Poll of the Year 2008

Image:Square Vote.jpg
It's that graphic of a piece of paper with a large X on it going into a box (that would be disallowed in most elections, research suggests) which can only mean it's time for the UKGameshows.com Poll of the Year 2008, once again sponsored by Bother's Bar! Amazing.

The voting procedure is unchanged from last year's event - there are three categories, in each category each voter gets five votes. They can use up to three votes on a single show if they feel strongly about it, but not everyone uses all their votes and some people vote for shows they shouldn't so the realistic maximum percentage is about 60%.


Hall of Fame 2008

This year gets a rather less interesting intro than last year. We've been used to people writing in and suggesting that it was difficult to find anything worth voting for. 2008, however, has been the best year for game show formats in the UK for some time. So let us not waste time and get on with the countdown. 32 different shows received votes and the top five in no particular order (except for how many votes they got, natch) are:

5 Beat the Star

Vernon Kay doesn't have the epic prize money or air time (as much as four hours! Live!) of the original Schlag den Raab, but it does have a second series and 5.1% of your vote. "Beat the Star, as with You Bet! the Germans once again can produce worthy big studio formats for ITV to recreate them for the British audience. Simply the best show on ITV for years." Meanwhile another comment suggested that it was about time there was a decent recreation of an European event television show. "Well it was better than Big Ticket wasn't it?" High praise indeed!

4 Thank God You're Here

And, hah! Thank God it's Here with 7.1% of the vote. "TGYH gets a mention for being the most experimental thing ITV had done in prime time for a long while." And we like the way this guy sums it up: "Possibly putting me in a minority, I really enjoyed Thank God You're Here. While there was a lot to dislike (bumping Adam Buxton from an episode in favour of an ITV 'face', putting that actress from Coronation Street in it despite her not having a clue), there was even more to like (the majority of performances from proper comedians, revelatory turns from the likes of Fern Britton, Paul Merton gradually remembering how to be funny again). If this got another series, it would only get stronger, but it was perhaps unsuited to taking up a whole hour of primetime Saturday night ITV1. Tried out on a Wednesday evening, in the traditional Strike It Lucky/Name That Tune 8pm slot, I reckon it would have been bigger. Also, it'd be nice if ITV would pick up the Aussie version for broadcast on ITV2 (if only because the mighty Shaun Micallef sometimes takes part)."

3 Hole in the Wall

Bring on 9.3% of the vote! This may or may not come as a surprise to some of you. "Silly, daft but great Saturday evening TV." "...For sheer stupidity and high entertainment factor!" "Hole In The Wall was utterly silly and despite expecting it to grow boring and repetitive by the end of the second episode it never really did." "Hole In the Wall for being utterly mental and genuinely rubbish, giving it a rare genuine claim to being 'so bad it's good'. Owes a heck of a lot to Harry Hill though." So bad it's good, eh? I wonder how many people thought it was so bad it's bad? I think we're going to find out soon.

2 Only Connect

Connected with 19.4% of the vote, it was so incredibly tight between this and the winner throughout the voting period, but lost out in a last minute surge. If only they hadn't done the Greek letter thing so the proles could understand it! There's a lot of passion in the comments for this show, and here comes some of it now. "For about the first time in living memory, we have a proper new quiz show on television that isn't (a) a celebrity vehicle, (b) all about winning stupid amounts of money, (c) all about being nasty, duplicitous or otherwise horrid, (d) saddled with a hopelessly complicated format, or (e) all of the above. There's still rough edges that need to be worked out on "Only Connect", but it's generally a fabulous innovative quiz with good shout-outability that really should get a BBC2 transfer to complete the University Challenge hour when they finally euthanise Mastermind." Someone else thought it was "smart, well paced, not just question after question, and genuinely challenging even in the early rounds. It's about time we had something like this." Meanwhile "I was hooked to it. A rare show that, whilst taxing, can actually be enjoyed by those who wouldn't normally watch BBC4. Like me. Surely, this should be a fine candidate for a BBC1/2 series?"

1 Duel

"Only Connect is bound to win, but Duel deserves it." Your favourite new format of 2008 was also one of the earliest in the year, and possibly is the most controversial inclusion as it modified what was possibly a broken format halfway through the run. It's Duel and it polled 20.3% of your votes (that's averaging more than one vote per entry form!). It wasn't a massive success on primetime Saturdays, we still think if you divided the money by five it would be a great show to go out on weekday afternoons. "Duel was a fantastic game wrapped up with perhaps the best set and lighting design that's been seen in many, many years. It's a pity ITV messed about with it so much... and that not many people watched it." "Duel didn't put a foot wrong for me: good host, interesting gameplay mechanic, great atmosphere provided by the musical stings." "Really enjoyed watching Duel, it was a novel survival concept with good technical execution. Shame it's not coming back. I have nightmares where I'm being attacked by the Accelerator." As, I'm sure, have we all.

Bubbling under: Panic Attack (4.6%), Spin Star (4.2%), Don't Forget the Lyrics! (3.4%), Wogan's Perfect Recall (3.4%), Gladiators (3.0%)

Hall of SHAME 2008

Let's be honest, you're mainly here because you want to know how Hole in the Wall did, aren't you? This year 38 different shows received nominations, and the five that most had you shouting at the telly in a bad way are:

4= Wogan's Perfect Recall, CelebAir

Both claiming 7.2% of the vote each. On Perfect Recall: "Perfect Recall was a nice concept, but sadly it was completely ruined by trivial questions so easy that they would embarrass The Mint. Tel is a slightly unnatural host - it's difficult to know when his banter ends and the question begins." We're suprised nobody pointed out the endgame which is never ever going to have to pay out the £100,000 top prize, in honesty.

