Poll of the Year 2016

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2016, a year of upheaval and change bought about by the ballot box. But there remains one poll that could end up being the most controversial and contentious of the lot - that's right, it's time for the twelfth (!) running of the annual UKGameshows.com/Bother's Bar Poll of the Year!

As is traditional we wanted to know your favourite new formats of the year, your least favourite, the best show currently being broadcast and any of your stand-out moments of the year.


Hall of FAME 2016

One thing that seemed to come across from a lot of your comments was the idea that the year was "quite good". Indeed it seems quite hard for a complete stinker to get on the air these days (although as we will come to later some manage to come through). In the end 39 different shows got votes (exactly the same as last year, fact fans) interestingly there is not much in the way of a long tail - only a handful of shows got a solitary vote which is quite unusual. Here are the top ten.

10 - Time Commanders

9 - Debatable

8 - Insert Name Here

7 - The Question Jury

6 - Cash Trapped

5 - The Crystal Maze

The Poll of 2017's number one show might feel shockingly low or shockingly high depending on your point of view with many people suggesting in comments that they enjoyed it but want to see how the full announced series gets on before committing. As a one-off there was much of this that could have gone wrong - it's filmed at the Live Experience which whilst a fun live event wasn't really designed with TV cameras in mind, and Stephen Merchant a potentially divisive host. In the end it was a decently fun hour played mainly for laughs (and for charity money they were always going to get anyway) which was fine for a one-off but probably wouldn't fit a series. We're as excited as anyone at the prospect of a new Maze being built with Richard Ayoade hosting. You said:

  • "Let's be clear, the only reason I didn't put this at No. 1 is because it was a one-off revival not a full series (I'm still keeping my fingers crossed!). The show was a faithfully made reproduction with plenty of nods to its legacy - kudos to whoever thought of making Richard O'Brien the computer - though why the team dropped from 6 to 5 is still a mystery to me. Stephen Merchant was a fab host too - if C4 bring it back, I hope they bring him back too.
  • "Feels a bit like cheating voting for this, but the special showed us that the format itself is still brilliant, and just how important it is to get the right host for a full series."
  • "I'm sure the live experience is more enjoyable to attend than it is to watch on television, but the format remains strong and I'd devour a new run."
  • "It's tricky to judge quite how a series would work based on a celebrity one-off - but I'd really rather like to find out."
  • "Great to see a proper adventure game show on prime time TV again and will be interesting to see how the full series does. Well filmed considering the parameters. Merchant was good if a bit over-eager with his asides. Plenty of new games in the full series, please."
  • "I can't believe it happened, and I can't believe they just about got away with it. Knowing it was in the crowdfunded experience helped a lot, the nostalgia was there, but it didn't bury the show under the weight of its own expectation. Now, the interesting part comes in 2017: with a new set in Bristol, and naturally more production values, we get to examine it with more scrutiny. "

4 - Robot Wars

The third and highest placed revival in the Hall of Fame this year, it was a show a lot of you had been waiting for and in the main evidently it didn't disappoint. We hope the upcoming second series is paced a bit better. You said:

  • "Been waiting years to see this back on TV. Whilst I'm not entirely won over by the more science-y bent of the revival (I watch to see metal machines beat seven bells out of each other, not a GCSE Technology & Design presentation), it's still kept the heart of what was great about the original series."
  • "A successful reboot of the hit show. The format tweaks largely worked, and the idea of a robot having to be fixed for the next battle even after losing was a largely successful experiment. The only downside is Dara Ó Briain who I think sucks the energy from the show. Even Jeremy Clarkson seemed to be more into the show than him."
  • "Loved this show when I was younger and the revival didn't disappoint. Dara is a good replacement for Craig Charles and liked seeing some old robots and also some new ones too. And also liked the new mini league format for the knock out rounds."
  • "The original run of Robot Wars defined my childhood. I watched the series, owned the toys, and slept under the novelty duvet cover. I'm delighted to have it back on telly, and brought right up to date. I'm not totally sold on the serious tone of the show - the American equivalent Battlebots does it much, much better - but the standard of engineering is mind-blowing. Here's hoping the second series of the revival is even more successful than the first."
  • "By no means perfect, but a reasonably fun reboot. The Christmas episodes suggested they might have learnt from the first series; I look forward to the second. "
  • "Reboots can be dangerous but this has managed to return and evolve a little to become a more balanced show with the same heart. Jonathan Pearce returning was a must. Ó Briain and Scanlon are good and work well co-hosting rather than designated roles per se. The “sport” aspect could be turned back up a notch – the judges decision reveals were often surprisingly low key for example."

