Weaver's Week 2017-12-31

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Back in the summer, Bother's Bar proposed The Six Visceral Reactions. We're going to take these, and a seventh reaction that Brig doesn't list but this column experiences. And we're going to use these as a tool to review the year in game shows.


The Seven Considered Reactions of Twenty Seventeen (And Some Interludes)

Reaction: There’s something here but it’s not quite there yet.

Brig reckons that these are the most interesting shows, because there's a lot to discuss. There's only so many ways we can say "that's brilliant", and it gets boring to say "that's hopeless". A reaction of "this show is decent, but would be better if..." lets us give constructive criticism.

The Crystal Maze Follow the hand!

For this column, the archetype of "there's something here but..." is The Crystal Maze (Channel 4). After last year's one-off, a full series was made. New host Richard Ayoade was diffident, he isolated himself from the contestants, he felt for them but didn't deign to feel with them. It took a lot of getting used to.

The schedulers chose to launch with a run of celebrity episodes. This was an error: we needed time to appreciate the subtle shades of Richard Ayoade's nuanced character, and we couldn't get that when the dayglo Louie Spence was on screen. They also chose to spend less time with the stars of the show – the games – and more time chattering with the players. The Crystal Maze lost urgency, lost pace, became more trivial.

These are criticisms around the edges. We still got the core experience. We still had the smug satisfaction from sitting at home, knowing exactly what the player had to do. We still shouted at the television, "Get on with it! No, the blue blocks! The blue blocks! Sheesh, locking in's too good for 'em." Better games, and/or more of them, for next year.

Raven Let the challenge... begin!

And perhaps ask Richard Ayoade not to speak in cliché. That was one stumbling point on Raven (CBBC), which we'll review fully in the new year. Like The Crystal Maze, Raven is faithful to the original, but with fewer games. Unlike the other show, Raven has an editorial reason to concentrate on the contestant's character, the whole show is a test of character. The new production uses modern directing techniques and equipment and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Aisha Toussaint is a convincing new Raven, and we appreciate nods to the show's history.

Don't Say It, Bring It had been hawked around for years before arriving on Dave this autumn. It's a good show, but the one change is to ration it a bit. Use it as schedule filler, or in half-hour programmes. Full hours of this high-octane silliness proved just too much. Remotely Funny (CBBC) showed the way: this fast-paced show was complete in twenty minutes, no round lasted longer than a pop single. Both shows proved that one can have great fun on a very limited budget, using only cheap equipment – internet connections and small digital cameras are good enough these days.

We're going to file Partners in Rhyme (BBC1) under "there's something here". It's the family game BBC1's wanted for some years, and everyone seems to spend the half-hour smiling. The players do, the celebrities do, and the viewers either love it or turn over. We reckon it's entirely fun, and some of the critics are carping because they've forgotten what it's like to be six years old and rumbustious. Might not be the vehicle for Len Goodman, mind.

Me and My Dog Just sit there and paddle, human.

Me and My Dog (BBC2) tested the link between dog and human. These were tests of relationships, in a way The Getaway Car only ever hinted at. There were as few eliminations as possible, in a way every other talent show would hate. 5 Gold Rings (ITV) worked as a test of precision, and looked fabulous, but didn't quite work as two solitaire games played in the one studio. We understand they're tweaking this for next year's series.

Lots of the afternoon shows fit into this category. The year began with Rick Edwards fronting quiz !mpossible (BBC1), where answers were right, wrong, or so completely wrong as to warrant elimination. Three series allowed for lots of fiddling with the format, and we're not sure this programme is ever going to be perfect. If there's to be a change in the 5.15 slot, !mpossible looks like the most likely quiz to fill it.

Culinary Genius Gordon Ramsay explains how to chop peppers.

Over on ITV, we rather liked Culinary Genius, where Fern Britton and Gordon Ramsay work with professional chefs to see what amateurs can produce. Like many daytime shows, Culinary Genius doesn't faff about, everything happens for a reason. There's none of the complication we get from primetime cookery programmes.

Susan Calman hosted The Boss, a quiz with some tactical play and a tiresome line in patter. Two series allowed for some of the problems to be addressed, and we reckon The Boss could work at teatime.

Already in teatime, on BBC2, were Letterbox with Mel Giedroyc and House of Games (3) with Richard Osman. Letterbox was a simple letters game, light and insubstantial. We found it impossible to just watch, we had to play along at home. House of Games saw Richard play quizzy games with his friends; they need more game ideas, and perhaps some tasks that aren't sit-down quiz.

Letterbox They're still trying to solve this one.

Interlude 1 – returning afternoon shows

The Chase (ITV) had a banner year. If there was any doubt about Jenny Ryan's brilliance, it was dispelled when she caught a group on 23 steps with a single error – and lifted £100,000 from their pockets. New episodes for pretty much the entire year, so there's always a reason to tune in.

We can't say that about Pointless (BBC1): it feels like there were more repeats than new episodes this year. As much as we love the show, we can't honestly play along with an episode we remember from January. ITV knows to take The Chase off for a little while, Cash Trapped was new content for the summer, better than five weeks of repeats.

Tenable Hold me now...

Maybe next year, ITV will give Tenable a run at 5pm. Warwick Davis's list quiz has charm and jeopardy, and guarantees a tense finish. We hope they don't bother with Alphabetical, there were changes for this show, but somehow managed to make an annoying show even worse.

Lifestyle shows on ITV included Chopping Block and Dickinson's Real Deal, but Britain's Former Favourite Button knows the real value is in quizzes. Such as Masterpiece with Alan Titchmarsh, where the antiques expert rolls around stately homes.

Lots of returning antiques shows on BBC1, Bargain Hunt rolls on before lunch, Antiques Road Trip and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is are popular in the old CBBC hours. Cookery oddity Yes Chef came back, not that it made any waves. Few returning quizzes; The Code had five weeks of Matt-and-Lesley loveliness.