Many of the comments on CelebAir suggested there was no need for any explanation. Someone points out it's "the essence of ITV2's current personality i.e. fluffy and pointless." Others point out that at least it gave Harry Hill some useful material.

2= Who Dares Sings!, Going for Gold

Going for silver more like, with 8.5% each. And they're both shows that actually aren't awful ideas but are rather lacking in execution. "If I had a fiver for every tedious karaoke-ish talent show that has ever been aired on UK television... (sigh)", "Who Dares Sings! a poor attempt to recreate the Singstar experience for television. Hampered by an endgame which is virtually impossible to win and Denise Van Outen & Ben Shephard would've done better things than presenting this." Many other people saw it as a rip-off of Don't Forget the Lyrics! which we think is a bit harsh, other than the facts that they're about singing and both love the exclamation mark they're mechanically completely different.

On Going for Gold: "while Going For Gold was the show I always wanted to go on, but never got the chance, one look at this "revival" as a call-and-lose vehicle cured me of that instantly: amateurish, grindingly dull and far too long. There's a reason why Questions pour un champion has endured 20 years on French television, and it's because it's everything that this Channel 5 version isn't." In fact pretty much everyone who commented disliked the fact the majority of the show is given over to a viewer phone-in rather than the actual game itself.

1 The Kids Are All Right

"Shameless vehicle for Barrowman's shouting talents, annoyingly smart kids." "All style, no substance, to be honest. And the main point of the show falls flat on its face, because the kids aren't really very good. And who thought that making John Barrowman a host was a good idea?" "John Barrowman, STOP SHOUTING!!!" "SLOW. VERY, VERY SLOW. SEVERAL VERY UNINTERESTING ROUNDS. AND THE VOLUME NEEDS TO BE VERY LOW TO COUNTERACT JOHN BARROWMAN." "JOHN BARR-OOOOOO-MAAAAN!"

THE KIDS ARE AL... sorry, The Kids are All Right polled 10.8% of the vote making it 2008's most disliked new format. However, it was deemed good enough to have its own electronic game (a barg at £5.21, reduced from £20 at time of writing, we're sure you'll agree) and somebody points out that "The Kids Are All Right wouldn't have made it anywhere near the Hall of Shame last year, which says something about the sheer quality of this year." So who is the real winner, eh?

Bubbling under: Hole in the Wall (6.3%), BingoLotto (5.8%), This Time Tomorrow (5.8%), Spin Star (4.9%), Don't Forget the Lyrics! (4.5%)

So not quite as badly as you were probably expecting then, so we have to throw away all the invective we got about the state of television.

The Golden Fiver

And finally it's The Golden Fiver. As ever, you have the choice of any show that had a new episode broadcast in 2008, and let's not forget that Deal or No Deal has won for the previous two years, and if it tops it a third time Endemol West win an EXCLUSIVE UKGameshows.com pen and pencil set. The tension is high, 57 different shows were nominated, all wanting to be top of the pile. And the top five are:

5 QI

QI is rewarded with 4.4% of the vote and a berthing on BBC1 from Series F. "Two new episodes in 2008, of course. One of the programmes that almost makes one want to fight to the death to defend the licence fee."

4 The Apprentice

"Ah The Apprentice. It taught me that I can pass any job interview if I pretend to be a dinosaur." It will be interesting to see how the economic downturn affects the next series. 4.8% of the vote.

3 Deal or No Deal

No EXCLUSIVE pen and pencil set for you I'm afraid, but still a very respectable placing for the perennial afternoon favourite with 8.8% of the vote. No doubt helped by a superb run of shows in December and early January. "Not as massive and popular as it was two years ago but still can pull punches, twists, surprises and more importantly, grabbing the viewers to still remain as Channel 4's popular daytime show." DoND hits its 1,000th show in March. And they said it wouldn't last.

2 Duel

Polled 10.6% of the vote. Which is interesting...

1 Only Connect

...because Only Connect polled 15.0% of the vote and suggests that even if it wasn't quite your favourite new format, it was the show that you enjoyed watching the most last year. Congratulations to all concerned! Unbelievably, at time of writing, it still hasn't secured a second series yet despite it being a) popular and b) costing next to nothing to make. We're so over the Greek letters thing now!

Bubbling under: University Challenge (4.0%), Hole in the Wall (3.5%), Thank God You're Here (3.1%), Countdown (2.6%), Golden Balls (2.6%)

Traditionally at this juncture we take a look at Golden Fivers past and see how popular shows have held up, and in actual fact last year's top shows have held up pretty well despite this year's influx. The Apprentice had a great year considering it was just bubbling under last year. Golden Balls has lost 5% of the vote. Deal or No Deal dropped just 0.3%. The biggest loser is Who Dares Wins which despite being quite good crashed from 4th position and 4.8% share last year to joint 18th and 1.3% this year (along with Big Brother). In the battle of the celebrity talent shows, Strictly Come Dancing beats The X Factor by virtue of getting a solitary vote. And finally, we're quite pleased to see Beat the Star and Gladiators represented in 12th and joint 13th respectively, with 2.2% and 1.8%.

So that's another year in the can. Until then!

See Also

Poll of the Year 2005
Poll of the Year 2006
Poll of the Year 2007

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