Poll of the Year 2020

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Welcome to the 16th annual UKGameshows.com/Bother's Bar Poll of the Year! 2020 was a difficult year in the world with COVID-19 causing all sorts of issues, especially in TV production which had to adapt to social distancing measures. As such most shows made in the period will have a certain look to them, whether that be perspex dividers, greater space and so on.

But frequently restriction is the bedrock of ingeniousness, and some shows have thrived under the conditions. Other shows less so, and you've told us in no uncertain terms which are which (or have you?). Our categories are the same as usual, we asked for your best and worst new formats, best shows that are going concerns and (especially important this year), best non-linear shows. People get the opportunity to cast up to five votes in each category, and we've had a record breaking year in terms of numbers


Watch a recording of the live broadcast!

Hall of FAME 2020

For a challenging year there have been a few shows that caused people to sit up and take notice, albeit some of them filmed in 2019 and going out in 2020 (although it should be noted that they seem to have had successful COVID-era runs as well). 39 different shows attracted votes (higher than last year!), and your top ten are:

10 - Crackerjack

9 - Family Fortunes

8 - Epic Gameshow

7 - Very Hard Questions

6 - Winning Combination

5 - First & Last

It's never easy being a show that's been in development hell for ages - we remember Justin Lee Collins hosting a pilot for this for Channel 4 about a decade ago, and we're aware of an Italian version being a one series wonder - you wouldn't expect it to be much good by the time it comes out. But under Jason Manford it leant into its ridiculous ideas and it ended up beating its rather low expectations by quite a margin. You said:

  • "Jason Manford played this likeable show with charm and aplomb. But there was too many prediction games, and please turn up the lights next series!"
  • "If only because as an aspiring format developer myself, I felt for the producers with the story of this show being in development hell for all those years. The endgame is my favourite bit. Anything involving naming your own prize, but with a risk element to it the higher you go is one of my all time favourite mechanics."
  • "I imagine I’ll be one of only a few giving First & Last their dues, long left on the shelf, and wandering the planes of development hell long before that, the show has a simple premise and feels like it’s trying to follow in the footsteps of Saturday night variety shows of the Forsyth era. While Manford veers a little too much on the side of sardonic, it remains a show that kept my attention on a Saturday night, something that more revered shows have failed to do so."
  • "The core idea here is pretty robust, and they managed to spin it out in a reasonable number of different directions for the different rounds across different episodes. I'm not sure there was anywhere the idea could have gone any further in a second series, though."
  • "Probably will end up in Hall of Shame, but a good bit of fun and Jason Manford a capable host. Can't blame it's demise entirely on the horrific scheduling, but it would have been nice to give it a chance"
  • "Stupid, but charmingly so. A bit like Joe Swash, really."

4 - Rolling in It

Recorded and then left on a shelf for eighteen months, it's another show where expectations weren't high for it. Except when it went out people liked it, and it's coming back for a second series. Sure, it's another large scale arcade game a la Tipping Point, but... why not? Plenty of exciting moments, even if the final question feels a little Golden Snitchy. You said:

  • "Was pleasantly surprised at this given that it was supposed to be so bad that it had sat on the shelf for over a year. But all in all not a bad show at all."
  • "It’s an exciting game with great risk/reward mechanics, and a genuine element of physical tension. On paper, the stealing of money seems cheap and unbalanced, but on the screen it’s very tense and exciting."
  • "Not sure why this was on the shelf for over a year. Mullers is brilliant in the hosting of this thoroughly addictive quiz. Nice to see the unusual move of a 'celeb and normal person' pairing on a quiz show too."
  • "Had a solid first series, even if a few aspects of the humour was a little old-fashioned."
  • "I’m a sucker for a show with lots of randomness and chopping and changing between players etc! Could have been too repetitive, a-la Tipping Point, but just strays the right side of that line."