2= The Code

A fun reimagining of a true or false quiz went down really well with the voters:

  • "A quiz show that has everything few shows are missing: likable hosts, a simple set of rules and taxing questions. I'm glad it returns for a second series."
  • "I had low expectations going into this one, but what I discovered was simply great question writing and enormous playalong. The questions on this show are more fun than any other this year, and thats why its my Number One this year. Simple and elegant - a brilliantly well-designed well-oiled gameshow."
  • "I'd have liked some more logic in the metagame a la Mastermind (the board game) rather than random number picking, but the question mechanic was good."
  • "Daytime shows were clearly the place to be this year, The Code is painfully simple but all the better for it. It's variable contestant numbers (Solo, couple or trio) was very refreshing, and something The Million Pound Drop toyed with but never properly committed to. The questions kept you second guessing and meant every answer was tense, and Lesley-Anne Brewis paired well with Matthew Allwright."
  • "Really liked the question mechanic, a nice play on true/false. Wasn't as enamoured with the set or staging, or even the hosting really."
  • "Probably my favourite of 2016, a simple format, well executed. Challenging to win but not impossible and good to play along with at home."

2= Tenable

Towards the end of the year a show came along that on paper didn't sound very good - a top ten quiz (done before, really difficult) with rules and elements "borrowed" from other daytime shows - we were ready to write it off pretty much immediately. And then it turned out to be hugely engaging and watchable, no doubt helped by Warwick Davies' rather good hosting. you said:

  • "A show that's going to run into question material problems rather soon, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. Nice to see ITV find a good vehicle for Warwick after the lacklustre Celebrity Squares remake."
  • "The game moves at a good pace, Warwick is a great host and gels well with the contestants, and the questions are well written. I really enjoy the set-piece of the large pyramid "vortex" too. Probably the most engaged I've been with a daytime gameshow in quite some time."
  • List shows have their ups and downs but this was broadly well-made, interesting mix of topics meant there was something for everyone and the 'lifeline' structure gave a healthy risk/reward balance. Lovely green/purple set/graphics too..."
  • "A really nicely styled Top 10 list quiz. Liked Warwick Davis as the host. A bit stingy on the money, despite 'offering' £125k, no-one will ever get near it. Questions again a little 'chestnutty'. Best Triangular Screen of the Year."
  • "Tenable grew on me as its short run went on. It probably helps that I can appreciate the host's humour. It pieced together bits of existing shows, not always with great success, and would probably suit a slightly shorter timeslot. As with Eggheads, the team captain is guaranteed to contest the final, but unlike The Chase, it's never been explained what will happen if there's no money in the pot come the final round. I would like to see a second series lasting more than 4 weeks, but worry that after just 20 shows, it's already almost run out of reasonable questions. Then again, I could've said the same thing about Pointless 6 years ago!"
  • "This show is fun, and has great engaing questions for the players to play along with. I like the format of losing and regaining players, and a great endgame thats tough, but doable. I look forward to a second series being commissioned. Worth adding that of all the recent experiments of new hosts for gameshows, Warwick Davis is probably the most successful, hes funny, charming and nails the beats of a show."