On Channel 4, Countdown and Come Dine with Me did their things with usual style, Fifteen-to-One filled most of the first half of the year, and The Question Jury came back. Four in a Bed and French Collection had new series. But no-one watches Channel 4 daytimes, they're lucky to get half a million viewers during a snow day.

Reaction – It is perfectly competent and in being competent it is dull.

Lego Masters No soggy bottoms here!

Lego Masters (C4) gave us pause for thought: this was competent, and there was something in the programme. The finished constructions were awesome, and the show told its story of design and construction. But the overall show felt a little off – if it's selling the Lego company's visions, why does it contradict The Lego Movie and complain about things looking robotic? In the end, we found this to be a lean-back programme, it didn't inspire us to go out and make models of our own.

The Weakest Link (BBC2) came back for Children in Need. Five years since we last saw an episode, and we'd forgotten just how tedious a bad round could be. Anne Robinson wasn't asking questions at any speed, and the whole show felt a little cheap. Worth the effort, but we don't think it's right to go back under these circumstances. See also: Blankety Blank (ITV last year). Curious Creatures (BBC2) filled a couple of weeks in the summer. Kate Humble hosted a gentle quiz about wildlife and nature, perhaps it would have been more lively if we had real live animals in the studio and not just Chris Packham.

Blind Date Host number two, please.

Dress to Impress (ITV2) asked suitors to find some clothes for their date. The viewer gets a very privileged position, we're able to see both sides of the couple – both choosing and reacting to the outfit. Blind Date returned (C5), with Paul O'Grady taking on the host's duties like he'd done it for years. This column finds dating shows to be dull at the best of times; fans of the genre might rate both programmes.

The Fake News Show (C4) wanted a new take on the topical panel game, because Have I Got News for You (BBC1) is so establishment these days. The pilot entertained, the short series in May lost much of the sparkle. HIGNFY rolled on, barely changed from the show Bruce Forsyth hosted in 2003. BBC The Voice (ITV and TV3) took on a new structure, lost much of its supportive feel, and was won by someone or other. That's the problem, the champion wins on about four performances, not enough to stick in the memory much past the end credits. A junior version, The Voice Kids, was brisk entertainment for the summer.

Interlude – Quizzy Mondays Fridays

Intellectual quizzes bookended the week. On Monday, University Challenge (BBC2) found its usual stars. Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman are friends in real life, on opposing teams here. Both players shone as their teams went deep into the tournament, with Monkman reaching the final.

Also on Monday, the Radio 4 quizzes rolled on. Brain of Britain went down to the wire in the final, a tussle between two excellent performers. Counterpoint resolved itself in the quickfire buzzer round, as is right. Round Britain Quiz is quite clearly dumbing down, as we understand at least one answer every week. The 3rd Degree and Quote... Unquote also had six episodes.

Over on Friday, BBC2 paired Mastermind with Only Connect. That's except for viewers in Wales, whose enjoyment of both series was interrupted by rugby for most – but not all – weeks of the season. Mastermind still suffers from its host editorialising during the quiz, Only Connect feels like it lost something from the sojourn on Friday, and has adopted a charming tournament structure with lots of second chances. The good news for viewers: Only Connect returns to Monday in 2018.

Reaction – I see that an audience will love this, and I'm not in that audience.

This reaction is the one we've invented, Bother's Bar didn't experience this, perhaps because he spoke of initial reactions, and we speak to considered views.

Cannonball Maya Jama fires the horn on another exciting episode of Cannonball.

Two shows from ITV here. Cannonball is big and silly entertainment for the family. It's lots of people doing silly things in water, with Freddie Flintoff talking a load of nonsense over the top. Some skill is needed for the final game, but no-one actually cares who wins. Great if you are a boisterous seven-year-old who can't stand Partners in Rhyme.

For older viewers, The Home Game kept the building industry going, as it promoted "refurbishments" and "extensions" and "little sheds where you can potter away the day." Has zero appeal to those who have found the property ladder pulled up by the older generation.

ITV2's Celebrity Showmance tried to fool the tabloids and mislead the public, it asked some faded stars to fake their own romances. Fascinating if you're into that kind of thing, we're not. See also Ffasiwn Mecanic (S4C), which asked car mechanics to become fashion models. And see 8 Out of 10 Cats which moved to E4; the remnant on Channel 4 was the ...Does Countdown spinoff.

Interlude – Off-Topic Credit

This column has seen more CBBC programmes than any other channel. Partly because the extended hours (to 9pm) fit with our lifestyle, and partly because CBBC makes many excellent programmes.

Wolfblood, for instance. A damp early morning in Newcastle. Three people walk purposefully down the shopping street. Their clothes are dark and brown, their hair is matted and plaited. Each wears an expression, somewhere between determination and anger. And each wears a surgical mask; are they keeping an infection in, or protecting themselves from some contagion?

The drama series finally clicked this year. It's about fitting in, and fitting out. It's about being true to yourself, and discounting other people's prejudices. If you want it to be a metaphor for European integration, it's that, and there are characters from Eastern Europe. If you want it to be a metaphor for queer acceptance, it's that, and there's canon. If you want to equate Blyssiad with other fairy tales we're told, go ahead.

If, somehow, you've not seen Wolfblood before, start with series 4 from a couple of years back. You won't get Reigning Tumble Champion Bobby Lockwood, you will get a coherent drama.

Film of the year is Wonder Woman. Lots of awesomeness here: remember Antiope's backwards jump while she's shooting off three arrows at the same time?