3 - The Wheel

Winning the award for the show filmed in 2020 that looks and feels least like a show filmed under COVID conditions, Michael McIntyre comes up with a show in the bath to replace his Big Show which they can't make at the moment, and now the BBC have quite a nice problem in having two popular Saturday night McIntyre vehicles. And whatsmore, Paul Farrer seems to have composed the best theme tune in years for it. You said:

  • "In a sense this is anathema to quality quizzing, but I found it surprisingly watchable. It helps, at least, that most people get reasonably involved in the game, so individual narratives get a chance to spring up"
  • "It's the perfect vehicle for Michael McIntyre. It's "slow", but it's ideal Saturday Night, gather round the TV and perhaps chat a bit, watching."
  • "Michael McIntyre's socially-distanced quiz is the only game show of 2020 that I had to pause because I was laughing too hard to pay attention. Some of the experts' supposed specialisms are dubious (who knew Dermot O'Leary was a WWII buff?) but all in all this has been a much needed Saturday night pick-me-up."
  • "Sometimes the episodes can feel too light, but in the middle of this tarnation , a feel good game show that is hosted by a radically supportive host with a really good music, a giant wheel, and well written questions is personally for me a "drop everything and time to watch" show."
  • "I have to say this; It's Wheely Good and I hope it comes back for another series! A great way of taking advantage of social distancing by the nature of having a big wheel and so easy for everybody to sit apart in the different segments without necessarily knowing it was filmed during a pandemic. Michael McIntyre is a great host making light of everything even when things are going wrong, particularly at the end of the 3rd episode when it all went drastically wrong as not one contestant took away any money! I do like the twist at the end where it's actually the celebrity who performed the worse who will help you win the most money if you choose to go with that celebrity."
  • "A little slow, but the music, set and McIntyre’s hosting pull this from average to really quite good."

2 - The Masked Singer

A format that gave the singing reality genre a kick up the backside in that it's not really about the singing as much as it is the entertaining mystery of working out who the contestants behind the often incredible costumes are. As such it's become the perfect show to watchalong with both family and social media. To think ITV was almost, almost ahead of the game with Guess the Star a few years ago.

  • "The best show on TV and that includes everything I work on."
  • "Honestly think this show is perfect, I wouldn't change anything about it. Great fun, really well made, so feel good."
  • "The most joyous and optimistic show of it’s kind, in a year that desperately needed it. The Masked Singer offers viewers a low-stakes mystery to solve along with a stylish colourful spectacle, and while this might not be to the tastes of some (and others who won’t admit they enjoy it!), I truly hope this becomes an ITV mainstay with the lasting power of The X Factor."
  • "I thought this was going to be rubbish when I first saw it advertised thinking it was just celebrities in masks singing but I was proven wrong. It gives the chance for celebrities who you might not have expected to be able to sing a chance to prove themselves on a level playing field (Teddy Sheringham for example) without knowing who it is and only being able to judge by their voice."
  • "I pompously thought this would fall on it's face, as it's very non-british. Pleased to say I was very wrong, and the only jarring non-british element in Ken Jeong has been removed for series 2 - file that one under "Covid silver linings""
  • "This is the baseline for all singing shows now! It brings so much more entertainment than most 'talent' shows, the costumes are PHENOMENAL, and the clue packages has kept all of Quiz Twitter onside with it too. I'm so bad at celeb culture and YET here I am every week watching what people dig up about celebs from Wiki."
  • "It does of course have no business being as long as it is, but the aim of the exercise is to have a fun guessing game on Twitter and thus the show is a success."

1 - Beat the Chasers

And this isn't especially close, in fact it was listed on over 70% of the ballots, clear water ahead of The Masked Singer (which had a bit over 50%). No doubt helped by having a second run coincide with the voting period. Nevertheless there's no guarantee that this would have worked, chess clock quizzes are notoriously hard to get right (they're rarely all that close or exciting, you can't do much to catch up when you fall behind). This one however is frequently exciting with the handicapping giving us the occasional surprising winner, helped along with the excitement of watching your favourite Chasers work as a team (and showing themselves to be frequently as useless playing as a team as members of the public). It's not perfect - the Cashbuilder feels pointless and the offers completely arbitrary to an almost obscene level - even to the point of penalising good players with frankly lousy offers, but the main events are so thrilling that incredibly they get away with it. It's already sold internationally - even to countries which don't have a domestic version of The Chase, impressively. You said:

