Weaver's Week 2017-09-03

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Partners in Rhyme

Len Goodman's Partners in Rhyme

Objective Media Group / Panda Television (parts of All3Media group) / Accidentally On Purpose for BBC1, from 19 August

The mood is set in the first few moments. An animated character does silly things, while a poem appears on screen. It's a lyric video for the programme, using manipulated fragments of pictures.

Once we move into the studio, we see a familiar old friend. The star of many shows, and the best thing about The Guess List, it's good to see the BBC Light Entertainment Light-Up Curved Staircase!

Partners in Rhyme The stairs take it step by step.

Also back: Len Goodman, who you'll remember from Strictly Come Dancing. Tired of giving marks between nought and ten, Len hosts this very simple game.

Let us dive into linguistics for a moment. Words are generally said with stress on one particular syllable. Where these accented syllables – and any following – are the same, or very similar, they form a rhyme.

For example, "dog" and "log". The "--og" sound is preceded by a simple consonant, so they rhyme.

Fred Harris will explain it to you.

As a counter-example, consider "log" and "cat". The "--og" sound is too distant from "--at", so they do not rhyme.

There are more complex examples: some rhymes work over two syllables, as in "brickie" and "sticky". A few words of Greek origin rhyme over three syllables, but Aristophanes' cacophanies need not concern us further.

The rhymes on Partners in Rhyme fall into a simple token format: {Name} {Verb} {Noun}. The Name and the Noun rhyme. For instance, Taylor Swift rides in a lift.

We've some more examples through the review. Answers later.

The objective is to identify the celebrity (or other Named thing), and the rhyming Noun, and link them with a suitable Verb. There is some leeway for answers a bit different from the ones first thought of, most often different Verbs.

After we meet the contestants, we're introduced to the celebrity teams. Two pairs of players will be available. There's a good cross-section of guests – one episode featured Nina Wadia and Gareth Malone against Vikki Stone and Ore Oduba.

Hmm. They missed a trick there. Stone, Malone. Rhyme chime!

Partners in Rhyme

After we meet the players, each celebrity gets a warm-up to solve. If we're new to the show, or have forgotten since last week, this helps the viewer. Demonstrates just how easy this show is (or isn't), and gives the players a feel for how good the players are (or aren't.)

Find the Rhyme is the first round proper. Contestants play some of these visual posers on the buzzer, it's as fast as the show will get. Winner picks their teammates as a pair – in our example, you'd get Vikki and Ore, or Nina and Gareth. Couldn't have Vikki and Gareth.

Mime the Rhyme is the first scored round. One celeb gives clues to the Name, the other mimes the Verb. Contestant is to get all three parts for a point. Five opportunities to score, 30 seconds for each. That's not a lot of time, not when one celeb is babbling and another is doing an interpretive dance.

Partners in Rhyme

Rhyme watch comes next. In a specially-shot film, there will be seven opportunities to create a rhyme. These can be two nouns, or noun-verb, or a noun-adjective combination. Two word answers, such as "spyin' lion".

This isn't like an Observation round on Young Krypton, where they might hide such pairs but not tell the players where they were. Each answer is indicated on screen by a cutout of Len Goodman pointing.

Partners in Rhyme A woman in a beehive doing the tango.

Teams write down their answers, and both can score. For our money, this is the weakest round, a bit too close to "guess what we're thinking of".

News at Len is the final round. Short passages give clues to a Name-Verb-Noun combo. Five of these, two points on the buzzers.

Partners in Rhyme

Len Goodman speaks quite slowly and deliberately, and at times this saps energy from the show. "News at Len" particularly suffers, as players appear unable to buzz in before Len has finished his setup. Len Goodman doesn't just telegraph the jokes, he sends up smoke signals, waves his flags in semaphore, and does that flashing thing with mirrors in the sunlight.

Yes, this gives the viewer plenty of space to play along, but we're losing speed as the show goes on. We started with this fast buzzer round, and finish with a rambling and slow speech.

After this round, the lower-scoring player leaves. They're given a consolation prize, a pen from Len.

Partners in Rhyme The consolation prize.

Rhyme against Time is the grand finale. The winning contestant has 60 seconds to complete six clues, in the form {Name} {Verb} {Noun} {Preposition} {Noun}. Again, the time limit is strict, and the player needs to get all the clues to win the prize. Very difficult to win the prize if you pass on even one of these parts.

Matt Edmondson is credited as devisor, and there's a close link to his Obama Llama board game.

Partners in Rhyme

Partners in Rhyme has many familiar faces and folk from Saturday night, and we see why this family show goes out around 6.30. For this grown-up column, the show is a bit too slow and the jokes are a bit too telegraphed, but this column is not the target audience.

There are seven-year-olds across the country, shouting the answers at the telly, laughing like a hyena, and enjoying the time like no other. There are doting grannies who encourage their grandchildren to do exactly this. There are primary school teachers who can use Partners in Rhyme as a teaching aid, something to introduce rhyme into their lessons.

So no. We're not going to knock this show. Given the audience – grannies and grandchildren – it goes as fast as it dares. The positives outweigh the negatives.

Partners in Rhyme Bing-bong!

