Weaver's Week 2008-07-06
When we left our intrepid explorers, they were trying to work out who was the spy amongst their midst. Who is the enemy within? Who was the mole?
"If you can persuade one of the others to join you in your circle, or if you want to join the others in theirs, and three of you agree, point to the other and say, 'Mole, mole, go to your hole'. If they're wrong, they get evaporated."
Lesley Judd shrieks, Madeleine Smith says that she won't say anything, which is hardly different from the rest of the programme. David Yip queries the rules, and Derek Gale asks if there really was a mole, and says that this is where they start the accusations. Ganord says that the group has one minute, the lights go down to a spooky level, casting long shadows, and some dragons appear - in dragon form, no less - to intimidate the contestants. Viewed from a somewhat later point in history, we wonder if this little scene can claim to be a predecessor to the popular party game of Mafia, and if the short series Traitor (2004) was timed to air in the same 6pm slot. The timeslot is a coincidence, surely.
Back at the game, Lesley's wondering if there's a way of doing this, and the others are completely lost for words. The gentlemen, sharing a circle, are sure they're not the mole, which leaves one of the ladies. Lesley encourages the others to vote on it. David and Derek look convinced, and point out that Lesley's the obvious candidate, as she joined proceedings some time after the start. The gents eventually realise that Madeleine's done nothing of substance all show, and invite Lesley across.
But then the finger-pointing starts: Madeleine accuses Derek of being "too clever by half", and Lesley joins in the accusations. With just a few seconds on the clock, and Lesley not moving, David leaps across to the other circle, where the remaining three shout, "Mole, mole, go to your hole!"
Derek gets evaporated. The mole was Lesley, who promises, "You haven't seen the last of me yet!" That probably explains why she was seen at the start of the show reading that well-known spy journal the Daily Mole.
Ganord, being the fine upstanding citizen of Arg, insists that Lesley hands over the postcard she picked up in the kitchen. "Dear Argonauts, Do swim around for a better understanding. Yours, Dr Owssap." There's an edit at this point, and one of the team signs himself into the computer as "Daviod Yip". He has an increasingly esoteric conversation with the computer.
Another edit sees us back in the kitchen, where the remaining adventurers have a key, saying "T for Time." Daviod suggests a nice hot cup of tea. "Milk?" he asks. "No, you must never have milk with Earl Gray tea," replies Madeleine. Patrick Dowling's recollection of this incident - that a dragon dressed as a milkman offered her the liquid - is sadly at variance with the facts.
Another edit sees us back in the main room, where the two are discussing with Ganord; clearly, they're beginning to run out of time before the studio hands call a halt to proceedings. Daviod types "wisdom" into the computer. Apple II computers aren't too familiar with earth languages, particularly when he's typed "wwisdom". "Wisdom" is the password, but it's too early - they've got to get the right time. "Time for T" says Madeleine.
Another edit, and Daviod's thumbing through the Book of Signals they found late last week. Is the semaphore picture on the wall of any use to them? Maybe: what if they put the semaphore signal for "T" on the clock. The face is locked, but the "Time for T" key opens it. The code is (roughly) 10 o'clock, the clock chimes, and then it quacks. The computer screen reads, "Please enter the password now".
After a couple of false starts, Daviod finally enters "Wisdom", and is rewarded with a message. "Your flight is boarding now, departure in five minutes. Please have your drogna ready."
We'll just pause here to consider the clues. Last week, the team received two postcards. The first read, "God give them wisdom that have it, and those that are fools, let them use their talents!" The second card spoke about "seven pillars", and it took a not very subtle hint from Ganord to lead them to the answer. And "Do swim" is an anagram, something they should put "around". There's no particular meaning in the picture of semaphore signs, merely that they are semaphore signs.
Back in the ticket office, Gandor is putting on his officious inspector's hat, and asking for the fares home. Fifteen drogna per person, then there's the fuel surcharge, spaceport tax, though not a Taking the Mickey tax; even dragons wouldn't think of charging visitors to advertise the brilliance of their planet. But rather than fill all these boxes, Gandor suggests a little back-hander, and takes their remaining drogna in exchange for pure glass crystals. Ganord convinces him to give them a crystal each for their time on the planet. And a ham sandwich for the trip.
