Weaver's Week 2022-04-03

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Game shows are a binary concept. Right, or wrong. Win, or lose. One, or zero.

One and Six Zeros


One and Six Zeros

Mighty Television Scotland for Channel 4, from 13 March

Regular readers know how we occasionally go on about a loose grab-bag show. Our fantasy is made up of bits from other shows that outstay their welcome. Small Fortune is one such game, Bank Balance another, Moneyball the most recent. All of them have decent central ideas, but they simply don't work as hour-long programmes. Far better to have one Small Fortune challenge, played by someone, then move on to something completely different.

One and Six Zeros could easily be the overarching format for our loose grab-bag. "Celebrities! We'll give you one pound. For each challenge you win, we'll stick a zero on the end of it. Win all six challenges tonight, and you'll scoop a cool One Million Pounds for your charities."

One and Six Zeros Hundred quid in the bank, a million still in play.

Six challenges, two hours of primetime ITV. Can Olly Murs bounce the ball into the raised pot? Will Phil Tufnell be able to stack the stacks to grab the cash? Does Jayne Middlemiss have the luck? And will host Dara Ó Briain be able to handle two hours of live television? (Of course he will! He's Dara Ó Briain!)

Except... One and Six Zeros isn't that fantasy. It isn't that varied. There aren't any cool stunts. Nobody tries to pick up vases with an oversized pair of tweezers. All we've got is trivia questions.

One and Six Zeros OK, trivia questions, and a very nice view over the Clyde.

Teams of three play One and Six Zeros, they've applied as a team, they'll win as a team. How much will they win? That depends on their knowledge. Each correct answer lights up a digit in 1,000,000 – give seven correct answers at the start of the show and they've won a cool million.

An incorrect answer knocks a zero off the prize – down from a million to a hundred grand, then ten grand, and so on. The game will end once seven question have been answered – right and wrong answers count to those seven questions.

One and Six Zeros Our team of three, all standing together.

The team can also pass on a question, swap it out for another question. This doesn't count to their seven question total, and it comes at a price. At the start of the show, the team is playing for pounds, whole £1 coins. The first pass swaps that pound coin for the next one down, the 50p – the top prize is now half a million. Further passes swap down the list of coins, until they end up with a 1p piece.

Each question is multiple choice, with one correct answer and as many incorrect ones as there are zeros still in play. So our team always starts with seven possible answers, and they'll usually have five or more answers to consider. All of the questions are guessable, we find none of them particularly easy – there are no gimmees to start the show.

One and Six Zeros After a swap, our team's playing for a million 50 pence pieces.

With so few questions in the hourlong show – a minimum of seven, a maximum of thirteen – we're going to have a lot of chatter amongst the players. Everyone thinks about what they're doing, and is encouraged to verbalise their thoughts. We're invited to try and follow the thought process of strangers, get their in-jokes and appreciate them as people. It can be a bit wearing, especially when the team narrow down the discussion to two possibles and hum and haw between them.

Eventually, the team picks an answer, "confirm" their answer (the new "lock it in", the new "final answer"), and Dara will – eventually – tell us if it's right or wrong.

There's a complete lack of urgency to the whole process, nobody seems in any particular hurry to reach a conclusion. Contestants are encouraged to talk around the answer. Indeed, contestants are encouraged to talk around the answer, set off on the new relief road, get given directions and a packed lunch to visit each and every incorrect answer, and told not to hurry back.

One and Six Zeros Even Willy Fog couldn't visit all these places in 80 days.

This lack of urgency saps any energy from the show. Some have described One and Six Zeros as making the minimum amount of fuss about its possible jackpot. In part, this is a function of the gameplay: no team has yet won more than £20,000, and it's been clear from quite early on that it'll take an exceptional team to win the colossal sums on offer.

But we wonder: how excited would we be if someone was on the verge of winning the million, or even a tenth of that amount? We can imagine Dara encouraging the player to take it slowly, stop and think, use all the time in the world. Just as he does on every other question. Can we imagine Dara getting all excited? And being convincing in his excitement?

It's a shame, because One and Six Zeros has two excellent new ideas. One is to allow players to buy a pass, the other is to let the team prune itself as the show proceeds. After the third answer, and again after the fifth, a player leaves the playing area, and goes to sit in the waiting area outside. The player outside isn't permitted to interfere with play at all.

One and Six Zeros The team, now not standing together.

They're still miked up, we can hear them, Dara can hear them, but the player cannot. At times, it's a bit like Deal or No Deal, where Noel relayed The Banker's conversation to today's player – except we viewers hear both sides of the convo, and can vouch that Dara Ó Briain relays his conversation with accuracy and integrity. There's sometimes a DOND-esque moment of regret, when we find the player in the lobby knew the answer, but Dara doesn't dwell on this and moves right on with the game.

All of the decisions set up some interesting strategy questions. Who steps away from the team? What will this do to the team dynamic? When do you want to swap a question? Especially given that you completely don't know that you'll know the new question, it's always a complete shot in the dark. Sadly, One and Six Zeros doesn't really explore these questions, or if it does it's buried beneath endless talking around the various answers.

