 2010, local versions of the Japanese original had been produced in no less than 38 different territories.