It's clear that Daviod and Madeleine never got to grips with the drogna markings. It really was very simple: the number of sides on the shape is multiplied by the colour on the rainbow. A red circle is valued at (1x1) one drogna, a red pentagon (1x5) and blue circle (5x1) have equal values, and the green square that Gandor had was worth 16.
Out of the door, we see Lesley and Derek by a console. Derek's been evaporated here, and now has his chance to help Lesley exact revenge. If Madeleine or Daviod get evaporated, this high-powered state-of-the-arg evaporator will send them right off to the hyper-space lane. "Welcome to my Vortex," cries Lesley to the visitors, and Ganord gives a demonstration of how the game works. It's a little easier because she can see the evaporation beam.
The rules of the vortex are very very simple. Even an aspidistra could understand them. Get from that side to this, along the paths, without walking into the evaporation beam, otherwise whoosh! There'll be no place on the shuttle.
Madeleine is first to tackle the challenge, and side-steps on her second move. Derek's playing a clever game, retreating to lure Madeleine into the corner, where she's evaporated. Daviod side-steps on his second move, advances to a middle corner, forcing the beam to his side, but then retreats! It's a foolish move, and (quite frankly) he deserves to be evaporated.
Lesley and Ganord adjust the scoreboard: counting evaporations from the previous series (Earth 7, Arg 8), it's now Earth 9, Arg 12. Ganord muses that it'll be a cold night, but someone will come along and give Madeleine and Daviod a lift. They're at a sign-post on the journey, and try to flag down the Arg shuttle.
It's not stopping. Long walk home!
The key credits for this series: Nick Moore made the video effects, spattering out from the middle of the screen as people were evaporated, or the Argonds shifted their shape. Dennis Collett had the thankless task of editing down hours of footage into a coherent 45-minute programme. Katherine Ayerst made the costumes, Mickey Edwards and Steve Bowman the special effects, Lynda Kettle and Bob Hutton the set design. The show was directed by Ian Oliver, and written and produced by Patrick Dowling.
- The question we set in the Game Show Times was to explain: "A skateboard for a drumming granny; the sharp end of Lucifer; and the follower of the Rear of the Year 1986. Young Sherlock completes the set." The answer follows much later.
Other Shows From The Week
Saturday 7 November 1981
- 1227 Rad4 The News Quiz
Repeated Monday 6.30.
- 5.40 BBC2 Metro Royal
Highlights of yesterday's official opening of the Tyne and Wear Metro.
- 5.40 ITV The Pyramid Game
Steve Jones hosts the word association quiz. Tyne Tees 5.42, Westward 5.43.
- 6.10 ITV Game for a Laugh
Members of the audience make fools of themselves with Sarah Kennedy.
- 6.15 BBC1 Larry Grayson's Generation Game
We would like to tell you who else appeared on this episode. Thanks to the unique way in which the BBC is funded, the information is under lock and key.
- 6.35 BBC2 The World Chess Championship
Bill Hartston and guests discuss the latest moves in Karpov's match against Korchnoi. After winning three of the first four games, Karpov found the overall victory more elusive than he might have hoped; going into this week's matches, his lead was 4-1, with the first to 6 winning the title.
A quiz about memorable quotations, hosted by Lennie Bennett.
- 1pm ITV University Challenge
LWT 2pm, STV 3pm; Anglia 5.15 Monday, Southern 6.30 Thursday; not Channel.
- 1.55 BBC1 Jeux Sans Frontieres
(5/6) Contests between teams in London and New York. Also 12.27 Wednesday.
The history and architecture of Bath; novels by Kingsley Amis; works of Dorothy L. Sayers; novels of Grahame Green.
- 9.45 BBC2 Grand Slam
Jeremy James narrates a televised bridge tournament. This show is, perhaps, notable as an early foray into entertainment for Peter Bazalgette.
- 4.40 BBC1 Jigsaw
Again, details of this programme are not available.
- 6.05 BBC2 The Adventure Game
See feature review
General knowledge and darts quiz.
- 10pm Rad2 Pop Score
- 5.10 BBC1 Screen Test
Farringdon School Sunderland and Newlands School Middlesbrough. Wales 4.50 Friday.
- 6.30 Rad4 Top of the Form
Repeated Thursday 12.27.
There were no programmes of interest on Wednesday.
