Weaver's Week 2018-07-29

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Another week, another show from S4C? Apparently so.


Oci Oci Oci!

Oci Oci Oci!

Tinopolis for S4C, from 14 July

This is a darts-and-quiz programme, and there's been one of those before. Lazy reviewers will say, "Hur hur, it's not Bullseye," and return to their boxset of Breaking Thrones. This column will not be lazy, and we won't mention Bullseye until much later.

Any game show needs contestants, and Oci has lots of contestants. Twelve in total, split into teams of four. In the opening minutes, we'll meet the teams, get to know something of where they play together and how they got to know each other.

Oci Oci Oci! All the key elements are here. Dartboard, beer, man in loud pink shirt.

Pubs and clubs, of course, Oci revels in its boozy nature. The programme is filmed in a sports club, with patrons milling about in the background. People disappear through the doors camera left, and carry rounds from the bar camera right. There are filmed inserts from the home club, with the landlord and regulars wishing everyone good luck. Part of the prize is to get your pub and/or club five minutes of fame on network television. Pints for the darts players, and a certain edge to the banter.

So, teams of four from the local boozer. Two of them are the appointed quiz players, and two are the darts players. Throughout the game, the only score comes from the darts board – questions are a way for a team to gain control of the board.

Oci Oci Oci! It's Ifan and Eleri!

Round one begins with Ifan Evans asking questions. Quick-fire questions, on the buzzer. Get the answer right, and your team earns a dart. Get three darts and your team gets to send someone up to the oche, where they can chuck three darts and score lots of points.

After the first team's thrown their darts, their quiz score is set back to zero. The other teams keep their quiz scores, so if an opponent was one question away from throwing, they'll still be one question away from throwing. If the teams are well-balanced, all three should chuck in roughly equal rotation

Round one rolls on for the first half of the show, just about as long as we could bear it. The pace is always relaxed, and before every throw Eleri Sion has a chat with the throwers. She's able to bring out their personalities from very short snippets.

Oci Oci Oci! Eleri, what happens next?

After round one has finished, we lose the lowest-scoring team. They leave with thanks, and with some souvenir darts flights. The remaining teams take part in round two. More sets of three to gain control of the board, that much is familiar.

The novelty: round two is a target round. Three darts to score a target plucked from a bowl. In the bowl are little slips of paper, numbered from 21 to 100. The team with control can accept the challenge, throw their own darts, and make the target. Or they can challenge the other side – you can't make 83 in three darts, prove us wrong.

Oci Oci Oci! And tonight's bonus ball is...

Make the target, score a point for your side; fail the target, the point goes to the opposition. First team to three points makes the final. Slowly and surely, the hosts ramp up the tension, the light-hearted banter becomes a little more serious.

Eventually, we have a winning team. They'll face 90 seconds of rapid-fire general knowledge questions. Except they'll stop after every three right answers, and the darts players will throw their darts. The total score after 90 seconds is the prize the team will go for – it's likely around £150.

Then there's the One Dart Challenge. In a small bag are little slips of paper, numbered from 1-20. The dartists pick out one of those slips, and one of them will fire one dart at the board. If the dart lands in the number they've picked – single, double, or treble – they add a bonus £180 to the prize.

Except the team won't win exactly that prize. One final question – where the answer is between 1 and 20. The quizzers get that question. The darts players now fire at that number on the dartboard. Their aim is the double – if the quiz answer was 4, the dartists aim at double 4. One dart in the double to double the prize, otherwise it's halved. The final is proper tension, especially if it goes down to the last dart. And the face of the winners is a sight to behold.

Oci Oci Oci! The guys in black have won £630.

As with all new shows, Oci has some rough edges. We can live with the slow start, part of the prize is to get your club some time on S4C. We do wonder if it might be spread through the show a little more, perhaps introduce each club just before its first trip to the oche.

There's no penalty for wrong answers. Buzz in and get a question wrong, and that's it, the question dies. It doesn't go on offer to the other sides, it doesn't take the team out of the next question, and there's no penalty dart to the others. We'd like a wrong answer to give the other teams a dart each, not least because that will lead to more throwing of darts.

