Poll of the Year 2013

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What, has someone gone and changed the year number again? How tedious.

Speaking of tedious, 2013 was the year that Channel 4 brought us Face the Clock. But don't fret, because there was some good stuff too (wasn't there?) and besides, we've got the small matter of the wooden spoon to award.

Like last year we're interested in Best New Shows, Worst New Shows, Best Show generally, your favourite moments and anything that excited you internationally. We treat traditional games and quizzes and reality games equally here.

This year we are dedicating the awards to the memory of the late Travis Penery who sadly passed away last month. A very knowledgeable man whose comments have featured in all the previous years we've featured reader comments and will be missed this year.


Hall of FAME 2013

Another year where the overall vibe was "meh", in fact this year blank votes would have won. Nonetheless you voted for 34 different shows, and your favourite ones are these:

10: Show Me the Telly

9: Break the Safe

8: The Common Denominator

7: Release the Hounds

5= That Puppet Game Show, Britain's Brightest

Two shows that probably ought to have been a bit better but certainly tried to be something a bit different for Saturday nights, and we do all love a trier, don't we?

On That Puppet Game Show you said:

  • "That Puppet Game Show was pretty much what Don't Scare the Hare could and should have been - a family game show to rival what CBBC has been capable of for the last decade."
  • "It wasn't by any stretch of the imagination a GREAT gameshow, but oh my did it try to be. Having a risk of this kind at Saturday night primetime is admirable, and it certainly was watchable and good, clean family-friendly entertainment."
  • "Didn't really rate the sitcom-y bits, but most of the games were a bit cleverer than your average Saturday night offering."
  • "Not enough game variety, really, but nicely amusing comic skits between games and none of the games that were present felt unwelcome, except in comparison to some others. All in all, nothing that couldn't be fixed for a future season, and the overall package was good. Shame no-one watched it, then."
  • "Nobody else liked it, but I thought it was hilarious and enjoyable. In particular, the creative and witty Life's A Speech game stood out - it's surprisingly fun watching Ronan Keating being asked to name his own albums and seeing his brain disintegrate into space jelly."

And on Britain's Brightest you said:

  • "Not traditional Saturday night fare but certainly had its fair share of good game ideas (I’m thinking particularly of “making words and judging time at the same time” and the puzzle rooms). Granted there were a few misses (Kinect Spelling and the Rebus writing!) but the concept of the show was nice and more focused on intelligence than knowledge than most shows do these days."
  • "It was OK, but I really hoped BBC and RDF copied the German original (a must-watch) one-on-one and didn't resort to Verschlimmbesserungen (improvements for the worse)."
  • "Nice to have some intelligent games on prime-time television, very accessible."
  • "This show came off like the spawn of The Krypton Factor and Channel 5's Ball/Theakston brain-tester from a few years back, and despite faults - contestants losing out in a spelling game due to a mis-flick of their arm rather than any verbal failure, for instance - there were gems here. Sadly they overused some of their weaker ideas (the untangle-name-from-image-clues thing barely works on Big Fat Quiz and bombed terribly here) and underused their better ones (their rarely-seen find-the-clues, solve-the-mystery game was pure Crystal Maze), and perhaps it was at the wrong time - a mental test is perhaps not welcome in the slot most casual viewers now associate with all-singing-all-dancing shows..."

4: Pressure Pad

We weren't expecting much from this from the pilot but in fairness the boy Barrowman came through in the end.

  • "A competent implementation of a good idea, even if it's outliving the 45 minute slot. Even Barrowman was OK!"
  • "There really wasn't a standout contender for 2013's Hall of Fame, just a wide swath of decent but flawed shows. In the end, I'll give my award to Pressure Pad. Not the most inventive or greatest show by any means, but it was an interesting combination of ideas presented competently."
  • "The show turned out more likeable and watch-able than Eggheads, thanks to the variation of mini games. Sadly most teams which won the final were all too happy with winning £2,000 and didn't bother the final question (mostly perfectly solvable)."
  • "Endgame needs work, but ultimately an enjoyable show with some good games - Borderline proving a personal favourite."
  • "The games here may not have been all that original, but it shows John Barrowman's not such a barking mad game show host now as to when he hosted The Kids Are All Right (remember that show?), and some of those games are good to play along with, all the same."