  • "A decent, but not perfect, format that has a strangely irrelevant front game and a non-optimised chess clock game. Nonetheless, it is genuinely exciting."
  • "The best way to spin off a game show. It retains a lot of what makes the oringal show great (namely, the people in it) and changes enough to make it one of the best shows of 2020."
  • "So simple it should have failed but having a big end game pretty much every 15 minutes is really exciting and it's a great addition to the schedules."
  • "A logical spinoff, where everything seemed to go right. The entertaining casting, wonderful host, and the short but tense format all combined to make the best combination of quiz and theatre we’ve seen on these shores in years."
  • "Beat The Chasers has the vibe of a Roman amphitheatre, with a baying crowd watching as a singular underdog attempts to slay some five-headed quiz monster, alongside their trusty companion Bradley Walsh. For as few format beats as the show has, some still fade into the background; nobody really cares about the contestant cash builder, and even the offer stage feels a bit squiffy. The show’s main draw, and what makes it so compelling, is the chess-clock volley of one unknown against five celebrated quizzers, and this is so strong it can carry the entire show."
  • "My favourite new format of 2020 and perhaps the last few years combined. While you can feel the hand of the producers each time a good quizzer receives bad offers (and vice versa), it's consistently entertaining and regularly gives away more money than Millionaire. Bradley is on top form, too."
  • "The cashbuilder and the offers are an obvious nonsense - yet it's a testament to how strong the game proper is - and the characters of the Chasers - that everyone is willing to ignore the many clear faults."
  • "This was the most pleasant surprise I've had in a long time. It's thrilling chess clock quizzing that has the benefit of 10+ years of lore now. Great cast and so nice to see the chasers work as a quiz bowl team."
  • "It's the 'good' quizzing option - in a sense, the direct opposite to The Wheel. A decent implementation of a chess clock format does indeed manage to be properly tense. I just wish the stuff *before* that was a bit more robust, because the cashbuilder's relationship to the main game feels incongruous at best."
  • "Fantastic fast-paced gameplay and an outstanding soundtrack. Even better than the usual teatime game."

Hall of SHAME 2020

It's perhaps interesting to note this year more than usual several shows fall quite high into both Fame and Shame lists. Just thirty-three different shows received votes this year - well down on previous - also far fewer votes in this category than usual - the top (bottom) show was only on 25% of the ballots. But what annoyed you enough to put votes down?

10 - Family Fortunes

9 - First & Last

8 - Epic Gameshow

7 - Rolling in It

6 - Little Mix: The Search

5 - Winning Combination

Bit harsh being this high we think, from the people who bought you The Chase it's a show that's not as good as The Chase, although we did enjoy Omid Djalili's hosting of it.

  • "Weirdly-paced show that misses the main point: why can't the contestants have an argument about what number they should be placed at?"
  • "Not horrible but the main rounds are quite boring but the end game is fun."
  • "Despite Omid Djalili’s very good hosting, and the quite fun Battle Rounds, I feel the format could have been quite a bit better, especially given the admittedly interesting premise. Sadly wasted potential, here."
  • "Very repetitive. For example, you are going to see a bare minimum of 20 boards of the “find 2 in 6” game every episode! The “deduct a point” rule in the Battle Round is a classic case of “looking like strategy when it isn’t” as you should just take a point off the leader every time. Also, a strange choice that the motif of the show and graphics is “cracking a code/combination” when that’s not actually part of the show."
  • "Was too slow-paced, and Omid isn't the right host."
  • "Although I've never done it, apparently when you have to pick a safe to get the cash or the contents out of it, you can expect it to take a lot of patience, repetition and a teeth grinding frustration. Exactly the sort of feelings you got when watching this dire rubbish."

4 - Very Hard Questions

Channel 4's attempt to 'do' a high-brow quiz in the same vein, if not the same style as Only Connect. Newsreader Jon Snow not a natural quiz show host it's fair to say (although it's also fair to say that there are people who saw this awkwardness as part of the charm). If you're not a quizzer you're not going to get much out of it. You said:

  • "Painfully wasteful format that didn't know how to get the best out of Mr Snow."
  • "No wonder this show ended up on More4, rather than the main channel, it felt very dull"
  • "Decent questions, but Jon Snow must be one of the most abysmal quiz show hosts of all time, the show became watchable if you could fast forward his pieces to camera."
  • "I wanted this to succeed, in part because brainy quizzes are now a rarity outside of the BBC. But for some reason VHQ didn't catch fire. Perhaps it was trying so hard to be like Only Connect, in order to appeal to a common fanbase, that it didn't really try to develop its own identity! I fear the More4/E4 budget cuts announced in lockdown - which saw the likes of Maxxx booted to late in the year, and 4Music becoming an E4 dustbin - will dissuade them from trying again."
  • "Only Connect without the well written questions, charisma, or fun."
  • "Very hard questions. Very wrong host. Very hard watch."