1 - Go 8 Bit

In what is a fairly nerd-centric top ten this year it may come as little surprise that a comedy panel show about videogames has been voted your best new show of the year, and not only that but Dave's first foray to the top of the pile after Taskmaster so narrowly missed out last year. For probably the first time since Gamesmaster there's a popular mainstream show about videogaming which goes about its business without sounding like everything they're saying is in air quotes. You said:

  • "Finally, after fifteen years a videogame show that I can watch with non-gamers without feeling embarrassed. I still get cold sweat thinking about when Sky One tried to get all yoof TV with Gamezville, but this is doing the Lord's work in fixing that. This is the decade when gaming becomes the biggest entertainment medium, and it's great that we have a show that has no shame in admitting its passion for them. Fantastic intro sequence, too."
  • "Retro games, great soundtrack and revolving sets making a come-back. Marvellous."
  • "It has been many years since a gameshow format about video games has been anything other than pandering and dire, luckily that has all now changed thanks to Go 8 Bit. The use of new games every episode means there's a lot of variety in the game play. Dave has been hitting it out of the park as of late, hopefully that continues."
  • "Two votes for Dave and well deserved they are too. This is what gaming television should be, some friends, having a laugh playing games, with the geeky mate in the corner supplying some excellent trivia."
  • "Dave is hitting its stride with innovative entertainment formats at the moment and this is another to add to the list. The games/interaction is good and the “history” VTs are amusing and interesting enough to be a key part of the programme. Just needs a better split screen layout so we don’t have to keep cutting away from the action – can make it hard to follow."
  • "The must needed return of gaming on TV, Go 8 Bit was an experiment with the same DNA as Taskmaster, and although its not quite as good as that show, it has enough good genes going for it. It can be a little annoying when a complete gaming novice keeps selecting apps to play, but otherwise the show has made me laugh multiple times and I'm glad its on TV for both gameshows AND gaming."
  • "Enjoyed the nostalgia and all the presenters/gamers/guests/audience seemed to be having fun. Apart from the repetitive “revolve the stage” joke."
  • "I'm not sure i can find anything to dislike about this (I even enjoyed the rotating stage)."

Well done Go 8 Bit and especially well done to Dara Ó Briain who has contrived to end up on TWO of the top five shows this year.

But now we must... rotate the stage!

Hall of SHAME 2016

Despite it seeming quite hard for stinkers to make it to television these days people do still manage it. This year 45 different shows (up from 41 last year) attracted votes and the ten that irked you lot the most were:

10 - Drive

9 - Bang on the Money

7= Cash Trapped, Spotless

6 - Sell or Swap

5 - Think Tank

An innocous enough afternoon quiz involving a cast of regular members of the public that won't at any point get your heart racing.

  • "Its happy in its mediocrity, and happy to further the message that all gameshows should be pedestrian, plodding and forced."
  • "Think Tank was absolutely dreadful. I have nothing good to say about it. I don't know where they sourced the Think Tankers from but they were absolutely stupid."
  • "I would prefer watching paint dry. In fact, that might be what I ended up doing as the pace was sooo slow. I didn't like the Think Tankers either."
  • "Nothing against Bill Turnbull – for whom the BBC were keen to find a vehicle following his high-profile departure from Breakfast a year ago – but Think Tank was awful. Its bunch of total and utter Tankers was drawn from people who applied to be contestants, rather than experts... and yet they are treated as such. The 'bluffing' round was toned down for the second series, but could still be cringeworthy. The inevitable penalty shootout round from 11-Metre Productions forced contestants to pick a complete sheer Tanker to help them for the earlier questions which they're likely to know the answer to anyway, but made them rely on their own wits for later questions before a sudden spike in difficulty in the final round that's designed to stop the jackpot being won too often. Another round somewhere in between half the time involved questions being asked "just for fun"! Not a format that's been thought through well at all. It should not return in 2017, but I fear it will."
  • "Think Tank would be better if the panel had more knowledge, the contestants don't have any."

4 - Can't Touch This

Very much the sort of show where you suspect they came up with the killer ending first (jump for the car!) and then worked backwards from there but without really the budget and location to do it all justice.