3: Fifteen-to-One

Well it wouldn't be a Poll of the Year if there wasn't one show where the editorial disagrees with the pollsters, and this year it's this which probably wasn't even the third best Fifteen-to-One celebrity special let alone third best new show of the last year. Still a revival has got many of you excited even if it left us rather cold.

  • "An entertaining enough attempt that brings back a gameshow that doesn't take half of hour to ask 10 questions. Looking forward to the full series - both celebrity and normal."
  • "Hopes not high, but it came back with Adam Hills instead of Bill G, and was pleasently surprised. No gimicks, no twists, no rule changes that made you go, "eh?", no added vote offs. Just a faithful reconstruction of the original show, played by celebs, who looked like they have all watched the original show before so where aware of not messing around to much. Got on with the job - got the commission to wander in the afternoon schdules again - time will tell if it should have been left to peak-time celeb versions every now and then."
  • "The Fifteen To One revival was done with love, and from the first beat of the new theme tune I enjoyed every second which something I can't say for a lot of new shows this year."
  • "Although it is probably better to wait until the regular version airs in 2014. It has almost mythic status, will C4 be able to live up to the expectation?"
  • "Kept the spirit of the old show while bringing the presentation bang up to date. I anxiously await the new series."

2: Catchphrase

Whereas this one we largely agree on, although it's a shame that two of the top five spots are taken up by revivals. This is solid and largely got the tone correct even if the 3D graphics aren't to everyone's tastes and the endgame rather an anticlimax. And the weird elimination round.

  • "How to do a 90s revival properly. The new endgame wasn't particularly stand-out, but still, it ticked all the right boxes, and seeing a show where the loser can pick up two grand and keep the money is just something you don't see any more, sadly."
  • "Definitely the way to revive a classic show. Simple and to the point. Not perfect (uncanny vally springs to mind), but a good show."
  • "I was so apprehensive about this, but I thought it was brilliant. Steven Mulhern does a fine job and the show is basically as it was. One of the better revivals I've seen in recent years."
  • "The Catchphrase revival deserves note for being precisely what a revival should be - pretty much straight up, but with enough wrinkles to stop us from thinking we may as well just watch the old episodes on Challenge. Of those wrinkles, the qualifying round is a negative, but the endgame is broadly positive - the lack of jeopardy was entirely appropriate for a charming nostalgia revival, even if the audience reaction to not getting the £50k wasn't."
  • "What a surprise! A more then passing resemblance to the golden era gave this revival real charm."

1: Five Minutes to a Fortune

This tops the poll by an absolute landslide, presumably made up of coins that had dropped out of Davina's giant eggtimer. Scheduling it against Pointless and The Chase was a bold move that backfired spectacularly, it was a proper gamer's game show that might possibly have been too gamey for public consumption. Stylishly produced for a daytime show a second series to correct a few of the niggles the first series had is sadly not forthcoming.

  • "CRIMINALLY done over by the channel who refused to give it a chance. It was a breath of fresh air that tested people on more than just their straightforward general knowledge. Also, straddling games. More shows need this. In an ideal world we'd just shelve The Million Pound Drop and have this instead, but sadly real life doesn't work like that."
  • "If Five Minutes to a Fortune had been the Deal or No Deal summer replacement, it could have saved both shows. Properly interesting twist on Q&A, the visual set piece gimmick was actually good, and a rare example of a show that used couples for more than an excuse to fill dead air."
  • "Admire Five Minutes to a Fortune for what it was, not what it wasn't. Sure, plenty of fast-forwarding to get from one minute of gameplay to the next, but the gameplay sustained interest day in, day out. Plenty of variety in the games, even if scope for there to be even more of it, but games well-played are things of great beauty; evoking the Mental Agility round of The Krypton Factor, but at their best, even more so and yet still accessible."
  • "Great concept but beautifully sabotaged by C4. Davina McCall is a big negative with mature audiences and then throwing it up against The Chase and Pointless...."
  • "Five Minutes To A Fortune was a wonderfully tight format with well written questions, a great set piece and plenty of tension and drama. The show that without question pulled out the most reaction out of me as a viewer."
  • "Sometimes there is a format you just want to get your hands on, knowing with just a little tweak it could be massive. This year's was definitely Five Minutes To A Fortune. It was good, but it could easily have been great. "
  • "A slick production in completely the wrong timeslot. What are Channel 4 up to these days? Not much, if the 15-to-1 revival is anything to go by."