Book of the year: Fun at One, self-published by Tim Worthington. Every generation gets the comedy it deserves. This column grew up when Radio 1 made lots of comedy programmes, featuring Lee and Herring, Chris Morris, and ensembles such as The Mary Whitehouse Experience. Worthington's book has meticulous research, clearly drawing on archive recordings, and left us thinking, "can we hear more of these shows?" Our wishes were partly answered by Radio 1 Vintage in September, a weekend of shows recreated from the cutting room floor. A labour of love from all involved.

Side-project of the year allows this column to tootle its own trumpet. Grange Hill Rewatch will go through the Mr. Robson years, from 1994 to 2002. We've already published recaps and opinions about 1994, a year when the choir went to Germany, there was a very Enid Blyton plot about an animal abuser, they went through feminism and the abuse of women, and played computer tennis. Coming up in the new year, we cover 1995: expect drugs, women's refuges, young scientists, AIDS, and Miss Carver.

Enough self-promotion, on with the games!

Reaction – I don’t understand why it was commissioned.

Or, ITV baffles us, sometimes.

Dance Dance Dance Louis Spence will not appear in this zone.

We can just about see why Dance Dance Dance (ITV) was made: their Talpa subsidiary has built a huge video wall in their studio, and need to amortise the cost across as many productions as they can. But "augmented reality" is only able to keep us wowed for one episode, and the rest of the show wasn't there. Young and interchangeable performers, all pretty decent. We don't get the "older dancer becomes good" journey of Ed Balls. Looks aren't everything, and without emotion we got nothing.

Game of Clones (E4) was a similar one-joke wonder. The highlight of each week came about seven minutes into the first show, when the picked moved into the mansion filled with eight copies of their ideal date. After this gimmick had run its course, the remaining four-and-a-half episodes were humdrum stuff, guy lives with eight ideal gals and whittles them down to one to try and keep.

Name Your Price (ITV) was built around David Dickinson being a liar. We cannot trust him, except when we can trust him. The execution was sloppy: Dickinson was hesitant, and missed his camera cues. We didn't see all the answers, or have any evidence that the show was above board. But when the whole programme is built around the host being slippery, you're asking the viewer to believe and to disbelieve at the same time. They needed a co-host, someone to play Honest Cop to Dickinson's Spiv.

Don't Ask Me Ask Britain And in conclusion, I say...

Don't Ask Me Ask Anyone Who's Watching At Home (ITV) was a panel discussion about topical matters, attempting to predict a live viewer poll. Originally piloted as a big money quiz, it came to air as a gentle pre-watershed chat about life. They had the dubious fortune to go out during an unplanned Westminster election, so all questions with a party political lean had to be thrown out. But they didn't give us a single reason to vote: we couldn't influence the result of the panel game, we couldn't win prizes, we weren't even going to be called out by name or pseudonym.

Interlude – Still With Us

This review concentrates mostly on the new shows. Some others are still around, and still popular.

Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) remained the year's most popular programme. It hasn't really changed since Bruce Forsyth left ahead of the 2013 series. OK, so Len Goodman left this year's series, to be replaced by Shirley Ballas, but the show is bigger than any one star. Dancing With the Stars began on RTE1, a second series will happen in the new year.

Britain's Got Talent (ITV) kept Simon Cowell off the streets for six months, and still seems as popular as ever. The X Factor (ITV) tried to run a tournament as complex as Only Connect, and didn't quite manage it. Viewing figures fell further, but the winners might have a life after their coronation single. I'm a Celebrity (ITV) was the ratings banker into December, proving that Ant and Dec are what keep Got Talent ticking over.

Red or Black

Love Island (ITV2) hit the zeitgeist, attracting millions of viewers for its final weeks. Lots of people relaxing on a dreamy beach in the tropics. Killed off Big Brother (C5) as a thing, for which we must thank Love Island.

Taskmaster (Dave) had two series and an overall champions' series; we've found the show to be as strong as the weakest contestants, which tends to be weaker than ideal. The Jump (C4) also came back, though we cannot remember a thing about it. On pay-tv, Next Top Model (Lifetime) and Masterchef Around the World (W) had audiences, and Artsworld did well with its Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year contests.

Reaction – This really ought to be better.

The Big Family Cooking Showdown Zoe Ball deals with steam.

BBC2 tried to fill a hole with The Big Family Cooking Showdown. Two problems with this series, the first being it's not Bake Off. That show is gone, forgotten, does not exist, and any shows of a similar name and format on Channel 4 are completely unrelated.

The second problem is familiar. Family Cooking Showdown used the heats-and-final method, so we didn't see the winners every week. They were guests in our home, they dropped by to cook a few meals and then were gone. We barely got to know them, and the short finals round didn't build up their personalities like on Masterchef. While we appreciated the fun of "Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussein root around in your kitchen", the rest of the show didn't click.

As it does every year, ITV tried something new at 5pm. Babushka has a decent idea, try to guess how much money is in matryoshka dolls, and play the odds to get a decent return. Rylan Clark-Neal was a great host, and Dobs Vye contributed a standout soundtrack, But there were too many ways to lose all the money you've banked so far – get a true-false question wrong, choose an empty doll, and it's back to square zero. And this market allows teatime shows to give away relatively small amounts of money – we don't see £2500 as a poor reward for an hour's entertainment. The makers of Babushka want to give away tens of thousands, and surely 4pm as a Tipping Point replacement would have worked better.

The Big Spell Put yourself in the hot hexagon.

Up in the sky, one new show of note. The Big Spell (The Satellite Channel) featured Sue Perkins and Moira Stuart asking children to spell a word, while Joe Lycett kept their parents calm. The format was based as much on chance as skill, and while we're sure the winner was a very good speller, we can't be sure the winner was the best amongst the competitors. The editing annoyed us, merging live coverage and reaction and analysis into one programme without a pause to switch gears. There was no compelling reason to tune in, and choppy presentation gave us reasons to tune out.