  • "I was expecting less repetition (the first round was 40 minutes!) and also real prizes to touch rather than just "touch points". The whole idea of touching was completely the wrong way to go."
  • "Total Wipeout, Poundland edition. They may have milked that cow dry, yet they still keep trying, with any charm or atmosphere cut out by making every obstacle the same, setting the entire thing in a bland warehouse, and making the entire premise of the show (i.e. touch the prize and you win it) only actually hold true in the one final jump at the end."
  • "My least favourite was in Can't Touch This, where they had an obstacle that was impossible to beat and even told us in the VO that nobody had been able to beat it in testing. Why put it in the show then?"
  • "For such a great initial pitch, the show fell very flat in many aspects. Having the exact same course every single episode made the first 40 minutes a complete drag, and the reality of "touch a prize, win a prize" being large plastic buzzers was lackluster. Plus the majority of people ended up losing the prizes they had "won" in later rounds by being unable to re-bank them, as it were. I didn't mind the car-final-round in all honesty, it's just a shame it takes so long to get there."
  • "This was an experiment that simply didn't work. I never understood why everyione was getting so excited in the initial premise, and the final product definitely didnt ally my fears. Not having the prizes to be touched made the whole top line pointless, and having no audience made the show atmosphereless - like BBC was having a mini-breakdown partway through a Saturday evening. It worries me the BBC can't see disasters like this coming a mile off, they just don't sit down and imagine watching some of the trash they create. "
  • "By no means a bad idea nor poor games – it’s the structure of this that really lets it down for me. To make a TV show it has to be digestible as a whole – this wasn’t. It’s a 50 minute show with 5 rounds (including the jump for the car) but the first round alone often took 35+ mins of the running time! It wouldn’t be quite so bad if it weren’t the exact same course every single week. Once you’d endured Round One, the other rounds were over in a flash and could have easily been extended to allow for a shorter, much more palatable edit, of the first round."
  • "Thought the colour scheme of yellow and blue on this show would at least bring back some memories of some shows I watched as a kid (50/50 and Get Your Own Back anyone?). Instead, lacking in just about anything. More like Can't Watch This!"

3 - The Getaway Car

Only one vote more than Can't Touch This, The Getaway Car was an amusing method of extending the Top Gear brand, except as it turned out The Stig wasn't the primary reason people tuned into Top Gear. Still it all seemed to work out for Dermot O'Leary in the end. Featured no variety from week to week which is a bit of a no-no for knockabout obstacle course shows. We would at least concede that it was fairly well made even if you only needed to watch it about once.

  • "A show that "tests relationships" that, er, doesn't actually apart from the brief blindfold bit in Round 1."
  • "I wonder if the producers escaped in one after the first episode of this yawnfest aired on BBC. You know you have a bad show when even Dermot O'Leary can't salvage it."
  • "It's probably a bit trendy in game show circles to pick on The Getaway Car. Astute fans will realise there are many good reasons for this. It reminded me of the sort of thing that might make a great Ant vs Dec, but not a whole series. Let's face it, it was just a vehicle (ahem) for The Stig."
  • "Scholars of commission before circumstance will be picking over this one for years. Namely, if Jeremy Clarkson hadn’t hit a producer after a long day filming on Top Gear, causing that incarnation (geddit?) to be cancelled – and instead The Getaway Car would have benefited from a stronger working link between the production team on this, and the Top Gear production team and script writers – would it have been any better? No. But at least Richard Hammond would have been hosting it, and we would have been saying how ‘Total Wipeout on wheels’ didn’t quite work – rather than ask why the BBC had to go out to South Africa to make this load of rubbish."
  • "How dull can you make driving, no, racing in fact in the final round?"

2 - 500 Questions

2016's stodgiest quiz neatly sidestepped the unlikely finity of the the American original by basically ignoring the concept completely instead opting for almost self-contained 50 question episodes with whoever being in control at the end of fifty questions winning lots of money and a turnover of contestants so high it was very difficult to care. Unusual choice of host in Giles Coren for an ITV show but he wasn't the worst thing about it by any means.