Well done Five Minutes to a Fortune!

We always quite like pointing out some of the perhaps more unlikely shows, Junior Just a Minute is we think the only radio show on the list, whilst Monumental and 100 o Blant picked up votes from the regions, albeit all only one vote, so joint 26th.

Hall of SHAME 2013

This year 36 different shows were apparently worth voting for which is fewer than last year.

However part of the reason for that is probably because the top four shows were basically neck and neck eating up most of the votes.

10: The Common Denominator

9: That Puppet Game Show

8: Your Face Sounds Familiar

7: Beat the Pack

6: Through the Keyhole

5: Break the Safe

There's normally one or two shows that garner quite a lot of votes in both halls of fame and shame and this year it's Nick Knowles quiz Break the Safe.

  • "Watching people silently count to 30 surprisingly exactly as tedious as it sounds."
  • "This endgame needs to go away and die ASAP, apparently it's been refusing to for ages, but it's just not interesting at all at all at all, and the implementation on BTS managed to butcher an otherwise average show. "
  • "Even setting aside the re-recording debacle (playtest your end games really thoroughly, guys!), I found Break the Safe pretty tedious. The two-answer gimmick was nice, but the rounds went on far too long. The end-game was boring and had no play-along factor. I just about made it through the opening episode before switching off."
  • "The Beeb binned off the awesome Secret Fortune for this? Forshame!"

4: I Love My Country

Troubled (i.e. planned host David Walliams decided he didn't want to do it) version of fun and internationally popular Dutch quiz. Surely Frank Skinner deserved a bit better?

  • "This never was going to work in a country in which we flat-out don't like showing off. Putting everything they could find in the studio, booking anyone who was available (that British tradition of...uh...samba, in the first episode there) and the thickest levels of chintz outside of 3-2-1 combined with some pretty uninteresting rounds and Micky Sodding Flanagan to make a show that just was doomed to fail."
  • "Basically they misunderstood the format and removed everything fun from the Dutch version of the show."
  • "A show that tried in vain to keep hold of the "Yay Britain!" love-fest sparked by the 2012 Olympics. Eight celebs would weigh down any format, much less a format devoid of any clever ideas. Full of ideas that a more self-aware show would take the piss out of, but here are played depressingly straight."
  • "You can sort of see what they were trying to do here, and the idea of bringing back knockabout, undemanding fun to weekend evenings is not in itself a bad one, but this just didn't gel - the panellists often seemed faintly embarrassed to be taking part in such a juvenile format, the games were mostly second-rate (that morphed-together-faces thing has turned up all over the place) and it suffered from the BBC's bizarre compulsion to wedge Jamelia into as many programmes as possible, although at least she was singing here, which is what she's ostensibly supposed to do. ILMC is also marked down for not bothering to change the generic international Talpa title to something a bit more British - even the likes of Britain's Got Talent can manage that!"
  • "After watching this, I Hate My Country."


Making waves and entering the chart at number three, it's Gabby Logan again!

  • "What is it with this country taking European formats and ballsing them up? Granted, this one isn't a very good format to base this point on, but still, we need to stop thinking we know best."
  • "10 seconds of action dragged out to 90 mins isn’t what I’d call fast-paced! Also another related flaw is why would I feel the urge to ring up, vote and spend my money on a 1.5 second event?! At least on Strictly/X Factor etc. there is more content – here, it takes longer to ring up to vote than what you’re voting for!"
  • "If you cut out all of the filler (interviews, judges, endless replays, hesitating on the board, adverts) this hour-long show is less than 2 minutes long. I can't think of any show that this fluffy that managed to get a second series. Not even Tom Daley and his tiny, tiny shorts can save this dive-bomb of a show."
  • "The first episode was so bad it was good. Watching celebs being paid five figures to (in some cases) literally fall/jump into the pool..."
  • "A better name of this show would of been Flop!"