E4's Tattoo Artist of the Year left us feeling manipulated. In the opening minutes, we could just see the opening paragraph in cheap newspapers. "Viewers were SHOCKED as tattoo artists were ordered to work on a DEAD PIG." The series never recovered. It used every cliché in the book – it only profiled contestants who would be in trouble later, there's moody camerawork, a location looking like a disused music hall. But for all the edgy trappings, Tattoo Artist was deeply conservative. And, with the narration repeating the judges' opinions as unvarnished fact, we were told what to think throughout.

Interlude – No Longer With Us

The death was announced of many stars in the game show world.

  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, celebrity who got out of here
  • Stephen Rhodes, the voice of Family Fortunes
  • Chuck Barris, creator of The Gong Show
  • Guy O'Sullivan, producer of Worst Driver for Channel 5
  • Geoffrey Bayldon, actor and Fort Boyard resident
  • Brian Cant, children's' television presenter
  • Barry Norman, film critic
  • Pudsey, Britain's Got Talent champion
  • Rob Anker, dancer in Diversity
  • Bruce Forsyth, legend
  • William G. Stewart, the people's quizzer
  • Monty Hall, keeper of doors on Let's Make a Deal
  • Sean Hughes, comedian and panellist
  • Tim Gudgin, Top of the Form presenter
  • Biddy White Lennon, judge on The Great Irish Bake Off
  • Keith Chegwin, swapper and door-knocker
  • Heinz Wolff, scientist and great egg-racer

Reaction – It was worth a try, but it doesn’t work.

Two of BBC1's big Saturday night shows here. Let It Shine tried to find a bunch of lads to sing and dance on stage, while a musical took place around them. Lots of little things went well for this show – it was positive, allowed lots of young men their moment in the spotlight, and gave a good vibe.

Let It Shine The five star problem.

But behind the scenes, a problem loomed. Let It Shine wasn't looking for leading actors, it was looking for the backing chorus. These weren't the stars of the show, like we made in How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and its sequels. No, these were glorified extras. Had the BBC and Gary Barlow been clear from the start, had they told us we were casting the chorus, we would have been fine. But they didn't, and we felt misled.

Pitch Battle in the summer was more clearly in this category. An elimination contest for vocal groups, with just enough stardust to confuse – were we to watch the choirs, or the star guest? By making it all about the losses, Pitch Battle encouraged negative thoughts and campaigning for votes.


No such problems for Sing (The Satellite Channel), where a positive attitude allowed us to enjoy the work. Sing learned from the little problems of Pitch Battle – every last sound was made by mouth, the star guests were guests and not part of the contest, the jury had musical pedigree, the focus was purely on the choir and not soloists. But Sing didn't address the main problem: no-one wants to watch.

Bigheads (ITV) and Bromans (ITV2) were gimmick shows. What if we stick modern lads and ladettes in ancient Rome? What if we put giant heads that look like celebrities on regular people? The gimmick didn't have enough oomph to power a whole series; Bigheads bored us after one episode, and Bromans lost audience throughout its run. Bigheads resembles The Satellite Channel's Wild Things, but a squirrel is infinitely more cute than a disreputable politician.

Cheap Cheap Cheap This show went to the dogs.

Noel Edmonds brought Cheap Cheap Cheap to Channel 4. The game was simple – which of these three items is cheapest. The show was much more than the game, with plenty of characters and very subtle humour. Not everyone appreciated the complex show, and viewing figures fell through the floor. Don't expect another series.

Interlude – minority pursuits

Returning shows beyond the big channels, and we're not including Swashbuckle (Cbeebies), because it's too complicated and we need a four-year-old to explain it to us.

Up on CBBC, two talent shows came back. Got What It Takes? was a test of mother-child relationships, structured around stage performances. They've put in a lot of thought about how to make this entertaining, how to show both the pleasure and pitfalls of stardom. Taking The Next Step came back for a second series, and didn't repeat the extreme emotional high from last year. They put the final on a stage in Glasgow rather than The Next Step set in Toronto. And it was a contest all about dance, not the rare mixture of dance and acting we enjoyed last year.

Coach Trip pulled into E4's parking bay, and set off for a lazy tour around Europe. Show young people what's available over the water, encourage them to get out and see the world, before the older generation closes it off. My Kitchen Rules (C4) came back for a second series, but turned from "shaky" into "outright flop", toppling back from mid-afternoon to lunchtime. We still reckon the only interesting part is the touring dinner party, it's different enough from Come Dine with Me to stand comparisons.

My Kitchen Rules A different kind of dinner party on My Kitchen Rules.

We enjoyed Celwydd Noeth (S4C), the last remaining version of The Lie. It's a very simple game – here are some statements, which is the one falsehood? Beneath this surface is some complex tactics, which order to play the categories, when to bank, when to cut and run, when it's worth while playing on. And, because it's in Welsh, we have to concentrate to understand the play.

Reaction – This is really very good.


The shows we've most enjoyed. Let's start with a curveball: Streetmate (C4). This column doesn't do dating shows, but even we fell for Scarlett Moffatt's charm. It's an example of how to do a revival and make it feel fresh: the new woman of the people tours the island, speaks to the lovelorn, and hopes to bump into Mr / Ms / Mx / Miss Right on their behalf. Scarlett plays everybody's best friend, the wingswoman who will take rejection on your behalf. The whole series is made with such affection and care that it comes across as carefree, a tremendous trick to pull.

Your Face or Mine (Comedy Central) was another revival, suitably updated. Katherine Ryan and Jimmy Carr control events, and they know it's a) all a bit of fun, and b) could turn horrible if anyone's slightly nasty, so they take great care to keep spirits up. By not ending on a double-or-nothing gamble, we are assured the happy-ish ending so often missing from the original.