  • "No version of this show has really worked, has it? The hard limit of 50 questions has fixed the problems that the US version had, but in its place we have the "win all the money at the end despite not doing anything" format variety that I despise. There's no risk or strategy for the challenger most of the time. There was a distinct gulf between the contestant ability and question difficulty. It just seems irritating that there IS a decent show in here but there are so many things that require fixing it may not be worth it. Like that title."
  • "The gameshow was ruined thanks to ITV's scheduling meaning the show could never match the title. A pity - it had so much potential, and the network killed it on arrival."
  • "I really wanted to like this, a genuinely high level quiz over in USA but in UK it was set way too tough for the contestants they selected and winning was whether you were lucky enough to come into the seat at about question 48. Giles Coren did his best but shocking format."
  • "By far and away the worst show for me in 2016. It was silly to even attempt to fix the broken format from the US. Like trying to polish a turd. Bad host, bad set, bad title, bad format, bad terminology "a wrong". The title never gave it a chance. Didn't ask 500 questions. Should have been called The 48th, 49th or 50th Question". A format that asks contestants to only get 1/3 of its questions correct is inherently flawed. People want to watch contestants getting questions right, not wrong. Overall, 500 Questions was "A wrong"."
  • "Firstly, the comment everyone will be making, it’s FIFTY Questions! (And with 4 episodes even that’s only 200 Questions!) The main game is a sequence of questions broken up by a hotch-potch of ideas which don’t really add much to proceedings. Use the challenger plenty or not at all. You could win by really not doing much other than just ending up in the challengers position at a suitable moment. Giles Coren – interesting choice but on more than one occasion seemed genuinely condescending rather than just being the panto baddie."
  • "Giles Coren often came across as too abrasive a character to be empathetic and engaging, but then again, all the contestants he interacted with had to be 'characters' (ugh). Ending each 50-question episode with an arbitrary winner didn't seem fair. It was probably in the wrong slot, but attempting to get prime time ratings must have been the only way ITV could justify the size of the jackpot. The audience largely didn't understand what was going on either."

1 - Alphabetical

Done slightly differently there's every chance this could have made the Hall of Fame list instead. However the show's initial run was let down with a practically impossible endgame. It's pretty much the same game used on the continent (Pasapalabra) but calibrated really badly for Jeff Stelling's reading speed. You can have a hard jackpot round - frequently it's not won for months in Spain, but it's not not won because it's impossible to have enough time to listen to all the questions. The rest of the show in the UK is quite bland but at least sells itself on no timewasting quizzing. Although asking its contestants to say "Alphabetical!" instead of "pass!" is quite a poor misjudgement of what the British character will put up with.

  • "Nothing wrong in principle with a fast, simple quiz but there wasn't enough variety in the rounds for my liking. No winners on Takeshi's Alphabetical this time!"
  • "Considering the main attraction of Pasapalabra is the potentially seven-figure jackpot, I think it's really against the spirit to have it divided by a few thousand, and then slowed to the point of being impossible to win. I can't remember the rest of the show, such was its tedium."
  • "Alphabetical seemed to do everything they could wrong. EIGHT cashbuilders in a row. Quite honestly, if I could, I would skip the first two rounds with Sky+ and continue with the acronyms round. The jackpot round was absolutely horrific. It broke the only two main final round rules. Not only was it impossible to win, they also DIDN'T GIVE ALL OF THE RIGHT ANSWERS!! No wonder it got two votes this year."
  • "You cannot have a show where the endgame is actually impossible to win. Why would anyone watch once they realise that? Dull presentation, terrible hosting and quite frankly we don't need any more word/letter games in my lifetime."
  • "I am one of the fastest quizzers in the world and I wouldn't fancy my chances of winning. Way too difficult with the level of questions, especially with the nasty swerve questions designed to force a contestant to slow down."
  • "A clockwork in Mediterranean Europe, a forgettable car crash in the UK. Unless seriously overhauled, ITV shouldn't order new episodes of this show."
  • "It feels like we got to know 'returning champion' Dickie all too well during the late summer, whilst becoming reacquainted with Sky Sports' Mr Stelling (also formerly of Countdown). Insisting contestants say the show's title instead of "pass" just came across as ridiculous. The names of the earlier rounds left a lot to be desired as well, whilst the jackpot was never likely to be won in a run of only 10 shows. A very unsatisfying latest unsuccessful attempt to bring the 'Pasapalabra' format to these shores."
  • "I'm stunned at quite how badly this format was fumbled. The pacing is entirely out of whack, the rounds feel disjointed, and the final round is entirely unwinnable. "Pass- er, umm, Alphabetical.""