3 - The Bridge

An attempt to do a constructed adventure reality show during COVID, this show failed in its original French run and didn't seem to do much better here. Contestants attempt to build a bridge to an island with treasure on it and then decide who amongst them wins it all, except there's not much bridge building and lots of arguing, like someone thought what was really missing from Challenge Anneka was interpersonal rivalry.

  • "Horrible, horrible, horrible. It's like a throwback to reality shows the mid 2000s where every thing was manipulated and false jeopardy added to try to create drama. JUST MAKE THE FORMAT ENTERTAINING. There wasn't even a point in having a bridge - they could have been cleaning an oven and the show would have been the same. Horrible."
  • "It's a show where you're meant to see people building a bridge, but you barely saw them do any of that - there was one whole episode where you didn't see any building!"
  • "Is there really jeopardy for a full series on whether people could build a visually short bridge over to a tiny island? Turns out no."
  • "I'm normally into these sorts of shows but this was deathly dull. It looked great and fair play to being one of the first big shows to be made during the pandemic but it really didn't deliver."
  • "Never before has a show been less sure of its own format than The Bridge. With a cast of players that might have been quite compelling on Survivor or Big Brother, the dozen wannabe bridge-builders feel lost here, as the show constantly fights against them with nonsensical format points, synthetic tension, and meaningless objectives. The lack of actual focus on the bridge building began as confusing and became downright laughable, The Bridge is a show which provided no substance, no innovation, and very little carpentry."
  • "Channel 4 yet again being dicks to their contestants. Don't do that, Channel 4."
  • "For a show that put casting calls making it sound *a lot* like Survivor, it wasn't very much like Survivor. The cast were obviously confused and it meant that each episode's story was sort of all over the place - game stakes, "he's fit", a bit of building, frustration about egos, etc."

2 - The Wheel

It's been years since we've had a show this divisive, for all its fun elements winning is a bit random and its pacing is slow and it introduced its rules/features in a pretty piecemeal fashion. And it's hosted by Michael McIntyre who is successful and mainstream so not cool. You said:

  • "Not really a fan of a show where you can answer every question right but lose because of something out of your control."
  • "The only good thing about this is the music. I don't have much time for Michael McIntyre and the format's hugely uninspiring."
  • "A great theme song, and a good host with an air of fun makes it a fun show, but the format lacks tactics, and has too much room for an unearned victory for me to appreciate it."
  • "A show that never would have existed if 2020 hadn’t been the way it was, Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel is the most compelling show I entirely dislike. Despite being annoyed by the varying question quality, never-ending rule addendums, and meaningless endgame, I watch each week without fail. Honestly? I blame Paul Farrer."
  • "Shame... because.... the... idea... was... good..., and... the... theme tune has become a bit of a meme - but... well yeah, gave up on that gag. I don't have that much patience."
  • "The uncanny valley of this annoys me: is it quiz-show speed or is it chat-show speed, is it about the contestants or the celebs, is it Big Money or is it A Laugh, are we rooting for a Just Outcome or just An Outcome?"
  • "It might have one of the best looking sets on TV but the game play is quite bland despite a medley of a dozen elements. McIntyre hosts really well though."
  • "I didn't expect to learn a new rule each week! The number one thing in pitching a quiz show these days is simplicity. Blimey, decent celebs week to week though."

1 - The Chop

And finally your worst show of the year probably received more votes than viewers, but the slow-motion car crash of Sky belligerently defending having a contestant with racist tattoos by insisting they weren't (highlight: they were a tribute to his dead dad. Days later: "I'm not dead".) is a fundamental lesson in a) not rushing your background checks and b) knowing when you've been caught out and accepting it with grace. You'd think being for a history channel someone would have spotted something.

  • "I do feel a bit bad putting this in here, but the casting of that guy was such an almighty balls up (and the doubling down from Sky suggesting that it was fine) that it sort of feels there needs to be some sort of historical record."
  • "A decent show with two great hosts ends up being one of the biggest turkeys in years, because of the producer’s maddening refusal to acknowledge their wrongdoing."
  • "It goes to show how important and underrated casting is as a job."
  • "I really dont think the racism controversy helped but I just found it a little bit boring."
  • "Didn't see much of it, but woodworking and TV don't go well together."
  • "One of its contestants sported white supremacist tattoos. And that's it."

