Never Mind the Full Stops



Julian Fellowes


BBC Four, 11 May 2006 to 24 April 2007 (23 episodes in 2 series + one Christmas special)


Panel game about English usage: basically Eats, Shoots and Leaves - The Game Show. 30 minutes of celebrities tut-tutting at anyone who happens to be unfortunate enough to be under 35 whose ever typed 'Where r u?' in one of those horrid mobile phone things.

One of the games is called "Apostrophe Now", which is basically "fill in the missing apostrophe and remove incorrect ones", which sound's like the worst idea for a quiz ever... and is. Participant's are also asked to rewrite a sentence using euphemism's or lipograms, provide the definition's for new wordz (such as: "no brainer" and "offline" which arent exactly challenging), and answer grammatical questions in a final quick-fire round. There are also Quote... Unquote-style discussion bit's and a mnemonic-inventing challenge which can be used to break tie's.

It comes as no surprise to find that this show was devised by "The BBC FED Team". It feels like a concept devised by committee ("Quick chaps, grammatical pedantry is really hot this season! Let's make a game show about it!"). It also feels more suited to radio, but worst of all it's slow and boring, enlivened only by the occasional bon mot from the wonderfully cantankerous chairman.

On the upside, it's nice to see a BBC Four panel game with decent production values (needlessly garish backdrop notwithstanding) and a decent sized studio audience. That said, they surely only made a second series to spite us after we said it wouldn't get one. That's pedants for you.

The second series has lost some of the things that made the first series remotely bearable - the sweetening of the audience applause isn't nearly as accomplished, leading to a rather dead atmosphere in the studio, and the question graphics look cheaper and less well laid-out - they're not even in the right programme font!


The BBC FED Team

See also

Weaver's Week review


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