We do have the one problem: it's not entirely original. We've heard this kind of rhyming couplet before. Celebrity and activity on primetime telly. Harry Styles did clean some tiles. Ed Balls knocks down walls. Hugh Grant collects pot plants. John Kettley? John Kettley?? John Kettley is a weatherman.

Would this show be improved by a bunch of lads popping up between the rounds, strumming guitars and singing silly ditties? We think it would.

Now, have we got a picture of Tomasz Schafernaker with a lapel nutcracker..?

That's quite enough silliness.

This Week and Next

Mel and Sue had a documentary on Channel 5. Reminded us of their statement last year, and a little nuance we missed.

"We wish all the future bakers every success."

Note how their good wishes extend to the bakers. And not to, say, the judges. Or the production company. Or whichever sandwich-makers they can find to front the programme.

(For the record: this column does not expect to review Bake Off this year. There are plenty of other shows happening.)

Best of the Web Heather Davidson ranked the reality dating shows on their queer content. A big fat zero for Love Island, and much love for the low-budget charm of Dinner Date.

Remember Blink? Channel 4's after-midnight music clip show, the one with the video game backgrounds and the snarky voiceover? Thought not, no-one remembers Blink. Except the commissioners for the Fuse channel in North America. They've bought the format, added a studio and a host in vision, and will call it Trivial Takedown. Good luck to them.

Remember Richard Bacon? The 19 Keys host will present 30 Minutes, a daily news show for the Fox company in North America. They plan to cover 30 stories in 24 minutes. It's a video version of the all-news radio stations they love in the Americas, all headlines and urgency and no substance.

Schedule launches in Ireland, for those who broadcast to the island only. TV3 Territory's Got Talent will launch on TV3, starring the buzzer fingers of Denise Van Outen, Jason Byrne, Louis Walsh, and Michelle Visage. Lucy Kennedy will host. Blind Date is on the schedule, presented by Al Porter.

TG4, the Gaelic language channel, has named its shows. Gléasta chun Féasta is a fashion contest, designers create outfits for a special day. An Ríl Deal returns for more dancing. There's also the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, a jury selection and live coverage of the final in November.

A one-sided match on University Challenge. Oxford Brookes (Inigo Purcell, Pat O'Shea, Thomas de Bock, Emma-Ben Lewis) beat the Courtauld Institute of Art (Ty Vanover, Margaret-Anne Logan, Harvey Shepherd, Jack Snape) by 175-85.

Adam Gilchrist won Mastermind. The broadcaster for 702.za took the Battle of Agincourt as his specialist subject, and won on the general knowledge round. The final of 23 beat Nicky Zhang and Judith Sansom; Stephen Howard finished within five of the winner.

On Only Connect, the Meeples (Tom West, Gail Trimble, Hugh Trimble) beat the Tequila Slammers (Michael Tomsett, Roderick Cromar, George Ferzoco) by 20-16. A very low-scoring first round saw just three questions answered correctly, two for a bonus.

The Meeples roared ahead on Sequences, eight on their own questions plus a bonus meant an 11-1 lead. But the wall proved a disaster: while the Tequila Slammers found sudoku and said "Kiss me, Victoria", the Meeples struggled with I'm a Celebrity winners. Tequila Slammers couldn't turn round the deficit in Missing Vowels, and the low-scoring first half of the game has cost them a place in the repechage.

Back home, and BARB ratings in the week to 20 August.

  1. Coronation Street (ITV, Mon, 7.95m) the top show. Celebrity Masterchef came back (BBC1, Wed, 5.3m) to be the top game show.
  2. Mr Entertainment, a tribute to Bruce Forsyth, had 4.1m on Friday night. A repeat of When Miranda Met Brucie (BBC1, Sat) had 3.25m. The Story of Bruce Forsyth (C5, Sat) attracted 850,000. Catchphrase (ITV, Sat) was pegged back to 3.15m. Game of Thrones (KYTV Soggy, Sun, 3.175m) proved dragons eat Chips.
  3. And dragons eat Dragons, as Dragons' Den (BBC2, Sun, 2.85m) just beat The Chase Celebrity Specials (ITV, Sun, 2.8m). University Challenge (BBC2, Mon) scooped 2.5m, and The Big Family Cooking Showdown (BBC2, Tue) débuted with 2.15m.
  4. Celebrity Big Brother continued (C5, Wed, 1.75m). New Catsdown rated well (C4, Fri, 1.45m).
  5. Celebrity Big Brother (5*, Sat, 620,000) the top digital channel show, shifted for football on 5. Coach Trip Road To Zante (E4, Thu, 535,000) the top digital channel origination. Four in a Bed (More4, Sun, 325,000) completes the top three.

The new season begins here! The Family Chase, Cannonball, and The X Factor were the shows we couldn't mention last week, and Tipping Point Lucky Stars appears on Sunday.

For younger viewers: Top Class with Susan Osman (CBBC, Sun), Pigo dy Drwyn (S4C, Thu).

For weekdays, Richard Osman's House of Games (BBC2) and Dress to Impress (ITV2) go head-to-head at 6pm.

For the week end: The News Quiz (Radio 4, Fri) and Mock the Week (BBC2, Fri) offer takes on events yet to happen. And it's the Strictly Come Dancing launch show (BBC1, Sat).

Photo credits: Objective Media Group / Panda Television (parts of All3Media group) / Accidentally On Purpose, BBC, Big Machine Records.

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