Weaver's Week 2002-10-19

Weaver's Week Index

19th October 2002

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

This week, Kate (she won BIG BROTHER) and Spencer (he didn't) spoke about their relationship. Details inside, along with this year's book list.


First round, match 7: Cranfield -v- Brasenose Oxford

Cranfield has lost heavily in the last three first rounds, to Nottingham, Imperial, and Wadham Oxford. Brasenose is also yet to win a match, losing to 95 champs Trinity Cambridge by five points, then to Aberdeen by an embarrassment in the second round.

Once again, Cranfield has entered a team of postgrads. The institution doesn't take a significant number of undergrads. This might explain why Cranfield raced to a good lead by the first pictures. It doesn't explain why Brasenose got their first ten starters wrong.

Brasenose gets a question on SMS messaging, and another on Sindy. This helps to bring the sides level, though only for a few moments. Brasenose has eked out a small lead by the music round; a string of incorrect starters and a section on jazz musicians means no one is scoring highly.

All eight players have at least one starter to their name shortly after the second picture round. Cranfield has a good lead, but Brasenose overturns it, takes a ten point lead. Cranfield a starter, then the gong. 165 all.

We have a tie, teams. Cranfield's Joe Marden is the hero of the day, getting the breaking starter.

They Wouldn't Have Put Up With This In Bambi's Day: Phobos and Demios...
Roland Lewis, Brasenose: Mars
Thumper: Is incorrect... are the names of the moons of the fourth planet from the sun, and also the horses that pulled the chariot of which Greek god? [1]

One For The Undergrads: On a mobile phone, which buttons should be pushed to compose the word "Gap"? (pause for everyone to work it out)
Richard Tibbles, Brasenose: 427.

Interruption of the week: Which river formed the boundary between Ancient Rome and...
Joe Marden, Cranfield: Rubicon

Does Mrs Keppel Know This?: Before marrying Henry II, to which French king was Eleanor of Aquitaine married? (Brasenose doesn't.) [2]

Since the revival, these teams have now played seven matches, and won the grand total of none of them. Turnbull is the top scorer, making 68; Marden is just behind on 64. Cranfield made 16/27 bonuses with one missignal; Brasenose 13/33 with two missignals. The teams combined for a perfect 45 points on maths and physics questions.

We now have a three way tie on 165 points. UMIST made 16/30 (3 missig), and theirs is the more impressive performance.

The Top 4 Losers Board: 180 York 165 Jesus Oxford; UMIST; Brasenose Oxford

Next week: Manchester -v- Middlesex.


As soon as the Big Brother contestants have finished their fifteen weeks of fame, retailers begin their Christmas shopping campaigns. Here are some offerings vying for space this year:

If it's something simple to play while dodging the Queen's Speech, then look no further than WINNING LINES 2. A companion to the cunningly entitled Winning Lines quiz book from earlier this year, WL2 allows you to play the Greatest Endgame In Television History from the comfort of your armchair. Sadly, there's still no CD of the game music included. Also further offerings from MILLIONAIRE and WEAKEST LINK.

If it's a more complex quiz book, try BRITAIN'S BRAINIEST. The Carol Vorderman vehicle will be back later in the year, and this is the quiz book that makes the show look simple. It's a very Heath Robinson contraption, with a combination of multi-choice general knowledge questions, specialist subjects, code breakers, missing words, and a final round that is devoid of the grids. You'll need a lot of imagination to get this working.

Even more complex, and perhaps best saved for Boxing Day, is 40 YEARS OF UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE. The first third of this tome is a review of the history of the venerable student quiz. Included are the sample question papers sat by this year's teams, and some questions from the first and most recent finals. Readers will be able to draw their own conclusion regarding the length and complexity of the starters. Most of the balance is taken up by more organised questions, allowing you to play your own version of the game. You'll need to find your own Roger Tilling, and there are no hints on how to construct two benches on top of each other. The last section of the book is a prize quiz.

If the prospect of having Uncle Jez shouting "Come ON!" at you over the chocolate box is too much, then Chris Tarrant has put his name to MILLIONAIRE MOMENTS. This reviews some of the more entertaining contestants on the UK's best loved game show. Wince as Rachel Mendez da Costa puts the series on the map with one phone call. Groan as Duncan Bickley loses 87% of his winnings. Cheer to the rafters as Judith and Robert and John scoop the jackpot. Plus other people, some of whom we've forgotten totally, and one of whom we've not even seen. The book claims to reproduce the fun and excitement of the television show, but I'm not sure it does it as well as Chris and Jeremy and Charlie and all the other recappers.