Armchair Detectives Slater and Cooke, the busiest detectives in Mortcliff.

Everyone loves Armchair Detectives (BBC1), right? It's the murder mystery you can play along with at home, thanks to uncomplicated acting and a distinct lack of red herrings. If you're not getting any help from the players in the studio, you might be tickled by Susan Calman's infectious enthusiasm, and her habit of gently picking out the unlikely elements in today's plot.

Celebability (ITV2) was entertaining silliness. The Fabulous Iain Stirling asked some of his chums along, and they demonstrated how they could do some utterly useless things. Think you can balance beermats on your chin? This is the show for you! Could perhaps have used a little less Marek Larwood, that would have enhanced the spectre of celebrities and civilians laughing at their own pointlessness.

Celebability Racing on trains.

The Various Eurovision Contests were on fine form this year; the weakest Eurovision contest is the one everyone watched. Young Dancers (CT, Dec) was staged well and had moments of fun: introducing a group dance may have helped work out the runner-up. Choir (LTV, Jul) featured some memorable performances, and the enthusiasm of competitors young and old was obvious. Senior Song (NTU, May) had many great performances but gelled into less than the sum of its parts. Junior Song (GPB, Nov) had many great performances and gelled into much more than the sum of its parts.

Junior Eurovision Song Contest That's Eurovision!

Highlights of the Year

Here's a thing. Saturday night on BBC1 this year has had five big light entertainment series. (We'll ignore one-offs like the Eurovision Senior Song Contest, and the perennials of Pointless Celebrities and Casualty.)

BBC1's Saturday Night Five were Let It Shine, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Graham Norton. Then there was Let's Sing and Dance for Comic Relief, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Then came the non-competition Doctor Who, with Peter Capaldi in the title role. After that, Pitch Battle, with Mel Giedroyc. Then, after the short summer pause, Strictly Come Dancing was hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.

Count up these hosts. Two pairs of women, one mixed duo, a solo woman, and a solo bloke.

BBC1's Saturday night schedule has been mostly fronted by women. And no-one has noticed, because we viewers see the talent and not the gender.

Lego Masters

On Lego Masters, they asked Tomorrow's Star Melvin Odoom to sit on thrones made out of plastic bricks. Fear was etched into his face, but he would be pleasantly surprised. Not only did all the thrones support his weight, but none of them crumbled into a pile of painful bricks.

We would prefer that One Love Manchester never happened. An outpouring of emotion, channelled through a singer-actor and her many fabulous friends. Young people gather to send a message; it's the young who inherit this world, older generations need to stop messing it up.

The Crystal Maze was chock-full of memorable moments. We're picking Lee from "Well Read and Underfed", who took on the Incredibly Simple Maths game. All you've got to do is solve five simple equations, put in the correct answers, grab the crystal, and retrace your steps. Oh, and you've got to remember the answers, and put them in again. Very simple if you know the trick, and Lee knew it.

Hero the Hedgehog, a sports mascot who wasn't afraid to mess about. Long after we've stopped cheering, we're still smiling at this character's antics. Another fine design from the Blue Peter contributors.

The Dryad, for reasons The Dryad knows.

Denise Buttigieg's solo performance in Eurovision Young Dancers. We ask that the contest provides something to make us go "wow!" and the acrobatics here were jaw-dropping.

The Boss

Susan Calman has risen to the heights of stardom. We've already waxed lyrical about Armchair Detectives and The Boss, but there's much more to this star's bow. Top Class, a quiz for primary schools, it shows University Challenge how to mix sound and visuals, and with wit in the questions. Strictly Come Dancing benefited from Susan's presence, the joy was greater than the quality. And the comedy documentaries on Radio 4, and much much more.

Roll of Honour

(All results as transmitted are final)

Round Britain Quiz — Myfanwy Alexander and David Edwards

The Great Interior Design Challenge — Daniela Tasca-York

Celebrity Big Brother
(January) — Coleen Nolan
(August) — Sarah Harding
Big Brother — Isabelle Warburton

Eurovision: You Decide — "I will never give up on you ", written by The Treatment, Emmelie De Forest, Lawrie Martin; performed by Lucie Jones

(group and overall) Wstrn
(solo) Cel Spellman & Yasser Ranjha (joint winners)

Ninja Warrior — no winner

Let It Shine — Five to Five (AJ Bentley, Curtis T Johns, Nick Carsberg, Sario Solomon, Yazdan Qafour)

The Big Spell — Alex

Dance Dance Dance — Jonny and Chrissy

Mastermind — Isabelle Heward

Celebrity Masterchef
(TV3) — Niamh Kavanagh
(BBC) — Angellica Bell
Masterchef — Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed
Masterchef The Professionals — Craig Johnston

Cân i Gymru — "Rhydd", written and performed by Cadi Gwyn Edwards

The Jump — Spencer Matthews

Portrait Artist of the Year — Gareth Reid

The Great Pottery Throw Down — Ryan Barrett

RTE Dancing With the Stars — Aidan Mahony and Valeria Milova
Strictly Come Dancing
Series — Joe McFadden and Katya Jones
Christmas — Katie Derham and Brendan Cole

BBC The Voice of Holland of This Territory — Mo Adeniran
BBC The Voice of Holland of This Territory Kids — Jess F

Only Connect — Verbivores (Phyl Stiles, Tom Cappleman, Graeme Cole)

Côr Cymru — Côr Merched Sir Gâr
Conductor: Eilir Owen Griffiths, CF1
Viewer's choice: Côr Ieuenctid Môn
Cynradd: Ysgol Pen Barras

University Challenge — Balliol Oxford (Freddie Potts, Jacob Lloyd, Ben Pope, captain Joey Goldman)