2: Face the Clock

The only show in recent memory that didn't seem to settle on a title until about a month before broadcast despite being filmed months before that. But the title being broken is nothing compared to the format.

  • "Rory Bremner takes 6 people to an dark and abandoned warehouse and fires questions at them for set time amounts. Sounds like his first straight acting role as a 'Mr Big' in a crime drama, right? Wrong. It was a Channel 4 daytime quiz show, and was made (and looked like) for around £50 per show. Face The Clock? Face the Axe - and thankfully it has."
  • "The concept of quiz chicken or quiz hot potato is certainly one that deserves further study, but the way it's used here is full of holes. The format actively discourages players from making money, contestants could be eliminated before facing one question, and the endgame is a bald-faced attempt to save money. And that's not mentioning the shows biggest sin - naming itself after the one action contestants never do during the game."
  • "On the surface, the idea behind Face The Clock would seem like a good game. 6 contestants play a quiz version of Hot Potato while a hidden clock counts down that could be as little as 30 seconds or as large as 2:30. I think what made the show end up on this list was that some hokey judging was used, like one particular moment when the host, Rory Bremner, told someone that they had to wait for him to say their answer was correct before they could pass to another player, which is bad form in a time pressure-based game."
  • "Did anyone playtest this? Really? Either someone's got incriminating photos of a Channel 4 commissioning editor or this must go down as one of the poorest ideas ever to hit the TV screen. Didn't work from start to finish."
  • "Another feeble Weakest Link clone. Contestants standing in a semi-circle? Check, six of them. Mean host? No, Rory Bremner is merely deadpan at his best. Soundtracks throughout the game? Check. Strategies? Just one: hope the questions like you, pass the buck to one of your opponents and pray someone doesn't chuck you the grenade in the 999th millisecond. Profile of the winner? Usually a lucky contestant on stealth mode. Unlike The Weakest Link, finalists have to work for (part of) their money (most of the times a pittance). Ratings bomb? Ding ding ding, more of a ratings nuke."

1: Take on the Twisters

Like last year's Hall of Shame winner The Bank Job before it, this has the illustrious honour of winning the C21/FRAPA format award at top telly trade show MIPCOM. Who knows what the criteria for winning is? If you made it through an episode without falling asleep, you're better people than us. Like Five Minutes to a Fortune also involves large eggtimers making this the evil twin.

  • "Confusing madness that doesn't seem to work well in the studio as it did on paper. Also a very odd endgame that takes too long to show if you won or not."
  • "When there are only four opportunities to score any points/money in 45 mins of screen time in a program where you have to accumulate the biggest score to win, you’re doing something wrong! Double points once all the twisters were revealed made early rounds often redundant. The twister games themselves were a nice idea but when the main game is Light Up The Twisters for 80% of the show it’s really boring!"
  • "Boring to watch, and even the contestants didn't seem to be enjoying themselves very much at all. It was also proof that Julia Bradbury should stick to Countryfile and what-not."
  • "For being in the name of the show, the Twisters seemed to be such a minor focus. Instead we got interminable bouts of questions, a flawed pass/play system, rounds which were frequently entirely pointless, and a bizarre final deal system that never really works."
  • "Horribly underdeveloped. And most criminal of all, very difficult for someone with poor colour perception or colourblindness to watch/follow."
  • "The Twister-juggling mechanic was fun and interesting. Shame it was buried under mountains of idiocy, including a pointless main game and the world's least attractive bail-out offer."
  • To sum up ITV1's summer offering while The Chase took a break in one word, that word would be BORING! Everything about the game was uneventful, tedious and tried too hard to be like Channel 4's 5 Minutes To A Fortune, keeping with the hourglass motif. It took far too long to get to the only really exciting bits of the game, the rounds where you do the titular Taking on the Twisters. The show felt like it had elements tacked on at the last minute, such as the final round to win the cash, there was no real point in taking the offer you were given (which was a blanket £200 per Twister you had left), and if you DID win, there was nothing. No music, no confetti, NOTHING!
  • "Dull, plodding, meandering, only interesting for five minutes, entire show's planning hastily scribbled on the back of a ciggie packet, just not a rewarding way to spend an hour at all."