The Golden Five of 2016

The award open to any show that had a first-run episode broadcast during 2016 and this year a new challenger for the top spot which we're very pleased about. 61 different shows received a vote.

5 - Tipping Point

The Hall of Shame runner up in the Poll of the Year 2012 is now your fifth favouite show of the year. How Ben Shephard keeps a straight face after some of the answers given is beyond us. The innovation in the celebrity specials of having the answer actually in the question, which they still get wrong, is hysterical.

  • "Enjoyed the celebrity specials more this year and liked the bridging between Tipping Point at 4 and The Chase at 5."
  • "Possibly most underrated game show on TV. Let's face it, it has killed off Deal or No Deal."
  • "I’m now getting ever so bored with Pointless, Only Connect and The Chase - so first goes to the other mainstay of the ITV afternoon schedules. It’s watchable – the last round for the money can be genuinely exciting watching that big star coin inch ever closer to the pit of glory. Ben Shepard may be a bit ‘vanilla’ but he can ratchet up the tension to a suitable level when required. It can be argued the show has contributed to the successful culling of the Bristol box openers, and has outlasted some of the new formats thrown to its turf to try and find its successor."
  • "Consistently good fun, even if questions are "What is your name?""

There's a yawning chasm in votes between this and...

4 - Taskmaster

Impartial as we are we couldn't help but inwardly cheer a little whenever it got some votes. And in fact it got lots of votes - about halfway through it was winning! A great result for Dave's consistently entertaining comedy panel show about completing unusual tasks and then arguing over the methods. Two very well received runs this year and two longer runs to come next year, and we can't wait.

  • "Whilst the second and third series weren't as good as the first (and didn't have a task as memorable as The Pie Whisperer), there was still much to like about the show, and I'm very pleased to see that more series are on the way. I think Dave have a series that could potentially last for ages on their hands, it can't be that expensive to film, and it's consistently funny."
  • "Dave have gone from strength to strength recently, and Taskmaster continues to shine. Greg and Alex have a hilarious dynamic, and that seems to work flawlessly with every cast of comedians they have had thus far. The tasks always prove clever and funny, with some having delightful built-in gotchas (even if they don't always pay off or are a little contrived, such as morse code balloons). I look forward to many many more years of Taskmaster."
  • "Simply put, one of the funniest shows on the air right now and there are no signs of slowing down."
  • "I am very late for the party, and this is very, very funny!"
  • "Two series of this have proved that with a good set of guests and a good set of tasks this could be entertaining us for a long time, yet."

3 - The Chase

It's consistently a third place finisher in this poll but in real life it seems to be rating off the charts at time of writing, not bad for a show that's eight years old now, this and Pointless seem very much to be the UK equivalents of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in the US. Not a great deal of innovation this year although they've recorded some Family editions, with all the team from the same family, to go out in 2017.

  • "The best quiz show currently on TV. Over 100 questions per show, a reliably tense end-game and a cast of legends in Bradley and the Chasers. I look forward to the upcoming Family shows!"
  • "The Chase just goes from strength to strength - part of my daily routine now and it just works on every level."
  • "Still THE most exciting end game in TV quiz shows and Bradley corpsing at slightly rude sounding incorrect answers never gets old."
  • "The Chase is my second tea time slot quiz and think it has got stronger this year since winning the NTA for best daytime programme. Bradley never fails to make me laugh and always enjoy the final chase at the end."