Got What It Takes? — Jorja Douglas

Robot Wars
(spring) Carbide
(autumn) Eruption

(series 7) — Ross Goodwin
(series 8) — Max Espensen

BBC Young Dancer — Nafisah Baba

Me and My Dog — Josh and Douglas

Portrait Artist of the Year — Gareth Reid

Top Class
(April) — Tilston Parochial Church Of England Primary School
(December) — St John's Primary School, Somerset

Ffasiwn Mecanic — Emrys Wilson

Eurovision Senior Song Contest — RTP for "Amor pelos dois" (composer: Luís Figuriredo; lyric: Luisa Sobral; performed by Salvador Sobral)
Eurovision Choir of the Year — RTVSLO, represented by Carmen Manet
Junior Eurovision — C1R for "Wings" (writer and composer: Taras Demchuk; performed by Polina Bogusevich)
Eurovision Young Dancers — TVP, represented by Paulina Bidzinska

Bake Off Crème de la Crème — Combined Services Culinary Arts Team: Liam Grime, Ian Mark, Chris Morrell

Brain of Britain — John Beynon

Bigheads — Nathan Martin (as will.i.am)

Fighting Talk — Richard Osman

(June) — Stephen Read
(December) — Tom Chafer-Cook

Britain's Got Talent — Tokio Myers

Rostrum Camera — Ken Morse

(spring) — Noel Fielding
(autumn) — Bob Mortimer
(championship of champions) — Josh Widdicombe

Master of Photography — Gillian Allard

Pitch Battle — Leeds Community Singers

Love Island — Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies

BBC New Comedy Award — Heidi Regan

Lego Masters — Nate Dias and Steve Guinness

Counterpoint — Richard Searle

One Man and His Dog
Singles — James McLaughlin & Ben
Brace — Gethin Jones & Matty & Flan
Team — "Wales": Gethin Jones & Matty & Flan; Angie Driscoll & Pipi

The Grate Breadxit Burn Out — Sophie Faldo

The Big Family Cooking Showdown — Bobby, Lorna, and Monika Gangotra

Celebrity Showmance — Hayley Hasselhoff and Kyle Christie

Bromans — Tom Trotter and Rhiannon Bailey

Sing — Vadé

My Kitchen Rules — Niall Munro and Clare Coghill

The X Factor — Rak-Su and Simon Cowell

Taking The Next Step — Harrison

Landscape Artist of the Year — Tom Voyce

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! — Georgia Toffolo

Raven — Nantin

Celwydd Noeth — Julian Lewis Jones and Ryland Teifi

Next Year

We're publishing on Saturday 30 December, ahead of disguise programme Guess the Star (ITV and TV3), and a revival of The Price is Right (C4). New Year's Eve brings us A Right Royal Quiz (ITV and TV3) and a Robot Wars special (BBC2). Reviews of all these (well, except for Robot Wars) are scheduled for the next Week.

New Year's Day sees The World's Strongest Man found (C5), and Nicholas Parsons Talks With Paul Merton (Radio 4). There's another Festive Bake Off (C4) and Only Connect returns to quiz on a Monday (BBC2).

If it's January, Celebrity Big Brother is back (C5 and 3e, from Tue). So is Hunted (C4, Thu). The Dog Ate My Homework and Sam and Mark's Big Friday Wind-Up have new series (CBBC, Fri).

Christmas University Challenge continues (BBC2; final on Fri). Ar y Dibyn (S4C, Fri) finds an outward-bound Welsh-speaker; The Big Quiz (2) (ITV, Fri) finds the best ITV soap of 2018. On daytimes from Tuesday, new Antiques Road Trip and new Pointless (BBC1).

Next Saturday features celebrity obstacle course And They're Off For Sport Relief (BBC1), Celebrity Catchphrase (ITV), Take Me Out (ITV), newlywed challenge Wedding Day Winners (BBC1), and the Amazing Spinning Chairs return on BBC The Voice of This Territory (ITV).

Whatever you're playing at this coming year, good games to you!

Last week | Weaver's Week Index | Next week


Figures are complete for the entire calendar year.

We use BARB published ratings; weekly top 30 for the five channels from the analogue era, top 10 for all other channels. Figures are in millions. We include SD and HD transmissions, but don't include +1 in the totals. Only the top-rated episode of each series is counted.


Strictly Come Dancing (final) 17-Dec 13.01
Let It Shine (first) 07-Jan 7.00
Eurovision Song Contest (final) 13-May 6.89
Masterchef (final) 12-May 6.47
Pointless Celebrities 02-Dec 5.65
Celebrity Masterchef (final) 22-Sep 5.48
Have I Got News for You 12-May 5.37
Pointless 29-Dec 4.63
The Big Painting Challenge 19-Mar 4.40
Celebrity Mastermind 28-Dec 4.31
Sir Bruce Forsyth Mr Entertainment 18-Aug 4.09
Would I Lie to You at Christmas 18-Dec 4.28
Let's Sing and Dance for Comic Relief (first) 04-Mar 3.74
Who Dares Wins 29-Jul 3.58
When Miranda Met Bruce 19-Aug 3.27