And lots of short comments to that effect.

New Media FIVE for 2020

Or The Online Five or Non-linear Five, online shows and formats exploded under lockdown as you'd expect as everyone and their pets started their own podcast and streamed on Twitch. And unexpectedly some of it has been quite good! We're still getting our head around what we're happy to include in this, although happily we don't think there are many arguments about the validity of these choices:

5= The Floor is Lava (Netflix), No More Jockeys (Youtube)

Two shows on the very opposite ends of the budget scale, one a decently sized studio-based obstacle course show where you shouldn't touch the floor (that's The Floor Is Lava), the other a hit Zoom-based Youtube game of wit from the old We Need Answers team of Mark Watson, Tim Key and Little Alex Horne.

On The Floor Is Lava you said:

  • "Such a silly show, yet very watchable, great that they managed to make each episode feel fresh even though it was slight variations of the same gimmick. The one problem I have is that I can't stop singing the title of the show to the tune of "She Drives Me Crazy" since I somehow managed to link the two."
  • "A huge favourite with the wean who has spent most of the year since renacting it at home!"
  • "I watched a few episodes of this during lockdown and laughed like a drain. That may have said more about the situation than the show, mind."

And on No More Jockeys:

  • "Is No More Jockeys the greatest folk game of the 21st Century? The simple answer is yes, and even if Alex Horne, Tim Key, and Mark Watson weren’t being hilarious throughout each episode of No More Jockeys, the game is *so* strong it would still be worth watching. A panel show worthy of sports analysis, I’ll be surprised if we don’t see this game at least attempted on television in the next twelve months."
  • "This is technically a revival as I'd seen the original No More Women videos around the We Need Answers era, but it's good to see this simple parlour game getting restaged in much bigger form for 2020, and creating its own cultural universe (e.g. 'job gloves') in the process. Could run and run for as long as the leads can find time to reconvene, and easily adaptable for home play."
  • "Would vote for this five times if I could. A comedy game where the game actually matters. Charming, fun and has quickly become its own beast with in jokes and storylines."
  • "Never let it be said that Alex Horne is a one-trick pony, NMJ is a solid gold format. I don't mind it at all."

4 - Fingers on Buzzers (Podcast)

A great year for Jenny and Lucy with some quality guests and the start of their live shows, which you'd assume there would have been more of if there wasn't a pandemic on.

  • "Doing sterling work in 'normalising' game show fandom."
  • "Lots of fun here, if anything they’ve given us more content and interesting guests since the pandemic than before!"
  • "A great podcast for fans of the quizzing world. Jenny and Lucy are excellent together and some of the guests and insights they've given have been really fascinating."

3 - Disconnected (Youtube)

One of this year's offerings from the Tom Scott/David Bodycombe house, it was a short bluffy quiz which showed a very exciting new potential production technique AND actually featured some Youtubers we had heard of, incredibly.

  • "I am always ready for more Tom Scott game shows, and Disconnected’s format did not disappoint. The set was splendid, and the game itself a neat idea. It did suffer a bit from contestants not quite getting the concept of bluffing, something that would hopefully be sorted for a second run. Disconnected didn’t quite reach the high-highs of Lateral, but it was certainly one of the best things on YouTube last year."
  • "Another winner from Tom Scott, and in addition to a fine quiz its studio also showcased a way that future programmes could use a relatively small space quite effectively - something that broadcasters, hungry for high volumes of content at relatively little cost, will no doubt take notice of!"
  • "Very nice, not over complicated, definitely feels like something you could play yourself amongst friends on a road trip or some such fantastical situation where you can spend time with pals."
  • "Great little format, lovely little show - kinda sad they missed the opportunity to do a Russian-Roulette-Style exit gag though."

2 - Royal_flush's Game Night (Twitch)

1 - Ash the Bash's Quiz Night (Twitch)

We're putting both of these together as they're different but connected. Both have done a sterling job on keeping us occupied several nights a week with massively multiplayer versions of TV quiz and game formats and their own ideas, we're big fans of Dangerzone and The Escape Artist on Royal Flush's channel and try never to miss a game of Outright and Wipeout on Ash's channel. Ash probably got a few more votes for his incredible marathon 500 Questions stream which became the endurance contest it could never actually have been on TV.