2 - Only Connect

So close this, really only a handful of votes in it (much closer than last year), Only Connect seems to be increasingly badly treated by BBC2 (changing day and slot apparently on a whim) and nobody's really sure why, it was going great guns paired with University Challenge.

  • "Quizzy Mondays is sadly no more but Only Connect carries on, still as pleasing in its 12th series as it was in the first. The overbearing smugness that I get for getting a 5-pointer off the bat never gets old, even if it only happens about once a year."
  • "Still TV's most intelligent quiz and still ably hosted by Mrs David Mitchell. I'm rubbish at it though - it's not often I cheer if I get a question right when watching a game show but it's such a rarity on OC that I feel I've earned it!"
  • "The Beeb will be guarding their quiz show poster child quite keenly after The Great British Bake Off got pinched I would imagine. Only Connect has continued to grow and establish it's quirky identity with a new baffling sort-of-single-elimination format, throwaway in-jokes and visual gags which would be out of place on any other quiz show, and a rather surprising move to Friday night prime-time. But the show is as pin sharp as ever, and I can still confidently say it is one of the best quiz shows on TV."
  • "Some weeks I think maybe the moment has passed, and this is no longer appointment television. And then a connection comes up that is *glorious*, and I recall my love for the series. Waning a little, but still very much up there."
  • "One of the most challenging quizzes on TV, rewarding knowledge and lateral thinking. To still be coming up with strong questions after 12 series is testament to the setters, just stop the bloody singing on music sequences please!"

1 - Pointless

Only just mind you, and with Richard Osman retweeting this poll several times to his 500,000 Twitter followers just goes to show how valueless Twitter really is. Still you can't really argue as it's still pulling in remarkable numbers and the celebrity shows are still one of the highest rating shows on the night, and likely only cost 5% of an episode of a dwindling talent show episode. Recently celebrating 1000 episodes, congratulations for topping the Golden Five for the fifth year running!

  • "Not much to add to what I wrote last year about it: fab hosts, fun contestants, great question variety and the all-important combination of the fun factor and playalong factor. If only I had a trophy I could give Xander and Richard!"
  • "Even though it hasn't been as strong as previous years its still my go to show at 5.15 pm. Xander and Richard still have a great rapport and even though they are scraping the barrel at some of the rounds (i.e anything elements and science) I have enjoyed the new music themed rounds and anytime lockdown comes around at a tie for 200 makes me smile. Pointless Celebrities has also held firm as well and carried on being a staple of Saturday Night."
  • "Always watchable, and quite easy to dip in and out of... but the scheduling of repeats badly needs looking at!"
  • "Still as trusty as ever but the three weeks on/three weeks off rota as regards new/old episodes seems to be starting to harm rather than help its longevity."
  • "Too many repeats for my liking but when new episodes come around it's must-watch TV, always invokes a lively discussion in the house, trying to 'out-low' each other and the camaraderie between Armstrong and Osman is still fantastic."

Bubbling Under: 6 - The Great British Bake Off, 7 - Countdown, 8 - University Challenge, 9 - Who Dares Wins, 10= 1000 Heartbeats, Robot Wars, Tenable

At this juncture we should take a look at how this compares with previous years - we actually had to double check that last year's number four 1000 Heartbeats was eligible but yes it snuck in a fortnight of new episodes at the beginning of the year. Two Tribes wasn't eligible. We don't know where Who Dares Wins has suddenly come from, it sniffed the top ten in 2011 (albeit in eleventh) and hadn't been seen since. Old Golden Five stalwart The Apprentice is nowhere these days, apparently lucky to get a vote. Original Golden Five winner Deal or No Deal bows out in joint 15th.

As ever radio is very under represented, handfuls of votes for Round Britain Quiz, Fighting Talk and The Unbelievable Truth but nothing in the Top 30 of 61 shows total.

