Weaver's Week 2002-02-09

Weaver's Week Index

9th February 2002

Iain Weaver reviews the latest happenings in UK Game Show Land.

This week:

- The Three Mousketeers do battle

- UC's second semi

- And more wobbly bits at the Endemol offices.


Antan Dec are pretending to be judges Chapman and Fox. Dec is always in drag. This is the sort of hidden indicator that tells something about the mindset of our top television duo. As ever, I have no idea what it means. Good to see the presenters make the joke about the girlfriend's 78s. This is a hidden indicator about the age of the script; Humph has been making it since the first airing of ISIHAC in 1572.

The tepid three have been in Dublin, opening for S Club 7. They're a creation of Simon Fuller, whose S Records will release Gareth's (sorry, the winner's) record.

+ Darius Danesh has been assigned "Dancing In The Moonlight," as recorded by Toploader, rather than King Harvest's original. (No one knows the original; this is not a big deal.) This is a technically difficult song, as the melody wobbles all over the place. The cheap and tinny, almost sub-karaoke backing track doesn't help. Danesh stamps his vivacity all over the song, but there's something missing. He later performs "Make It Easy On Yourself," the Walker Brothers tune. He's very good, but he's not Scott Walker. Is this deliberate? "Total professional" - Cowell. "V v proud" - Chapman. "What a great singer" - Waterman. "Wow!" - Fox. Think they liked it.

+ Gareth Gates has been assigned "Yesterday," voted Song Of The (20th) Century in a poll a couple of years ago. And he does a decent job of it. I have heard a lot of brilliant covers of "Yesterday"; I've also heard a lot of atrocious covers. This is middling. Also "Flying Without Wings," voted Record Of The Year (1999) by ITV viewers. Hang on one cotton-pickin' minute, that's two ballads for Gates, and none of the upbeat songs that the others are performing and give him so much trouble. Ah, the smell of slow-fried rodent. The implicit message: If you like Westlife (as viewers of teatime phone vote shows are proven to do) you'll like this. The sound of a pop caused by blowing too hard on the plosives into the mike. This is competent, until he tries to hit the high note towards the end, and misses. For the first time in my life, I reckon Westlife's version is better. Hey, aren't Westlife another of Cowell's products? "I'm almost speechless" - Cowell. With admiration, somehow. "'Yesterday' was brilliant" - Chapman, who doesn't comment on FWW. "You've improved" - Waterman. "'Yesterday' will be talk of the town" - Fox. Looks like the Pap Panel have stopped giving criticism and started being clappy yes men. I forget. This is Gareth, The Anointed One. Once again, the stutter means there's no meaningful post-performance interview.

+ William Young gets "Beyond The Sea," as recorded by Bobby Darin. He sticks slavishly to Darin's version early on, but adds some of his own tricks later in the performance. He visibly grew in confidence as the song went on. "I Get The Sweetest Feeling," Jackie Wilson's song, is Young's second. This is another outstanding performance, Young adding his stamp to a standard. Just pips Danesh's second to the honour of the week's best. "Fantastic" - Cowell. "Fantastic" - Chapman. "See what happens when you sing great songs" - Waterman. "Brilliant" - Fox.

On this week's performances, I reckon Gates Must Go. The Pap Panel reckons Danesh is for the chop. The viewers - 5.8 million votes - kiss goodbye to Danesh. 39.8% to 39.3% For the surviving contestants, suggesting Danesh got a mere 20.9%. Does the pap panel record its comments just before the results show, when the vote is clear? And with something like 50 million calls made during the series so far, where does the money go? Each call nets 3.75p to the production company. Not a lot per call, but it adds up to a lot of 3.75ps.

During the week, Danesh spoke to the media in Scotland. He reckons Gareth (sorry, the winner) will be supping from a poisoned chalice, and it's all been manipulated by secretive Men In Black. That one of these secretive men has been in front of the cameras is overlooked. He reckons The Anointed One will be pushed from pillar to post without a chance for creative expression. Unlike, I suppose, those who were rejected after being on national prime time television each week for the best part of three months...

Next week, 21 weeks of searching comes to a grinding halt. It's the final. The hole has been drilled, and the peg has been found to fill that hole. Even the first single has been specially chosen from the most bland section of judge Cowell's back catalogue to suit The Annoying One. Not Young's distinctive voice, but Gates' identikit vocal style.

The ratings are also on the winning list, scoring 10m and a 48.8% share. 9.9m stayed for the results. Millionaire took 6.8m / 30%, while BBC1's Dog Eat Dog scored 4.5m / 21%.


The quarterfinal draw:

[5] Edinburgh* bt Newcastle [3]

[7] St Hugh's Oxford -v- Imperial London* [2]

[1] *Somerville Oxford -v- Downing Cambridge [8]

[6] *University College London -v- Christ's Cambridge [4]

Leeds and Churchill Cambridge have fallen to St Hugh's; Imperial accounted for De Montfort and Christ Church Oxford.

The teams know these things: the derivation of WD-40's name. Poicell's law. Milton Friedman's school of economics. Repairs to the Wimbledon centre court.

