Weaver's Week 2016-01-17

Last week | Weaver's Week Index | Next week

This week: antiques, rhoaedin, the National Television Awards, the pools panel, and a worrying time for David Gest.

For What It's Worth


For What It's Worth

Tuesday's Child for BBC1, from 4 January

There are eight people in the studio for this quiz. Fern Britton, an antiques expert, and three pairs of contestants. There are also sixteen antiques. Divvy them up, two antiques each, say no more...

What, the players don't win the antiques? Just the value? Oh. Shame. That poker looked rather nice for the fireplace.

For What It's Worth It appears to be a game show contestant examining a small figurine.

The players have two distinct roles. The "picker" will select antiques, the "quizzer" will answer trivia questions. Before the game, the players have some time to look at the antiques. We see a little film of the pairs picking up the pieces, sniffing over a bottle, running the rule over a stationary set. We're told that the most expensive antique is worth a tidy sum (a few thousand). One of them is priceless, in the sense that it would not sell for pennies.

Round one is a buzzer round for the quizzers. Buzz in, and a light on the table by the quizzer illuminates. A joyous decorative touch on Watching the Detectives about ten years ago, but the studio here is bright and the light's small, so the effect is lost.

When the quizzer gives a right answer, their picker can choose one of the antiques from the board. This artefact joins the pair's "collection" of antiques, and displayed on a screen by the quizzer. Should the quizzer give an incorrect answer, they're not allowed to answer the next question; the question isn't offered to the other players.

For What It's Worth The team's collection is shown by the quizzer. It's messy.

After ten questions, the round is over. One by one, the pickers can ask the antiques expert for more information about any of the pieces in the game. The information comes with a gnomic warning: is this painting worth a lot now, or is it an investment for the future? The expert knows, but isn't telling.

Before the next round, the board of antiques gains some categories around the edges. The picker will select the antique they want to go for. The quizzer will pick the question category, either the one for the row or the one for the column. So when the ice-pick is at the intersection of "Film" and "Roman Britain", the quizzer chooses between these two subjects. A correct answer wins the item, an error leaves it on the board.

A second pass allows for some tactics – the picker can target an item on the board, as before. Or they can poach something from someone else's collection. In this case, the opposition quizzer gets to choose the category from the eight on the board. Your quizzer has been weak on Roman Britain? They'll be lumbered with it.

For What It's Worth This antiques expert knows the provenance and price of everything.

At the end of round two, we've heard sixteen questions . With perfect play, all sixteen items are in someone's collection. Now is the first time of reckoning. The expert announces which team has the least valuable total collection, and that team will leave us. Their collection is valued and discussed, and anything left on the board is also valued. We can hope to have found the "bottom lot", but not the "top lot".

Only the items collected by the two surviving teams carry on in the game. There's another chance for each picker to ask about one of the antiques left in the game. Then we're into round three, alternating answers in the style of the Who Dares Wins tie-break. A wrong answer loses the point, and allows the winning team to pilfer an item of their choice.

For What It's Worth One for everyone who stuck with The Taste.

After three questions, the round ends, and we have another reckoning. The team with the less valuable collection loses, and we hear prices and history for all their items.

Then the winning team is to pick one of their items to take forward to the final round. Hope it's the most valuable of the ones they've got. The items they reject are valued and discussed.

So, from the original 16 items, just one remains. Someone picked it in the first two rounds, it finished with the winning side, and they've chosen it. The team will win the value of that item, whatever it is.

Or will they? A mystery object is revealed. The winning team can swap their winning item (of unknown value) with the mystery object (of unknown value). Unlike certain shows with 23 boxes, stick or swap is a question of skill and judgement. It's not a blind gamble. Well, not unless the team has brought in the Priceless Lot and would leave with nothing anyway.

For What It's Worth Do you want to gamble your watch against this mystery jacket?

For What It's Worth is straightforward, you can come in halfway through and see the state of the game. There is playalong value: the questions are undemanding trivia, the antiques are a world of their own. Of course, we viewers aren't privy to the intimate details (we can see the glass vase is straight rather than bulbous, but we don't see the markings beneath.)

