Big Star's Little Star



Stephen Mulhern


12 Yard for ITV, 4 September 2013 to 30 December 2018 (32 episodes in 5 series + 6 specials)


Three children come into the studio. Each of them is accompanied by a famous parent (or, occasionally, grandparent). We're introduced to these young stars, hear a little of their life with the older relative.

Round one is a nice simple round of questions. Before the recording, Stephen sat down with the young people and asked them some simple questions. "What does mummy do when you go to school?" "What should daddy stop doing?" The response from the children is buried amongst four options. The job of the senior relative is to work out which is the true response in this sea of falsehood.

Some of the false responses will be there for comedy, to cause mild embarrassment to the famous person. "When I go to school, mummy goes back to bed." Er, no. Especially when the correct answer is, "Tells the maids to clean up." Because, yes, sometimes the correct answer will tell us something about a person. It'll tell us the sort of life they have, the way they spend their days, how they've handled their fame, and why they're the sort of person who would appear on a family game show on ITV. Two questions to each player, and Stephen will often bring up the link to the children in the play room, and have a quick chat with them about some of the answers.

Big Star's Little StarThe stars of the show, and their parents.

After the break, we're into round two, familiar from Small Talk. In video inserts, the children have been asked to describe something from their daily life, something important to their parent. Two points if the parent can guess what it is from some of the clues, one point if they need to hear all of the description before twigging what it is. And, of course, should the parent hear everything and still miss the answer, they'll be a laughing stock, and have to blether in an embarrassing manner about their embarrassing failure.

Round three is almost a direct lift from the contemporary run of Mr and Mrs. The children are brought back on set, and sit on a seat alongside their parent. Between them is a large star, so that they can't copy each others' answers. Parent and child will be asked six questions, each with three answers. These questions test their knowledge of each other ("What would daughter's dream day with mummy be?") and their family relationships ("Who takes longest to get ready: mummy, daddy, or son?") This, that, or the other?

Big Star's Little StarStephen gets down with the kids.

The winning couple already have £5000 for their charity; other contestants leave with £1000. The winners go on to play the final round. A grid of 20 squares contains ten pairs of pictures. Stephen reveals two of these pictures (not a pair, naturally), and finds out the story behind them. And, just to make it even easier, he shows all of the pictures for five seconds before covering them up.

The parent and child are allowed 90 seconds to remember where the pairs were. No-one goes at a particularly frantic pace, Stephen continues to describe pictures when he sees them, and the child is encouraged to call the pairs they know, so there's only time for about eleven pairs. It's a modestly tense finish, and played for low stakes - the night's top prize is £15,000, and most winners are going to get somewhere close to that figure.

It's a show of fun and embarrassment, and picked up a cheerful audience. The only slight problem: not every famous person has children. But every famous person has parents, and Big Star's Bigger Star invited the parents to tell stories about their well-known offspring.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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