  • "The Escape Artist - Royal_Flu$h on Twitch. A little overcomplex for TV, but an innovative game with brilliant choice of sound design."
  • "Dangerzone: A properly engaging format that takes advantage of its medium. Fantastic."
  • "OutRight may be the single most stressful gaming experience I've had all year!"
  • "OutRight. What The Bank Job should have been."
  • "Same comments for both these streams, I love the interactivity of the games and some of the new formats they've come up are truly ingenious. The Purge, Escape Artist, Dangerzone, Outright are all excellent. A special shout-out too for Ash's '500 Questions', a show I personally loved and the marathon stream was an excellent watch."

A full list of nominated shows will be listed on Bother's Bar for you to peruse and explore at your leisure.


The biggie, we suppose, as it's open to any show that's been a going concern in the UK in 2020 and we can EXCLUSIVELY reveal the top five are exactly the same as last year EXCEPT in a slightly different order. It's a bit more interesting bubbling under though.

5 - Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

A show that's weathered COVID quite well, it replaced Ask the Audience with a second Phone a Friend which feels fairly logical. It also doesn't hurt that it's happy to actually give away money, with its first million pound winner of the new era.

  • "Too many contestants left halfway up the money tree during 2020, but it's still high drama from about £64k onwards, and of course the show gave us one of the moments of the year."
  • "Probably the year the Clarkson Era came of age. The lack of audience saw him stop mugging to the crowd and get lost in the joy of being a proper host - including that Million Pound Moment."
  • "Still the king of the quiz show in my opinion, Jeremy Clarkson's style is great and although it was spoiled, Donald Fear's million pound win was great to watch."
  • "Still a brilliant format after 18 years on our screens (would you believe it). Jeremy Clarkson is becoming less Jeremy Clarkson on it as the show goes on but it's still good. Oh, and they're actually giving out anything from £1,000 to - as we finally saw this year - £1,000,000 instead of the £8,000 after £8,000 after £16,000 I thought we'd get once again. Wish they'd use the full theme though."

4 - The Chase

Down two places from last year despite in actual fact hitting its biggest ratings ever (not bad for a show that's eleven years old), the show's few concessions to COVID being perspex panels between the contestants and a slightly bigger desk. More exciting is the inclusion of new Chaser Darragh Ennis and successful spin off Beat the Chasers. All shows have a shelf life, it doesn't look like The Chase is getting near its yet.

  • "It goes from strength to strength as it had record viewing figures apparently, plus it now has a 6th chaser (Darragh 'The Menace' Ennis) as well as a spin off 'Beat The Chasers'. Oh lets not forget Bradley's usual fits of laughter to some questions!"
  • "It just keeps on delivering, the final chase can still be one of the most exciting things on TV, and Darragh 'The Menace' Ennis is a great addition that still keeps the format fresh."
  • "Keeps going from strength to strength. The addition of Darragh to an already strong lineup has given the show a fresh lift. A modern evergreen format."
  • "It's been going over 10 years and it still doesn't feel like it's gone past its peak. May it continue to fly high"

3 - Taskmaster

The show in the Golden Five that probably had the most to prove this year - a change of channel from the depths of cable to a proper traditional terrestrial one, COVID giving the studio a slightly weird air with everyone sitting apart and no audience to bounce off (the laughter was recorded showing it to cinema audiences) and some tasks filmed by different people either side of the main lockdown. Nonetheless it's been successful for Channel 4 although whether it's as successful as they hoped it would be remains to be seen - they're contracted for six runs regardless. You still liked it!

  • "Weathered a channel change and global crisis better than it had any right to, and I'd have voted for the NZ version as well if the damn laws allowed it."
  • "Even for the channel switch this year, they kept the format the same, despite the social distancing measures and no studio audience."
  • "While the big C19 did shake the format up, five years on and TM still manages to bring some of the biggest laughs on TV."
  • "Surprisingly large publicity campaign for this show by Channel 4 which pleased me greatly: this show is still good fun. I suspect Alex Horne's going to run out of ideas soon but I don't blame him. The show suits Channel 4 down to the wire."
  • "It survived the move to Channel 4! But at what cost? That is still to be seen I suppose, it’s hard to get a gauge on the new-and-improved Taskmaster without a studio audience to get an accurate feel, but I’m thankful we still got new Taskmaster in 2020 despite everything that was going against it. Sure it felt a bit off, but Alex Horne is still the most charming man in comedy, and Greg Davies the most intimidating-yet-cuddly, so it will surely be feeling like itself once again in 2021. Taskmaster New Zealand and the New Years Treat were welcome additions to the family, also!"