One and Six Zeros Do the folk in the waiting room agree with the contestant?

The questions themselves also tend to the banal. Which of these famous Hollywood actors has done something? Which of these words isn't in a song? Occasional flashes of genius – which of these animals are there more of than people? – are all the more infuriating because they're so rare. Questions also tend to the medium-hard, even with the options we suspect most people would be guessing; if you can't play along with the quiz, and the conversation bores, the show is a gonner.

How to improve matters? We've idly considered a category board. Sixteen fairly specific categories, one question in each. Random choice to start and after you get a question right, but if you pass, you pick the next topic from what's left. It makes the pass less of a crapshoot, and can add some clear strategy for who to keep and who to lose.

One and Six Zeros The team's won 100,000 twenty-pence pieces. Others won a million new pence.

Is the show a success? Average for the 6pm slot on Sunday nights is difficult to work out – we need to exclude F1, can't really compare entertainment with Channel 4 News, and ought not to rely heavily on lockdown viewing. We figure slot average is somewhere in the 550-600,000 range. Episode 1 was hammocked by Crufts dog show and pulled 860k; episode 2 finished at 500k.

Ultimately, One and Six Zeros feels like a One Series Six Episodes wonder. It's not a bad show, but it is an absolute slog to sit through. And why should we watch this, when we could have the enjoyable and easy Countryfile or Tipping Point on the other sides?

One and Six Zeros Join us again on One and Six Zeros.

Awards season continues

International Format Awards

The International Format Awards have announced their nominations. It's voted by commissioners, and producers, and it's a great barometer of where television fashion is going this year. Whether that makes good television is another matter. Game and game-ish shows up for the nods:

  • Best Brand-Driven Format: Lego Masters Denmark, Cooking With the Stars, Home Made Home (VTM, Belgium), plus two non-games
  • Best Competition Reality Format: Parental Guidance (Nine Network Australia), Finding Magic Mike (HBO Max), Princess Charming (RTL+, Germany), The Traitors (RTL Netherlands), Bloody Game (MBC, South Korea), Wild Teens (Discovery+ India)

De Verraders: flying the flag for engaging telly.

  • Best Comedy Format: Stand Up and Deliver, I Literally Just Told You, plus four
  • Best Factual Entertainment Format: Outsiders, plus five
  • Best Studio-based Gameshow (sic) Format: Moneybags, Date or Drop (RTL Germany), Make Up Your Mind (RTL Netherlands), Family Game Fight (NBC USA), I Literally Just Told You, That's My Jam (NBC USA)
  • Best Returning Format: The Rap Game (BBC3), The Ultimate Entertainer (NRK Norway), Survivor (all formats), Fittest Family (RTÉ Ireland), plus two

I Literally Just Told You Which awards is this show up for? I literally just told you.

  • Best Reality Format: Ultimate Escape (TV5 Finland) plus four
  • Best Host of a Format: Gordon Ramsay (Bank Balance), Antonella Clerici (É sempre mezzogiorno, RAI Italy), Jimmy Fallon (That's My Jam), Joko Winterscheidt (Stealing the Show!, ProSieben Germany), Bradley Walsh (Blankety Blank), plus Stacey Solomon (the non-game Sort Your Life Out)

Bank Balance International Format Awards nominated host.

RTS Programme Awards

Royal Television Society Programme Awards were handed out this week.

RTS Daytime Programme of the Year is The Great House Giveaway on Channel 4.

The Big Breakfast won two awards, Entertainment programme and Entertainment Performance for AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan.

The Judges' Award went to Strictly Come Dancing, for representing Deaf contestants and a male dance couple. In an award postponed a bit, Graham Norton was honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Television 2020.

Strictly Come Dancing Rose Ayling-Ellis.

BAFTA Television and Craft Awards

BAFTA Television Awards will take place in May. Here are the game shows nominated:

Moneybags BAFTA-award nominated Moneybags.

  • Features: The Great Sewing Bee, plus three
  • Reality & Constructed Factual: RuPaul's Drag Race, plus three
  • Must-see Moment: I'm a Celebrity ("Are you watching, prime minister?"); RuPaul's Drag Race ("UK Hun?"); Strictly Come Dancing (Rose and Giovanni's silent dance), plus three

House of Games (3) BAFTA-award nominated House of Games hopes to do better than these prizes.

BAFTA Craft Awards also have their noms:

  • Director Multi-Camera: Nikki Parsons for Strictly Come Dancing, plus three
  • Entertainment Craft Team:
    • Chris Power, Mark Busk-Cowley, Andy Milligan, Shereen Shimmin, Catherine Land, Gurdip Mahal for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
    • Dave Davey, Elizabeth Honan, Benn Wyldeck, Casey Antwis for The Masked Singer
    • David Bishop, Patrick Doherty, David Newton, Catherine Land, Richard Sillitto, Tom Young for Strictly Come Dancing
    • Plus the team for The Festival of Remembrance

June sees the Celtic Media Festival, at which there are yet more awards. We're cheering for Breaking the News (Radio Scotland) in Radio Comedy.