But the show falls down with a large Faffing About Quotient (copyright Life After Mastermind 2013). It's six minutes before the game begins, we lose a lot of time with fluffy descriptions, and the pricing drags on a bit. Even allowing for the fact that it's daytime television, For What It's Worth is drawn-out television. It's not "slow" in the sense of BBC4's Canal Trip, there's enough going on and swooshing round to raise the pulse rate. But nor is it fast television, it's languid and placid.

For What It's Worth The set is elegant, vast, and empty.

We reckon For What It's Worth just takes a bit too long. Rushing the programme into 30 minutes would be completely wrong, but there isn't quite enough in the format to fill a 45 minute slot. This is a shame: the concept is simple, the marriage of quiz and antique never feels forced, and the show would go places if it had a bit more oomph.

On the other hand, it's moving to 3pm this week, opposite the (relatively) frantic Dickinson's Real Deal on ITV. Maybe there is merit in the tranquility.

Only Connect

Semi-final 2: Yorkers v Wayfarers

Yorkers came through the top half of the draw, defeating the Polyglots, Cluesmiths, and Operational Researchers. Wayfarers defeated the Bookworms, lost to String Section, beat the Builders and Bookworms again. Basically, they've only beaten teams beginning with B.

Round one began with a generous adjudication. "Names within names" was barely explained by the Wayfarers, but enough for the point. Wayfarers scored on all three of their own questions, and picked up a bonus. Yorkers recognised the various aliases of the rap star Mr. Snoop Dogg / Lion / Oiltanker / Pea. And they get place names that include a compass point but don't have any other counterparts. There's an East Anglia, but no West Anglia. There's a Northamptonshire, but no Southamptonshire. Well, not any more, it's Hampshire these days. 5-2 to the Wayfarers.

Ask any schoolboy about Latin verb conjugations, and he'll decline like a noun. Wayfarers didn't decline three points, they love their 1st. Yorkers ended the round with three points on things repeated for effect: Education 3, Techno 4. Points went begging for events in July, for prime minister's Desert Island Discs, and the pools panel said "no score". Wayfarers picked a bonus on the plagues of Egypt to lead by 9-5.

Yorkers made very light work of their wall, splitting city squares from sea battles for ten points. Wayfarers were sunk, they confused bridges with "water" words and literary trilogies. We loved how one wall used "Water" as a clue for the link "____ table", and the other used "Table" to clue "water ____".

15-14 to the Yorkers going into Missing Vowels. The first set, former European monarchs, ended 2-2, and the Pools Panel awarded 2½ points. Patron saints and their patronage ended 1-1, and the Pools Panel gave the full three points. Could we claim a first dividend? No, but we could claim first words of Shakespeare plays. That went 2-1 to the Wayfarers, and they didn't have time to answer the final clue.

So the match ended 19-19. Again, it's a knockout tournament, and one of the sides does need to be knocked out, otherwise we'll end up with more replays than The Mousetrap. This time, Wayfarers answered the tiebreak clue, and they got it right. They'll meet the String Section again in next week's final.

Only Connect (2) Which means we lose the Yorkers: Joe Crowther, captain Alasdair Middleton, Jack Johannes Alexander.

Only Connect has been renewed for two more series, and it'll now run to 37 episodes per year. Here's a softball question: what ingenious complex semi-knockout format can they use?

Countdown Update

"I've not been practising," confessed Callum Todd (champion, winter 2013) before his match with Samir Pilica (semi-finals, summer 2014). This will reassure his next opponents, because Callum is in poor form. In round one, he offered "Valorised", and scored the maximum 18 points. Perfection on all four numbers rounds, and such winners as "Toastier" and "Bangled". But he is beatable; Samir won one letters match. Callum won the match by 127-88, and scored the maximum in 12 rounds.

Dan McColm (champion, winter 2014) had a good match from Paul James (champion, winter 2012). Dan won two letters rounds early on. Even though Paul beat him on a numbers match, it felt like this was an aberration. Dan recorded 12 maximum rounds in his win, 106-69.

The final qualifier was Mark Murray (champion, summer 2014). He beat Antoinette Ryan (runner-up, winter 2014) by 125-88. Antoinette failed to score in the opening rounds, beaten by one letter each time, and that 16-point lead would be uncatchable. Mark pulled away with the niner Feudalist, and scored the maximum in 12 rounds.