...so there we are. UKGS editors largely split as to whether the top two are in the correct position, as are you pollsters - this was the closest finish to a Hall of Shame we can remember.

The UKGameshows.com Golden Five 2013

This is the big award as it's open to any new show that has had at least one episode produced for and broadcast in the UK market in 2013. You have the choice of new shows and old favourites, so what did you go for this year?

5: Countdown

Interesting! This is the first time Countdown has featured in the eight years we've been running this award (although it has bubbled under), buoyed no doubt by a very well received 30th anniversary tournament, new round structure and a timeslot amnesty keeping it post 3pm.

  • "Although I'm not a fan of Nick Hewer, the new Countdown format is great, and the Series 69 finals were brilliant, and I watched every single episode - and even blogged about - the Supreme Championship."
  • "Two sympathy votes here, I'll admit. The 30th Birthday tournament (aka the Second Supreme Championship) was epic, as was the manner of Callum Todd's recent series victory - but, of course, the folks at 124 Horseferry Road (sorry for getting all political here) couldn't make their minds up as to what time they wanted to show the thing at. And now it looks like they're going to move it back to 2:40 again..."
  • "The 30th Birthday Championship was bloody fantastic. Five perfect scores were achieved en route to a final won with a record equalling total of 146 points, a record breaking aggregate of 257 points, and three rounds in a row where overall champion Conor Travers spotted a nine-letter word. The Apterous era, in which players hone their skills online before kicking arse on the telly, has turned Countdown into an elite (but never elitist) display of pure skill. Right up there with University Challenge."

4: Five Minutes to a Fortune

Especially in years where people have complained about overall mediocrity, it's unusual for even the top ranked show in the Hall of Fame to get a sniff at the Golden Five, so really the show has done very well indeed in this poll, and sadly won't be here next year.

  • "For the reasons given in the Hall Of Fame submission. A great show (with slight faults) which should have been moved out of the glare of 5pm to build up an audience for at least another series."
  • "Five Minutes to a Fortune being lodged against Pointless (and The Chase, which just missed my ballot) was the best advert for on-demand TV in a long time."
  • "Sadly the only time this will feature in this list. That's it, I'm moving to Holland where they'd do this sort of thing."

3: The Chase

The top three tends to be rather predictable - the two afternoon quiz giants and BBC4's best performer but the order tends to be liquid. This year The Chase finishes another strong year at number three, even proving mildly successful in the US.

  • "Bradders, the Beast, the Dark Destroyer, the Governess and the Sinnerman are all still very entertaining, too - certainly more so than a bunch of egg timers."
  • "Sadly, what with being at work full time now, I can't watch this as much as I used to, but I always enjoy it when it's on. The fact that (semi-relatedly) GSN did a US version by-the-book and it worked is a rarity for UK exports."
  • "A great format with great personalities - it's going to take a very long time for it to dry up."
  • "Some of the celebrity editions were really good, but it is consistently enjoyable."
  • "The Chase, as noted below, the producers leave the funny bits in. It's also a perfectly serviceable fast-paced quiz. It does what Eggheads is supposed to but in double the time and four times the pace. Definitely our choice of show in the office to get us through the last hour of the day."

We'll be trying to find out where that office is and applying to work there ASAP.

2: Only Connect

This year position two again. Next year BBC2 in (apparently) the post University Challenge slot. Could it get its Golden Five crown back?

  • "Only Connect remains a show it is impossible not to at least respect. Can't wait to see how the ratings rise once it finally moves to BBC Two."
  • "I personally structure my Monday nights around this quiz show, I CANNOT afford to miss an episode. I also applaud the double-elimination tournament, which ensures that a high-scoring losing team doesn't fall by the wayside instantly."
  • "Another banner year for the best quiz on TV. While the "Victoria = Lush" jokes are starting to wear a bit thin, she's still a brilliant hostess. The pressure is on for the show to maintain its quality with a change in Question Editor and channel in 2014."
  • "Get your head around the new round-robin format, and it's still essentially the show we love with thankfully little else altered from what's always been an excellent half-hour. It was good to see OC still firing on all cylinders with two excellent runouts in 2013, and the news late in the year that the well-regarded show is getting its long-expected bump across to BBC Two is interesting - having been a punching-above-its-weight fish in a smallish BBC Four pond, how will it survive in the larger sea? I'd expect it to do well, BBC Two is a sturdy enough home to Mastermind and University Challenge after all. Still plenty of life left in the format too, so long as they can continue to unearth unique ways to link and sequence the sometimes most unlikely things, and to couch familiar linkages in inventive new terms."
  • "Goes from strength to strength. 2 great series and (I'll confirm what others have said) one of the nicest production teams you could imagine."
  • "Appointment to view, licence fee justifying, televisual brilliance. I just pray that the forthcoming move to BBC Two doesn't prompt a dip in quality. Shows such as University Challenge are permitted to be highbrow, and I hope that the same respect is given to Only Connect's winning formula."
  • "It's starting to run out of questions, but it's still good to watch."