Masterchef The Professionals (final) 21-Dec 3.93
University Challenge (final) 10-Apr 3.49
The Weakest Link (special) 17-Nov 3.45
The Great Pottery Throw Down (final) 23-Mar 3.34
Dragons' Den 15-Jan 2.89
Great Local Menu 27-Jun 2.67
Bake Off Creme de la Creme 11-Apr 2.64
Have I Got News for You 02-Jun 2.58
Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two 06-Nov 2.52
Christmas University Challenge 28-Dec 2.5
The Great Interior Design Challenge (first) 03-Jan 2.40
Pointless 20-Jan 2.38
Mastermind 13-Jan 2.33
The Big Cooking Showdown (first) 30-Oct 2.20
Only Connect 13-Jan 2.06
Celebrity Antiques Road Trip 12-Dec 2.08
QI 20-Jan 1.89
Mock the Week 08-Sep 1.85
Me and My Dog (first) 05-Apr 1.70
Robot Wars 12-Mar 1.68
Special Forces Ultimate Hell Week 05-Mar 1.66
Eggheads 20-Jan 1.64
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 01-Dec 1.49
Astronauts Do You Have What It Takes? (first) 20-Aug 1.47
Celebrity Eggheads 04-Dec 1.39
Eurovision You Decide 27-Jan 1.32
Insert Name Here (first) 09-Jan 1.28
Richard Osman's House of Games 18-Sep 1.24
Bargain Hunt 17-Mar 1.21
Dragons' Den Meet the New Dragons 20-Aug 1.13
Letterbox (final) 08-Aug 0.76
QI XL 08-Jul 0.63


I'm a Celebrity (first) 19-Nov 12.21
This Territory's Got Talent 06-May 10.94
Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway 18-Mar 8.18
The X Factor 16-Sep 7.38
BBC The Voice of This Territory (first) 07-Jan 6.64
BBC The Voice of This Territory Kids (first) 10-Jun 4.71
Dance Dance Dance (first) 08-Jan 4.37
Ninja Warrior 11-Feb 4.00
The Chase 12-Jan 3.95
The Chase Celebrity Specials 10-Dec 3.86
Through the Keyhole (first) 14-Jan 3.69
The Chase Bloopers Special 17-Dec 3.64
Take Me Out 06-May 3.44
Catchphrase 01-Jul, 15-Jul 3.33
Cannonball (first) 02-Sep 3.22
Tipping Point Lucky Stars 24-Sep 3.16
Bigheads (first) 23-Apr 3.09
Guess the Star 30-Dec 2.92
5 Gold Rings 19-Mar 2.82
The Family Chase 09-Sep 2.62
Cash Trapped (first) 31-Jul 2.30
Tipping Point 15-May 2.00

Channel 4

The Grate Breadxit Burn-Off (final) 31-Oct 9.54
Big Fat Quiz of the Year 26-Dec 3.25
The Crystal Maze (celeb, first) 23-Jun 3.11
Celebrity Hunted (first) 10-Oct, 17-Oct 2.79
The Jump (first) 05-Feb 2.65
The Price is Right 30-Dec 2.26
Lego Masters (first) 24-Aug 2.08
The Big Fat Quiz of Everything 06-Jan 1.84
The Grate Breadxit Burn-Off An Extra Slice (first) 31-Aug 1.74
8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown 10-Feb 1.73
The Crystal Maze (civilian) 08-Sep 1.36
The Fake News Show 06-Feb 1.18
Four in a Bed 24-Nov 0.89

Channel 5

Celebrity Big Brother (first) 03-Jan 2.57
Blind Date (first) 17-Jun 2.05
World's Strongest Man (final) 01-Jan 2.00
The Story of Paul O'Grady 23-Jun 1.88
Lip Sync Battle (first) 06-Jan 1.69
Big Brother 08-Jun 1.52
The Bruce Forsyth Story 05-Mar 1.07
Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side (final) 03-Feb 1.01
Strictly Come Dancing Before They Were Famous 15-Dec 0.890
The Ant & Dec Story 20-Aug 0.86
When Game Shows Go Horribly Wrong (rpt) 17-Oct 0.66
Big Brother's Bit on the Side (first) 05-Jun 0.62


Love Island (final) 24-Jul 2.861
Love Island The Reunion 30-Jul 1.980
Celebrity Juice 26-Oct 1.420
I'm a Celebrity Extra Camp (final) 10-Dec 1.384
Love Island Aftersun 16-Jul 1.160
This Territory's Got More Talent (first) 22-Apr 1.058
Take Me Out The Gossip 07-May 0.573
Release the Hounds (first) 09-Feb 0.548
Hell's Kitchen 18-Apr 0.481
Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (first) 26-Feb 0.419
Bromans (first) 14-Sep 0.419
Through the Keyhole 08-Feb 0.373
This Territory's Got Talent (repeat) 27-May 0.347


The Chase Celebrity Specials 12-Dec 0.328
The Chase Bloopers Special 27-Dec 0.290


Dinner Date 22-Mar 0.180
The Bachelor 30-Apr 0.151
Spa Wars (first) 28-Jun 0.147
Dating in the Dark 26-Apr 0.119


A League of Their Own Roadtrip 05-Jun 1.352
A League of Their Own 28-Sep 0.919
Sing Ultimate A Cappella (first) 06-Oct 0.448
Duck Quacks Don't Echo 28-Sep 0.289


Portrait Artist of the Year 14-Mar 0.359
Landscape Artist of the Year 29-Nov 0.251
Master of Photography (first) 25-May 0.167
Watercolour Challenge 12-Jun 0.038
Portrait Artist of the Year 2014 17-Apr 0.035


America's Next Top Model 13-Apr 0.355
My Kitchen Rules Down Under 06-Sep 0.204
My Kitchen Rules Kiwi 06-Dec 0.109


The Chase 08-Oct, 29-Dec 0.266
Who Wants to be a Millionaire 15-Jul 0.250
Bullseye 29-Dec 0.220
Catchphrase 15-Jul 0.167
Hole in the Wall 21-Jan 0.128

Challenge +1

Gladiators 22-Apr 0.059
Golden Balls 01-Aug 0.050
Supermarket Sweep 01-Apr 0.045
Crystal Maze 14-Apr 0.043
Ninja Warrior 13-Nov 0.041
Pointless 25-Jan 0.034
Price is Right 08-Aug 0.033
Takeshi's Castle 17-Sep 0.031
Strike it Lucky 01-Apr 0.030
The Cube 21-Aug 0.029
Family Fortunes 28-Feb 0.027
Total Wipeout 04-Jun 0.027
Wheel of Fortune 30-Jan, 21-Feb 0.026
Blankety Blank 30-Sep 0.024
Robot Wars 03-Nov 0.023
Don't Forget the Lyrics 15-Jul, 12-Aug 0.022
Joe Pasquale's Price is Right 22-Apr 0.021
Take Your Pick 09-Sep 0.020
Play Your Cards Right 20-Aug 0.016