In other news

Lots of recommissions this week. Moneyball is coming back to ITV. The show stars Ian Wright from Match of the Day, and involves some wet paint drying on a wall. You were probably watching Strictly Come Dancing, and that's the right decision.

Sitting on a Fortune is also coming back to ITV. The show stars Gary Lineker from Match of the Day, and involves people walking around chairs, with the person at the back disappearing into a packet of crisps or something. You were probably watching Strictly Come Dancing Results, we reckon it's worth a look.

Great news for UKTV Dave, where Question Team has been recommissioned. The quiz is written by its celebrity contestants, who are given free rein to be as bizarre and outlandish as they like.

Question Team Question time again.

The Weakest Link is coming back to BBC1. Now hosted by Romesh Ranganathan, the show has successfully moved from nasty to toughly competitive. Keep the tone light, play up the comedy, and it'll be an adequate performer – even opposite Stephen Mulhern's Celebrity Catchphrase.

The Tournament is coming back to BBC1. Let's hope they've tidied up the graphics, and perhaps put some more variety into the show.

The BBC's Annual Plan tells us about new factual-entertainment shows. Adventure travel series Trailblazers; new challenge show Warrior Island. "Exciting" new competition formats include Britain's Top Takeaways, Master of Ceremonies and Hungry for It. Entertainment strands returning include The Hit List and The Wheel, and they're doing another run of Blankety Blank, a decision we think is complete BLANK. On radio, Paul Sinha's Pub Quiz sounds up our street

Quizzy Mondays welcomed a new voice to Round the Islands Quiz. It's a familiar voice to regular listeners, Frankie Fanko has tremendous quiz pedigree, she was one of the 007s, champions on Only Connect a couple of years ago, made inroads on the various Who Wants to be an Egghead shows a decade back, and won Counterpoint just last week. We also welcome Kirsty Lang to the host's chair. Perhaps a gentle first episode, but isn't it always?

University Challenge pitted Edinburgh against Reading. Hijinks ensued, not least when Reading connected "Burning up" with Madonna. It's a low-quality disco beat, with a nonchalant vocal, so indistinguishable from her Eurovision turn a few years back. That was in the audio round, when the two sides were roughly level pegging. Edinburgh had had the early lead, Reading had replied. We'll pick up the tale with eight minutes to play, and the scores 85-85.

The nomes of Egypt give Reading a start, and they do well on "trouser roles" in opera. That's roles traditionally performed by women or castrati. Then Reading hit the visual round, on theatre of the absurd, and the lead has suddenly reached 45 points. Edinburgh strike back with words from chemical symbols, and isotopes from the Big Bang. A quotation from Othello falls to Reading, leading to protests in Asia. Excitement from Edinburgh as Lewis Thomas gets neighbours of Slovakia, but it's a little too late. Reading win it by 145-115.

Mastermind was a tight contest: 22 points for two contenders in third place, 23 points for the two leaders. With no passes, we had the second tie-break in the last few weeks (and third, after one on Celebrity Mastermind). The last five questions produced a winner, Sarah Trevarthen defeated Dom Walker 4-2. Sarah was the third person in last week's Counterpoint final, and now we find it's stuffed full of three Mastermind finalists.

And a raised eyebrow to the question-writer who asked "Wham! were made up of George Michael and which other singer?". Andrew Ridgeley, apparently.

The finals of University Challenge the quiz (BBC2, Mon) and University Challenge the boat race (BBC1, Sun). Culture for your weekend: the final of Côr Cymru (S4C, Sun), and the occasional strand All Star Musicals (ITV, Sun).

Yes, there is a The Big Fat Quiz of Everything (C4, Sun). Celebrities play Tipping Point Lucky Stars (ITV, Sun).

Coming to TV: The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected (BBC Scotland, Mon), a pilot telly version of the radio show. You Heard It Here First (Radio 4, Thu) gives comedians sound clues. Documentaries about Terry Wogan (Radio 2, Sun) and Nikki Grahame (C4, Thu).

Next Saturday, Stephen Mulhern's In for a Penny returns (ITV, Sat), with Stephen Mulhern back in Birmingham. Later, The 1% Club (ITV) seeks the smartest contestant from a field of a hundred.

We don't plan to publish next week – we want to give the Mastermind final (BBC2, 11 Apr) good coverage over the Easter weekend. Celebrities get cold on Freeze the Fear (BBC1, 12 Apr) - this was promoted like a game show, but turned out not to be, having no scores, no leaderboard, and no prize. Taskmaster returns (C4, 14 Apr).

Pictures: Mighty Television Scotland, IDTV, Expectation and Richard Bacon Media, Studio Ramsay, BBC Studios Entertainment, Youngest North, Remarkable Television, Interstellar. We revised this article in October 2022 to explain Freeze the Fear.

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