And so to the quarter finals. After three rounds, we thought it was going to be an easy win for Tom Cappleman. He'd already spotted the winner "Rhoeadin" and solved an easier-than-it-looked six small numbers. After six rounds, the gap remained 18 points. Then it shrivelled away: Giles Hutchings proved the "Tawniest" of them all, and solved a tougher-than-it-looked six small numbers. With the scores level, Tom offered "formale", but formal does not take an e on the end. Giles had the advantage going into the conundrum, solved the conundrum, and won by 114-97. Giles scored the maximum in 12 rounds.

Twelve maximum rounds? That's nothing to Friday's players, who scored 27 maxima between them. Dylan Taylor won the match by 127-125, he scored perfection in fourteen rounds while Andy Platt managed a mere (!) thirteen. Both players got "Promoters". Only Andy could follow that with "Urnfields", Dylan was stuck on "Direful". But Andy had already gone wrong on a numbers round, and Dylan solved the conundrum to take victory.

This Week and Next


Awooga! Robot Wars is coming back on BBC2. The show was some large remote-controlled metal boxes, with a big lifty-uppy-spikey thing, designed to cut into the bladey thing above it, a couple of bright lighty-shiny things at the front, and some floppy-spikey things at the back.

If you have a slow-moving metal box with all those oojamaflips, you too could face Lord Killalot and Commander Bash (they've gone up in the world since we last saw them).

The death of Ed Stewart was announced last weekend. "Stewpot" will be remembered for his radio work, including Junior Choice and shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2. His television engagements included Exit - it's the Way-Out Show, and five years hosting the children's variety programme Crackerjack. A fan of Everton, Stewart would do shows like A Question of Sport and Quiz Ball, and he turned up for It's a Celebrity Knockout and Star Turn.

We also heard about the death of David Bowie. The rock star himself didn't have much of a history on game shows, other than as a reliable specialist subject. But his ex-wife Angie is starring in the current series of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5. The producers decided to tell Angie about David's death. Through a series of misunderstandings and confusion, the lab rats thought the deceased was David Gest.

We are pleased to confirm that David Gest is alive and well, and in the Celebrity Big Brother studio.

University Challenge ended its sudden-death round by eliminating Queen's University Belfast. They lost to St John's Oxford by 180-100, itself a recovery from a very poor position.

We think the draw for the group phase is:

  • York – Peterhouse Cambridge
  • St Catherine's Cambridge – St John's Oxford


  • Imperial London – Nuffield Oxford
  • Newcastle – Liverpool

Imperial look to be the best side in the draw, and they have much the easier half of the draw. Could York be joined by Catz and Johns in the semis?

A rare worst-to-first performance on Mastermind. Dennis Tomlinson was in last place after the general knowledge tilt, five points adrift of the leader. With little to lose, he went for it in the second phase, and picked up point after point. It proved enough to surpass Stephen Wilson, Rob Coley, and Ruth Green for the victory.

Three heats remain, and any score of 26 looks set to qualify a player for the semi-finals. As it stands, all six high-scoring losers come from the first six heats.

BARB ratings for New Year's week are out. Sherlock was the top show, seen by 11.65m, expect a series. Wednesday teatime's Pointless the top game show, 5 million viewers. Ninja Warrior came back to 3.35m, Take Me Out pulled 3.25m. The 8 Out of 10 Cats new year special brought 1.75m, and World's Strongest Man finished with 1.95m. Celebrity Juice topped the non-PSB lists with 805,000, and Rupaul's Drag Race attracted 83,000 to TruTV.

Democracy season continues, with the ITV National Television Awards. Final nominations are:

The most popular entrant in each category will take the award this coming Wednesday

A new series of Dickinson's Real Deal (ITV, weekdays) hits daytimes. The finals of Only Connect (BBC2, Mon) and the Countdown Championship of Champions (C4, Fri). Soap operas on Pointless Celebrities next Saturday,

Results from our Poll of the Year 2015 will be announced in a live video webcast at 9pm on Tuesday evening. This column will discuss its vote next Sunday.

Photo credits: Tuesday's Child, Presentable, BBC.

To have Weaver's Week emailed to you on publication day, 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.

Last week | Weaver's Week Index | Next week

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