- 3.45 ITV Three Little Words
Word association game. With Ray Alan.
- 7pm ITV Take the Stage
Improvisation contest, with Don Henderson, Diane Keen and Simon Cadell taking on a team from the Nuffield Theatre, Sheffield. Thames, Anglia, Grampian, Westward, Channel 5.15; not Scottish.
- 7.30 ITV Give Us a Clue
- 7.55 BBC1 Blankety Blank
Dinah Sheridan, Lorraine Chase, Tony Blackburn, Leslie Crowther, Carol Drinkwater, Mike Reid, and Terry Wogan failing to keep order.
- 8.30 ITV Miss World 1981
Live from the Royal Albert Hall, with Judith Chalmers and Peter Marshall.
- 4.50 BBC1 Crackerjack
With the Grumbleweeds. Wales 8.50am Saturday.
Two married couples, a giant pack of cards, and the humour of Brucie. Tonight: the Fosters of Coventry, and the McBrides of Glenrothes.
This Week And Next
Back to the present day, by means of the recent past. Readers will, perhaps, remember Deal or No Deal, a simple guessing game presented by the simply awful wardrobe of Noel Edmonds. The show was last in the news for unfairness in its 0898 Legalised Telephone Lottery. Now, the host has claimed that he was never in favour of the call-and-lose contest, claiming that "it destroyed the atmosphere of the show and it didn't engage the public." This raises the question: why didn't he say so earlier?
Speaking of increasingly desperate gimmicks, the BBC has quietly snuck out a press release (in the middle of an Andy Murray match, no less). They're going to be making a very silly Saturday evening show, combining Dale Winton, leotards, a wall, and a swimming pool. Oh, and some minor celebrities. Next, surely, is the latest revival of Jeux Sans Frontieres.
In other news, Channel 4 has finally seen sense, and commissioned another daytime series of Come Dine with Me. It's set to go out in December, in the slot vacated by Richard and Judy after their show moves to satellite. Come Dine With Me will be paired with Total Recall, a show in which Terry Wogan invites contestants to remember answers from previous rounds, and they invite him to mind his manners and not call his hosts Dr. Death.
Ratings for the week to 22 June, and it's a great week for Beat the Star. The last show in the current run saw Vernon Kay beat his challenger, and beat all other game shows, with 5.2m viewers. Big Brother finished second, 3.8m were attracted to Thursday's show, and a repeat of The Weakest Link: Puppets was seen by 3.45m. Come Dine With Me finished its series just shy of 3m - like Beat the Star, it ends its run almost as popular as when it began.
Come Dine With Me was the most popular programme on digital channels, 635,000 tuning in on Sunday, just beating America's Got Talent on ITV2. Big Brother's Big Mouth on Wednesday came in third, with a series-best 495,000 seeing Wednesday's show. Never Mind the Buzzcocks had its highest audience of the year on Dave, Monday's episode was seen by 470,000. A good week for CBBC's Clutter Nutters, 185,000 for the Saturday lunchtime edition; a good week for Bullseye on Challenge, recording its first six-figure audience of the year.
The quiz answer. A skateboard for a drumming granny; the sharp end of Lucifer; and the follower of the Rear of the Year 1986. Young Sherlock completes the set. The drumming granny was the abiding image of Eurovision 2005, and came from Moldova, where they played tennis against comedian Tony Hawks (not skateboarder Tony Hawk). "Lucifer" is the Dutch word for "safety match", the sharp end of which is a Matchpoint, a short-lived tennis quiz. Rear of the Year 1986 was Anneka Rice, followed on Treasure Hunt by Annabel Croft, the last British winner of the Wimbledon girls singles before yesterday. And in the 1986 film, Young Sherlock was played by Nicholas Rowe, later to be The Questioner on Grand Slam. The link is tennis.
This week's highlights begin with the Scrapheap Challenge final (C4, 5.55 tonight). There's the return of University Challenge (BBC2, 8pm Monday) and Des Lynam takes the stand on Sports Mastermind (BBC2, 8pm Tuesday and Wednesday). Mock the Week also makes a comeback (BBC2, 9pm Thursday) as does The Superteams (C5, 8pm Friday). Angus Deayton has been practicing his autocue-reading for Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, 9pm Friday), and Britain's Strongest Man visits C5 (11am Saturday).
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.