Sunset + Vine for Challenge, 2006
This is Challenge TV's new version of Celebrity Poker Club. It's got slightly better celebs, although to avoid Trading Standards knocking on the door they've played safe and gone for the "Showbiz" monicker lest any of the players not come up to scratch in the celebrity department.
Breaking with the tradition of picking up shows from the home of TV poker, Presentable Productions, this one's produced by Channel 4's former cricketing pals, Sunset + Vine. While the quality title sequence impresses, a number of things grate rather quickly: Lisa Rogers's slightly shouty and overimportant introductions, the rubbish table layout with a big metal plaque in the middle that prevents smooth card flow, the overstylised and badly timed on-screen graphics, the annoying way the dealers spoonfeed the contestants with the fold-call-raise choices... and a distinct lack of Jesse May. Somehow, although most of the ingredients are there, the show doesn't really hold together and it's all enough to make you rather angry (insert Red Zone joke here).
A blackjack version is in the offing later, which doesn't bode well to be honest. Incidentally, if anybody knows what Sunset + Vine equals, please let us know. Sun-ripened tomatoes?