Simply Complicated

Image:Simplycomplicated logo.jpg



Kate Charman


Johnny Ball (regular judge)

Heinz Wolff (regular judge)


BBC Choice, 8 June to 30 August 2000 (13 programmes in 1 series)


Now then, wouldn't the board game Mouse Trap make a fantastic television show? Well, the answer's yes because it's been done already and you can read our excellent review of it too.

However, why not extend the idea of doing something simple but in the most complicated way possible? That, my friends, is the basic premise of Simply Complicated - a show which, sadly, is not as clever as the paradoxial title would like you to think it is.

Two teams of real people (and remember, humans are some of the most complicated machines on Earth - FACT!) try and build a machine capable of, say, painting a wall or serving drinks. They are tasks that are quite simple which already have simple machines available to do it. The catch is (as the title suggests), the teams have to make it as complicated as possible with loads of things happening at once and whatnot.

So, a bit like The Great Egg Race pushed to the extreme then. Each machine is judged out of 100 on Artistic Impression (does it look nice and complicated?) and Technical Merit (does it work?) by two B-list celebrity judges. Whichever gets the most points advances to the next round.

The sad thing is although the show doesn't do anything wrong in particular it does feel a little contrived to watch for some reason, which is quite funny when you think about it. Consequently something which should feel engaging and fun isn't as riveting as it could be even though the basic idea is a good one. But Johnny Ball was one of the guest judges, so bonus points for that.


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