1: Pointless

The most British show on television (it's about lists and foreign countries find it baffling) once again tops the Golden Five. This year featured a change in studio (from Television Centre to Elstree) and a change in endgame, which as predicted everyone whinged about but also as predicted everyone got over quite quickly. It's also been consistantly winning the 5pm slot by a margin, rating over 4m, and the celebrity Saturday editions often outperform everything else on television that evening. Who could have foreseen that when it first started?

  • "Pointless is just as watchable as ever, and deserves its increasing popularity. Amazing."
  • "Has a show ever consistently reinvented itself more effectively than Pointless? Even the change in gameplay balance from the much more winnable endgame is positive in my opinion - more smaller wins makes more sense for this show than a handful of variable ones. Even ignoring that, it's worth it for the lost dead air alone."
  • "I'm coming right out and saying it - Armstrong and Osman are the best double act the genre has ever seen. Interesting questions, interesting contestants, and the changes to the end game have been an excellent idea."
  • "it's my 5pm-hour show of choice, and continues to do well. The new final has grown on me and seems designed to produce more wins. I actually like more wins on Pointless, it makes it friendlier (though it does mean we're unlikely to see any new jackpot records)."
  • "The teatime kings can seemingly do little wrong - the show settled instantly into its new home at Elstree and continued to bring a raft of warm, witty entertainment to the early evening, helped by a good mix of genuinely enthusiastic contestants, and rounds which show that despite concern about survey burnout, the show can continue to find ways to mine the font of public knowledge. The one complaint I'd raise is the seamless intermingling of reruns with new batches, apparently as the Beeb wants the show to be perma-present at 5.15 - perhaps it would be better to switch around the schedules such that new eps of Perfection, Pressure Pad et al took precedence over previously-screened Pointless, in the manner of, say, Connections filling the Blockbusters off-season back in the day."
  • "It does actually get better year on year. Richard and Alex are, as-ever, perfect company, and the new final has helped it feel 'about right' in terms of difficulty. And nothing beats the smugness when you get a pointless answer at home."
  • "While I really wish it would take a break, professionally speaking you have to admire it's great ratings. And fair play to BBC for backing the show to the hilt."
  • "Getting the chance to see it recorded was a great experience.I like the new final-round, keeps some freshness in it."
  • "After well over 500 episodes, Xander and Richard retain possibly the best rapport of any show in production. It reminds me of the glory days of Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman riffing on Countdown. Meanwhile, innovations like the (much needed and much improved) new final round prove that there's plenty of life in the old dog yet. Remember: that's not bread, that's toast!"

Well done Pointless, you've been a fantastic contestant.

Bubbling under - 6= Deal or No Deal, The Great British Bake Off, University Challenge, 9: The Cube, 10: Fifteen-to-One

BEST IN(ternational) SHOW 2013

This is the bit where we like to showcase great shows from around the world in the vague hope someone powerful reading will look into bringing them over here. We prefer to vote for new formats and shows we hadn't heard of, but these are the top five from your votes.

5: Wie is De Mol?

The Dutch show in 2013 was watched by record amounts of viewers, and 2014 seems even more popular still. Not bad going for a 15-year-old format. We should also point out that there was a new Australian version last year as well - originally a massive format over there, this time round it was a bit all over the place and bombed rather. Ongoing coverage of WIDM 2014 on Bother's Bar

  • "Breathtakingly cinematic, with more game play than an entire series of Prize Island. A masterclass in Mole series around the world."
  • "Another strong season from the Dutch Mole. Lets just pretend the Aussie revival never happened, hm?"