If you want to confuse your hip and happening Aunt Amy, get her POP LIFE. It looks like a child's exercise book. It's written by Casper Llewellyn Smith, who has a day job as the television correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. Inside, it's a thoroughly researched and gripping read into why POP IDLE and BIG BROTHER gripped the nation, and traces the shows' roots back through to the war. It includes inside information from Pete Waterman that bears comparison with the reviews here. There's no index, so this isn't a scholarly work, but there is a mention of ICE WARRIORS on page 35.

And finally. Something for all ages: The BANZAI! BOOK OF BETTING! Ha! Take the Glamorous Granny Guessing Game! Which page contains best drawing? Is it A) 21. B) 43. C) 66. Bet now! Bet now! Turn over page! See! You loser! On second thoughts, it works far better on the screen; the page loses Bert Kwouk's superb commentary, and the selection of just too cheesy muzak. A soundtrack album is also available.


Spotted on this week's WINNING LINES... Gopherman: If twice as many people entered the Fame Academy, how many would have gone in? Correct answer: 24; Entitled to play: 28; Bothering to participate: 7; Getting it right: 3; Exposure for The Hit Constructed Reality Show That Auntie Really Wants You To Watch: commercially sensitive, but cheap at twice the price.

Apparently, Kate and Spencer were seeing each other for about two weeks, and then it finished. Bit like their time on the show, really.

The National TV Awards were unveiled this week, following public votes. Antan Dec won big, scooping Most Popular Entertainment Presenter, Most Popular Entertainment Show for POP IDLE, and a Special Recognition Award for contributions to entertainment. Or was it so that people could tell them apart? MILLIONAIRE took Most Popular Game Show for the third year, BARGAIN HUNT the Most Popular Daytime Show award, and BIG BROTHER the Most Popular Factual Show. Other winners: David Jason, East Enders, Graham Norton, Cold Feet, and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Dickinson used this platform to announce that he would concentrate on prime time television, and leave the daytime show for the time being.

Conrad Green is to leave the BBC. Green, who produced the first two years of BIG BROTHER for C4, joined the corp just a year ago. His main credits are REMOTELY FUNNY, a show that never was; and a re-working of MURDER IN SMALL TOWN X, a show that is yet to be. He will still work for the Beeb as a consultant, but his main cheques will be signed by Simon Fuller's 19 Television.


This is a Weaver's Week exclusive. In an attempt to boost the popularity of Fame Academy, the corporation will set them different tasks each week. After the football challenge last week ended in ignominious failure and a 2-2 draw against le ex-republiqe yugoslavie de macedonie nul points, this week will see the remaining contestants go to work in the garden in CANE ACADEMY. The best runner beans and cress by the end of the week will win. Judging will be by Charlie Dimmock, clearly showing the Corp is bringing out the big guns.

DOG EAT DOG at 1735, CHAIR 1840, and WINNING LINES 1930. MILLIONAIRE is at 2000, and I'm wondering if it's becoming event television again. Prior to that, the return of BLIND DATE with a slightly revised format. Review when we're that desperate.

There might be a little too much recycling here: SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE is on Discovery at 1300, DISC+1 at 1400, E4 at 1530, and C4 at 1730. The new show aims to build a clockwork car.

One we missed last week: THE BACHELOR USA on BBC Choice at 2100 Sunday.

Daytime TV features a new series of NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD at 1405 in most ITV regions. Don't forget to miss it.

Trouble debuts SEX BOMB, where Jayne Sharp (who?) goes into nightclubs and watches people on the pull. This may not be as bad as it sounds. It may be worse. 1225, 1700, 2155 weekdays.

This week's FEAR FACTOR is a celeb edition, for charidee. Among the celebrities taking part are Ralf Little, DJ Spooney, Abs, Harvey, Ann Marie Davies, and Terri Dwyer. As Richard O'Brien said, "Who are these people?" 2000 Tuesday.

ITV debuts MR RIGHT, the live show in which women compete for the chance to date Britain's most eligible man. [3] Fifteen female contestants will be reduced to quivering wrecks, with the help of viewers, in a bid to find Mr Right his perfect partner. Hosted by Ulrikaka, who is an expert in this field, according to recent press reports linking her with Hunter, Rhino, Jammyswede, and a whole host of Gladiators.

[1] Ares.

[2] Louis VII.

[3] Gentleman concerned is not Britain's most eligible, according to an ever-reliable source, my ego.

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