Taskmaster 16-May 0.830
Go 8 Bit 03-Jul 0.455
Would I Lie to You 26-Aug 0.385
Room 101 21-Aug 0.373
Mock the Week 28-Jun 0.360
Have I Got a Bit More News for You 02-Jul 0.354
QI XL 02-Aug 0.306
QI 24-Jan 0.220


Masterchef Down Under 03-Nov 0.326
Masterchef Junior Us 18-Jan 0.231
Tipping Point 18-Nov 0.226
Masterchef Us 28-Jun 0.225
Celebrity Masterchef 01-Aug 0.120


Antiques Road Trip 30-Dec 0.263
The Great Local Bake Off 04-Sep 0.224


Masterchef Australia 16-Mar 0.100
The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 17-Apr 0.070
Bargain Hunt 31-May 0.062

Good Food

The Great Local Bake Off 28-Aug 0.081
The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 01-Jan 0.069
Masterchef The Professionals 12-Jan 0.067
Masterchef 11-Mar 0.062
Bake Off Creme de la Creme 18-Nov 0.053
Celebrity Masterchef 17-Oct 0.050
Masterchef Junior Us 27-Oct 0.040

Good Food +1

Junior Bake Off 15-Aug 0.033
Masterchef Junior 30-Aug 0.022


Coach Trip Road to Marbs 18-Jan 0.661
Coach Trip Road to Zante (first) 24-Jul 0.541
8 Out of 10 Cats 04-Jul 0.407
The Crystal Maze (celeb) 09-Jul 0.377


Four in a Bed 08-Jan 0.496
8 Out of 10 Cats (New Year) 04-Jan 0.487
Come Dine with Me 01-Oct 0.476


The Grate Breadxit Burn-Off (first) 29-Aug 0.196
8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown 08-Apr 0.164
The Fake News Show 11-Feb 0.150
Come Dine with Me 08-Aug 0.125
Big Fat Quiz of the Year 27-Dec 0.113
The Crystal Maze (celeb, first) 27-Jun 0.112
The Jump (first) 06-Feb 0.111
8 Out of 10 Cats 12-Nov 0.063


8 Out of 10 Cats 05-Mar 0.124


Eurovision Song Contest (semi-final) 09-May 0.506
Christmas University Challenge 01-Dec 0.440


Swashbuckle Christmas Special 26-Dec 0.331


The Next Step (Khyrese) 02-May 0.262
Sam and Mark's Big Friday Wind Up 10-Feb 0.202
The Dog Ate My Homework 13-Jan 0.184
Taking The Next Step 23-Oct 0.182
Remotely Funny 16-Feb 0.174
Junior Bake Off 20-Jul 0.171
Top Class 05-Nov 0.167
Ultimate Brain 20-Jul 0.155
Horrible Histories Gory Games 02-May 0.154
The Joke Machine 04-Jul 0.150
Got What It Takes? 07-Mar 0.132


This Territory's Next Top Model 04-May 0.278
Project Runway 14-Dec 0.145
Australia's Next Top Model 02-Mar 0.073

Comedy Central

Lip Sync Battle 07-Feb 0.244
Takeshi's Castle 23-Nov 0.224
Your Face or Mine 20-Dec 0.250
The Chris Ramsey Show (first) 11-Jan 0.168


Celebrity Big Brother 12-Aug 0.636
Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side 23-Aug 0.188


World's Strongest Man 28-Dec 0.190
Battlebots 05-Apr 0.111


World's Strongest Man 26-Dec 0.108


Lip Sync Battle Shorties 11-Dec 0.081


Fear Factor 09-Oct 0.075
Celebrity Big Brother 30-Jan 0.049


Lip Sync Battle 29-Sep 0.051
Face Value 26-Nov 0.019


This Territory's Got Talent Us 01-Aug 0.200
Rupaul's Drag Race 01-Aug 0.055


Bigg Boss 01-Jan 0.158
Rising Star 04-Feb 0.085

Food Network

Spring Baking Championship 15-Mar 0.078
Great Local Menu 03-Oct 0.069

London Live

Celebrity Masterchef 22-Apr 0.046
Cookery School 14-Feb 0.028
Michel Roux's Service 06-Jun 0.026


Shipping Wars 14-Jun 0.042

Discovery Home+Health

Masterchef Australia 27-Jan 0.019


The Voice 11-Mar 0.037
The Voice Kids 18-Nov 0.025


Celwydd Noeth 20-Apr 0.033
Cythrel Canu 30-Nov 0.030
Can i Gymru 11-Mar 0.029

Cartoon Network +1

Ben 10 Ultimate Challenge 12-Nov 0.030

Front Runner

The Indoor League 25-Feb 0.017


Couples Come Dine with Me 04-Sep 0.010

Photo credits: Banijay, BBC Scotland, Wall to Wall (a Warner Bros Television Production Uk Company) in association with Ten66, Humble Pie Productions (trading as Studio Ramsey) and Objective Media (an All3Media company), Hindsight Productions, Initial / Remarkable Television / Tiger Aspect (parts of EndemolShine), Tuesday's Child East, Stellify Media and So Television, Potato, BBC / ZDF.enterprises, Talpa / ITV Studios Entertainment, Chalkboard, Gallowgate / SyCo, Voltage TV, BBC Studios, Fizz, Hat Trick, 7Wonder, EBU / GBP / LT / NTU.

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