4: Fort Boyard

Series 24 had some great ideas in it, you can bet that series 25 this year will likely have some bigger ones.

  • "Evolution, not revolution, but this was the year that FB seemed to go full steam ahead into making the Fort into a storybook wonderland. I felt like a seven-year-old again waiting for it each week, and it didn't disappoint. Willy Rovelli was a great new character, they revived classic games, there were a ton of small changes this year, and they all added up to 2013 being the best year ever for Boyard. And the fact that the home audience agree too (the ratings seemed to improve as time went on) means I can't wait to see what they've got planned for series 25."
  • "Who doesn't want to enter Willy's Kitchen?"

3: The Chase USA

Everyone was worried that this would be awful but it turns out to be a very fair US imagining of the format complete with The Beast Mark Labbett. Rather astonishing prize levels and production values for a show that gets about half a million viewers on a cable network (GSN in this case).

  • "It may have been on a cable network, and it may not be burning up the ratings, but I'll give ITV a lot of credit for doing something that I didn't think was possible - exporting The Chase for an American audience."
  • "And I'm going to give a little bit of a wildcard vote for The Chase USA, which I expect will get quite a few votes this year. They took our show and Americanized it well, in fact I'd personally say their version is a little bit better than ours just because it's a bit snappier with only 3 contestants."
  • "The US version of The Chase is also quite possibly the best thing to happen to American TV in a long time. While I still prefer the UK version, the US version is quite solid, and Brooke Burns turned out to be a better host than I expected."
  • "Imagine what it would sound like with the British music package, though!"

2: Schlag den Raab

Almost fifty episodes of the six-times-a-year TV event. Last year saw €3m given away on a single one foot golf putt at almost two in the morning German time. Incredible bit of television.

  • "I don’t know my foreign shows very well but do love Schlag Den Raab and your associated commentaries so I’ll stick a vote in for that. Another show which when it gets it right gets it very right exemplified by the Christmas show and its Putten climax."
  • "As ever, Schlag den Raab was a hoot every single time it aired, even if Raab hardly threatened to lose all year. Truly event television years down the line "
  • "Well produced, high budget shows. Just need to learn that you don't need 'first to 21' games all the time. I want to get to sleep before midnight..."
  • "Of course I have to mention Schlag den Raab, Anish's massive comeback from behind to win 3 million was a crowning moment for the show this year, especially in a year where the show hasn't been its best."

1: The Genius

Although it'll be known on catalogue as The Genius Game, we call it The Genius because that's how the person translating it all for us refers to it. It is by far and away this year's most interesting show by miles, as your votes suggest. It's a reality game heavily built around challenges featuring logic, game theory and psychological skill that's also really really stylishly produced. Not all the games are gold but there's certainly enough brain food to chew over at any given point. Bother's Bar has a discussion on the second series here, including a link to the twitter feed where you can find the English subbed videos for both series

  • "It would NEVER work in the UK, which makes me glad that this award exists. A reality show based on intelligent parlour games, set to a fantastic soundtrack."
  • "Every one else will mention this too, I expect! A show that's so refreshingly different and full of rules that no-one will ever dare to make it over here. Utterly brilliant."
  • "No doubt this year's best foreign show. Brilliant use of editing kept you guessing what was going to happen. Extremely clever game design meant that the games could be quickly understood but still had level after level of complexity to them."
  • "The Genius, it has to be. I will be utterly surprised if this doesn't come tops this year. Season 2 seems to be a bit lacking compared to season 1, but I think that may be because of the slower pace that we're watching it, when we all did a bit of an archive binge on S1."
  • "This show was phenomenal; so excellently produced, a great concept and players that created lots of great moments. Enjoying series 2, and can't wait for more."
  • "This is the freshest thing in gameshows today, its gives the players a framework to pull off extraodinary things and huge moments of deception. I hear things about other foriegn shows, but none hold a candle to this. I love the banter and friendship between the contestants, the epic moments, the soundtrack and the extremely tight and clever challenges and the recurring once a week format. My favourite gameshow in years."
  • "Cleverly constructed team logic games, and the atmosphere of The Mole but without needing to tune in every week? You're spoiling us! I hope BBC Four are negotiating the broadcasting rights as we speak!"
  • "The Genius is absolutely brilliant, and by a mile the best new show of the year worldwide. I thought Open Pass was especially brilliant, although many of the other games were also very fun to watch."
  • "What we see are the simplest of games combined with the most complex of strategies all tied together in an overarching social game. BBC Four are you listening - this would be cheap to film, fill a load of airtime and would capture a chunk of the Only Connect crowd."
  • "It may never get a UK version, for shame, but this goes down as one of my top 5 game shows of all time, ever. It could do with tighter editing, and series 2 isn't living up to its billing just yet, but the amazing production values of an incredibly fresh idea have really opened up a new geographic area of the game show market. Also: Eun-Ji Park <3 <3 <3."