Favourite moments

And so we come to the freestyle element, your favourite moments of the year, hopefully with links to clips or episodes if we can find them. Here is a selection of some of your choices:

There was a lot of love for the Eurovision Song Contest this year, in particular the close voting and the tongue-in-cheek interval act Love, Love, Peace, Peace:

  • "The most nailbiting final votes in years. The voting change was excellently done."
  • "Love Love Peace Peace being a non-stop barrage of "OH WOW I KNOW THIS REFERENCE" moments that I felt no shame at all in loving."
  • "Eurovision interval act - "Love Love Peace Peace""

We could spend ages with the amount of The Chase clip ideas you sent us so here's a handful in no particular order:

  • "Whilst Only Connect may have its infrequent "buzzergates", in which contestants regrettably press the buzzer when meaning to say 'next', the Hive Minds grand final this series outclassed OC in a spectacular fashion with it's technology-failing-contestants. In a very close final match, the Superhive round spelled doom for the Cruciverbalists as they found all of the correct answers, but failed to correctly submit the answers one by one, instead submitting several answers as one concatenated word. Fiona Bruce was helpless as her all too common cry of "Don't forget to press Enter" fell upon deaf ears during the deliberation, and this proved to be a costly error for the Cruciverbalists, as the game was so close that the points lost due to this mistake cost them the game and the series' victory. Truly the biggest scandal to hit BBC Four quiz shows in quite some time." (Regrettably we can't find a clip of this but if you're able to source the Hive Minds series two final it's quite something.)
  • "Every Tenable viewer in the UK collectively being unable to name the 10th thing in a box of Celebrations was sort of painstakingly beautiful."
  • "The welcome return of Robot Wars! Highlights included Carbide causing so much damage to the new, stronger and reinforced arena that recording had to be stopped. Also, Apollo flipping three of the four house robots en route to winning the series. And lest we forget, Chompalot channelling a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as its lithium batteries erupted into huge flames."
  • "Robot Wars: Carbide destroying the arena and Apollo defeating the house robots!"
  • "That some of the Robot Wars competitors were not afraid to go after the House Robots."

A big thank you to everyone who submitted ideas, this list is only some of them. Two final ones. The first is 2005 Golden Five winner Deal or No Deal going out on a high, with a fortnight On Tour series which went down well ending with Vicki Heenan winning £250,000. Unfortunately we can't find a very good clip, although there is one from someone pointing a camera at the telly.

  • "A fitting farewell to daytime stalwart Deal or No Deal, as Vikki from Arbroath became the programme's ninth - and final - quarter-of-a-millionaire."
  • "Deal or No Deal on Tour - This was the first time I've watched the show with any regularity since the live editions. Great idea, good fun, and a suitable reminder in parting of how compelling the format could be.
  • "£250k winner on last Deal or No Deal and the entire tour, a fitting way to end a legacy."
  • "DoND Tour was ambitious and an interesting send off."
  • "Vikki winning the 250k on the last ever DoND."

And finally...

  • "Taskmaster: Joe’s potato-gate."
  • "Joe Wilkinson's foot fault while throwing a potato into a hole on Taskmaster."
  • "The throwing into the golf hole challenge without stepping onto the green in Taskmaster and the ensuing fallout."
  • "Taskmaster's classic potato golf moment with Joe Wilkinsons moment of glory...ish."

Unfortunately this two-minute montage doesn't do it any justice and in fact doesn't feature Wilkinson at all - just Richard Osman and Katherine Ryan trying to get a potato into a hole without touching the green. However we highly recommend watching the whole thing if you are able, it shows absolute mastery in the art of story-telling and pull-back-and-reveal comedy. And also tragedy.

And that's all the weather

Well that was exhausting. Join us for Brig Bother's Bit On the Side where you'll find all the stats and you can chat about the results, and if we all survive 2017 we'll do exactly the same thing all over again. See you then!


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