The one thing Bullseye got right from the beginning was to have a lot of darts. Every question on the category board follows a throw. Every question in pounds-for-points follows a full round, and the second half of Bullseye is entirely darts. Oci is a quiz show, with occasional breaks for darts. Yet the show is presented as a darts programme, and would benefit from more breaks for darts. (See also: Take on the Twisters versus Tipping Point.)

Oci Oci Oci! Move your darts back.

As with all S4C shows, they're not on a big budget. The set decoration is minimalist, a few banners and a book of the raffle tickets from your corner shop. The prizes to the losers are inexpensive.

But this doesn't look or feel like a cheap show, it's warm and friendly and full of human contact. The hosts – Eleri and Ifan – are some of S4C's biggest stars, familiar from all the best light entertainment shows. And they're in your club, meeting your friends. S4C knows its viewers, and goes out to meet them on their turf.

We might tweak at the format a little, but we really like the human element.

Countdown Update

What's been happening in Leeds since Finals Week finished? Diane Cordery was the carry-over champion, completing two wins. Jodine Lawrence made three wins, including the month's top score of 117, but fell to Lewis Carson. Seven wins for Lewis, so he's likely to be back at Christmas, and we can review his performance in detail. Three scores in the 90s, strong on numbers, but his choice of four-large numbers left him wanting for points.

Lewis lost a low-scoring game to Sarah Harper; she made two wins before losing to John Mason. He made four wins, then lost to Bryan Harrison, and he won three games. Bob Lunt is the current champion, with three wins under his belt.

Have we seen the next Countdown champion? Don't think so. More in a month.

This Week and Next

Sorry to report the death of Howard Felsher, aged 90. Working in the States, he was the game show producer's producer, best known for driving Family Feud to great success. He also worked on Password Plus and Super Password, and on the pairing game Concentration. His motto: "The contestants are the stars, and the gameplay the most important element".

Some bizarre stuff circulating around Noel Edmonds this week. Sam Coates of respected newspaper The Times found some polling, where the questions began... "Noel Edmonds recently complained to the Advertising Standards Agency, asking for Lloyds' adverts to be suspended as they misrepresented the truth about the brand, specifically the slogan 'By Your Side'." Mr. Edmonds is taking legal action against the Lloyd's bank for reasons we can't be bothered to research because we have some sort of a life.

And then there's an article in Vice entitled, "Why Noel Edmonds is to blame for the no deal brexit apocalypse". Mate, it's not Noel, he was but the public face. Blame the shadowy Banker.

BARB ratings in the week to 15 July.

  1. Last week for Mark Pougatch's The World Cup. The antepenultimate match proved to be the biggest in the series, as Hrvatski nogometni savez XI prosec The Football Association XI (ITV, Wed) scored a stonking 20.73m viewers. Top game show remained Love Island (ITV2, Mo, 4.15m); all of the week's episodes combined barely overcame Pougatch's entry.
  2. Success for BBC The Voice of Holland of This Territory Kids (ITV, Sat, 3.5m). Stephen Mulhern's Celebrity Catchphrase (ITV, Sat, 2.9m) and The Chase (ITV, Mon, 2.6m) were also big.
  3. "Big" is a relative concept, but all were bigger than the series final of Mark Pougatch's The World Cup, just 2.4m bothered with Hrvatski nogometni savez XI prosec Fédération Française de Football XI (ITV, Sun). Doubt they'll bother with this next year.
  4. Mock the Week (BBC2, Th, 1.65m) was the Beeb's biggest game, and Catsdown (C4, Fr, 1.45m) did well.
  5. Other digital stars? Celebrity Juice (ITV2, Fri, 530,000), Four in a Bed (More4, Sun, 255,000), and Mock the Week (Dave, Mon, 255,000). It'll be interesting to see if Dave's ratings fall in coming weeks, as the channels were taken off cable television (but not satellite or freeview) last weekend.

The summer is over. Love Island crowns its champions (ITV2, Mon). Replacing it: the pilot programme Evil Monkeys (ITV2, Thu), where ITV2 celebrities cannot hear / see / talk.

Photo credits: Tinopolis.

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