We can't see it on BBC Four ourselves (not unless the prize is about £25 a garnet), and think this would be a bit of a risk in the UK. But sometimes large risks pay off, it's been doing huge numbers in South Korea after all.

Best of the rest, here is a list of all the new (as far as we know) new formats that you mentioned, with links to Bother's Bar where featured:


Finally we asked you if there were any stand out moments in UK games in the last year. Here are some of your choices with Youtube clips where we can find them.

  • "Countdown 30th Birthday Championship, fantastic contest celebrating the longevity of a British institution."
  • "The Countdown 30th Birthday Championship series. A joy to watch."
  • "Everything about the Countdown Supreme Championship. Everything."
  • "Countdown 30th: An absolutely brilliant tournament that reminds us why Countdown is so great. The final games showed that you don't need high monetary stakes, slow motion cameras, or giant hourglasses to make for incredible telly."
  • Listening to Roger Tilling pronounce Papaphilippopoulous and Drnovsek Zorko on University Challenge.
  • "The end of an era with the announcement that Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was coming to an end. There can be no doubt that Millionaire was groundbreaking, and it was nice to be able to reminisce about the programme's halcyon days."
  • "Chris Tarrant saying he's going to leave Millionaire, and ITV declaring they'll end the show as a result. Definitely an overdue decision, our format has been crying for someone to pull life support for years now."
  • That guy who won £60,000 on his own on The Chase was pretty amazing and the which came down to milliseconds was just as good!
  • "Contestant Larry on The Chase back in January of 2013. He was the last person to play, got £8k on his Cashbuilder round, took Mark on for £60,000 and made it back for The Final Chase. He managed to get 15 steps, which I HAD initially dismissed as not being enough, but with 2 questions to go and 7 seconds on the clock, he got a question about Turin correct, pushing Mark back to 3 steps and beating him, becoming the biggest-winning single player in Chase history."
  • "Kevin utterly obliterating Pinpoint on The Cube, twice in a row to boot (if you count his Trial Run). Pinpoint is undoubtedly one of the hardest games in The Cube, and before he came along, every time it came up, I'd groan and expect the contestant to either (a) take the money and run if they've already used their Trial Run, or (b) use their Trial Run, fail miserably, and THEN take the money and run. Instead, Kevin completely subverted all my previous expectations."
  • Paddy becoming DOND's first male quarter-millionaire. Now Noel can shut up about it.
  • "18-year-old Paddy Roberts becoming the first male jackpot winner on Deal or No Deal. There was something especially poignant about Noel pointing out that Paddy was just 10 years old when the series made its debut."
  • "Watching back the moment on Deal or No Deal when Paddy became the first male contestant to win the quarter of a million will be a big memory for me."
  • "Stand-out was Paddy on DoND, of course, but Marlene winning £118,000 was almost as exciting as it hadn’t been “teased” beforehand."
  • "When the final episode of Face the Clock ended, never to darken our TV sets ever again."

Well, quite. Thanks very much for all your suggestions, apologies if yours didn't get read out.

Have they gone? Is it safe to come out now?

Well that concludes the ninth annual UKGameshows.com/Bother's Bar annual poll. Thanks for everyone who voted in this record-breaking year. If you still want more, turn over to the Poll Afterparty at Bother's Bar now with Emma Willis and Rylan, probably. Until next time!


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