The teams don't know these things: who wrote "Fat Is A Feminist Issue." Avogadro's number. Where you'll find the Pleiades. The difference between Halifax, NS and St John's, NF.

It's a slow opening, neither side really letting rip, and staying pretty much neck and neck throughout. Lloyd Kilford briefly lets rip on the buzzer, allowing Imperial to run at a rate of knots. But this is only a brief respite, and the contest plods along again.

Hidden Student Indicator Of The Week: Imperial goes 2/3 on questions regarding losing their mind. Readers can add their own snide remarks here.

St Hugh's dallied on their bonuses, and got them wrong. That's why they ran out losers by a painfully large scoreline. Imperial captain Daruis Fidgett got his first starter with less than two minutes to play. He got his second 40 seconds later. The teams combined to answer at least one question correctly from each set on bonuses; only Imperial managed to sweep all three in a set.

The box score:

SHO 35 50 40 5 (130)

ICL 60 80 85 50 (275)

St Hugh's took 13/24 bonuses, Imperial 27/42. Paddy Hayes top scored on 86; Fidgett was Imperial's lowest, but his 50 was more than David Holdsworth, St Hugh's leader on 43. Ken Morton pipped Holdsworth as SHO's top scorer in the series, 168-162.

University Challenge will air in its usual slot next week.


Sent Off: Channel 4's plans to give viewers a hand in the running of Stevenage Borough FC. Managers of the semi-pro Football Conference, in which the Borough plays, have refused to allow amateurs to choose the team. The show would devalue the game and open up a legal minefield, according to the Conference meisters. C4 will continue shooting at the club, to air a standard flea-on-the-wall documentary series.

Rained Off: After last week's ennui-filled review, Perry Vale decided to spice up competition in Channel 4's EDEN. "Let there be rain," said an SMS vote of viewers, and lo! there was rain. Two bridges providing contact with the outside world have been washed away, the on-site production staff have been running around like mad things trying to keep some semblance of order to the show, and it's all become very entertaining all of a sudden. In a Stuart Hall KNOCKOUT kind of way, not the real people drama the producers intended.

Going Off: It's not unusual for prime time WEAKEST LINK (approximate average this year: 4m / 32%) to trail direct competition from ITV, especially as it's often up against European football. It's not been unknown for prime time Weakest Link to attract fewer viewers than its daytime counterpart. This week was a first. PTWL (3.9m / 18%) dropped behind HOME FRONT IN THE GARDEN (redesigning a garden; 3.9m / 19%) and LIFE LAUNDRY (consultant sorts someone's life out.) Readers may insert their favourite Robinson-esque send off here.

Bothered Off: Only a few people want to be on BIG BROTHER III. They're sending just a few tapes to Endemol's production offices. With applications closing this week, the post service had very little to deliver: only a little over 200 bags stuffed full of videotapes from applicants who want their fifteen weeks of fame. Every day. Last year, Liz won her place (in part) by stripping off to the video. It was cool then, it's so clichéd this year. Our thoughts are with the researchers who have to watch this rubbish.


It may be the Winter Olympics, but that's doesn't have as much impact on the schedules as I expected.

Saturday on BBC1 has DOG EAT DOG at 6:05, followed by the GENERATION GAME and JET SET. Over on ITV, the POP IDOL FINAL begins at the later time of 7:10, result at 10:05. In between, MILLIONAIRE is at 8:10 - it will *not* be interactive on ITV2. The week's other editions - Su 8, Mo 8:30, Tu 8 - are interactive.

ITV2 begins reruns of THE RACE proper at 8:30 Sunday. This week, the teams have to get from London to Constantinople. Will any of the teams perform karaoke in Rome? As I mentioned last year, this show rather grew on me, and I'm looking forward to re-viewing the opening episodes actually knowing the contestants.

Also on Sunday night, there's a quiz block on BBC Choice from 8:30: COME FLY WITH ME, SHOOTING STARS, and RENT FREE.

The smart Alec in COUNTDOWN's dictionary corner is Roger McGough.

There is no WEAKEST LINK daytime on Monday, owing to live Olympics coverage. The rest of the week sees US versions of the show.

There is no WEAKEST LINK primetime on Wednesday. Neither is there a BRITAIN'S BRAINIEST. There is, however, a repeat of DOG EAT DOG at 8:25 on Choice. Phew. Thought we'd have nothing to watch but live ski jumping.

Ha! Spot deliberate omission! BANZAI back on C4 10:30 Thursday! Very very funny show! Side bet: how long can celebs spout off to Lady One Question without waiting for any sort of response. Dame June Whitfield's 35 seconds must be beatable, surely.

Radio watch: Round Britain Quiz sees Scotland take on the North; Just a Minute visits Southsea; Angela Newing, Prof David Singmaster and Raymond Keene constitute the last Puzzle Panel of the series.

To have Weaver's Week emailed to you on publication day (usually Saturday), receive our exclusive TV roundup of the game shows in the week ahead, and chat to other ukgameshows.com readers sign up to our Yahoo! Group.

Back to Weaver's Week Index

A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in