2 - Richard Osman's House of Games

Up two places on last year, this has done well for itself this year with record numbers and a BBC1 primetime spin-off and has proven pretty COVID proof.

  • "The inherent variety in the format, both in terms of rounds and competitors, keeps this show fresh and fun. 'Hidden in Plain Sight' and 'Sorry, Wrong Number' are my favourite new rounds. Long may it continue."
  • "Some inventive new games and the large bank of different ones they now have available help this remain a treat."
  • "Rapidly becoming one of our favourites. Some rounds better than others, a big fan of the horror celebs show at the Where is Kazakhstan? round!"
  • "Still enjoyable, nice to see it on Primetime BBC One, but think it would work better in Primetime as an hour long standalone."
  • "I know now this had already been around for 2-3 years, but 2020 was the first time I saw or heard of it due to having more time to watch things due to being at home more during the pandemic. I like it's clever & alternative style of quizzing and have become quite addicted to it. There should be a civilian version as I tend to do well whenever I play along and would possibly apply to be on the show."

1 - Only Connect


  • "I think each player having a separate buzzer has enhanced the game."
  • "Finally, the year I got a five point answer at home after a decade!"
  • "That feeling when you get a question right before the teams cannot be beaten. The question setting is of a consistently high standard and I can't think of another TV quiz that tests as many facet of the brain as this one."
  • "It's found a renewed confidence now it's settled on BBC Two, and seems to be getting cleverer and funnier. After so many series, I am surprised how few sequences feel tenuous or derivative - impressive question setting. But how long before the fourth answer in every sequence is "2020: Cancelled"?"
  • "A lot of shows have been affected - some more badly than others - by this year's situation, but aside from some barely-visible bits of perspex OC has pretty much continued along its merry way. The fact that they can still put together interesting and fun combinations after such a long time - from teasingly obscure links to those face-palmingly obvious when revealed - suggests there's still a lot of life left in the show yet."
  • "For precisely 30 minutes every week, I can forget about any and all stresses and horrors that this year has brought us, and attempt to (and usually fail to) figure out the incredibly creative puzzles. No other show on Telly can truly make you forget your worries, even if for such a short time. And for that, especially in 2020, I believe this show deserves its second straight year of this award."
  • "Still fast-forward the singing bits, though."

Bubbling under: 6 - Impossible, 7 - The Wall, 8 - Pointless, 9 - Tipping Point, 10 = Beat the Chasers, The Masked Singer


Finally your fave moments of 2020.

  • "Popmaster - 3 in 10 a contestant clearly googled the answer (was a big silence then rattled off three of the artist's more obscure hits in the final two seconds), much to Ken's bemusement. On the next day's podcast, Ken spends his opening link praising the virtues of search engines and how you can find anything on there, such as obscure hits of said artist. No link unfortunately sorry!"

Thanks very much for all these, two more to come though that lots of people put down - one a tale of a big winner and one a tale of big loss...

  • "Donald Fear winning £1 Million on WWTBAM?"
  • "First winner of Millionaire in 14 years, though it's a shame it didn't happen with an audience."
  • "I mean is it even close this year? Easily the best moment was Donald Fear winning the Million Pounds whilst only using 1 lifeline. Whilst it was a shame it was spoiled ahead of time it was still amazing to see. "
  • "Jeremy Clarkson, despite lockdown and lack of audience, genuinely made the £1m win feel special. Not like the deflated equivalent win on the US celeb edition later. And Donald Fear's performance was magnificent."
  • "Donald Fear's big win on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. A very well-deserved win and, to top it all off, I'd have actually won the million myself for once - huzzah!"
  • "Michael McIntyre's off-script destruction of his own format when no-one won any money on The Wheel."
  • "Nobody wins The Wheel and Michael McIntyre goes nuts, Tony Blackburn gets sacked, and everyone feels sorry for Barrie."
  • "Michael McIntyre's rant when no-one won on an episode of The Wheel - "It says on the autocue, "thank you to the celebrity experts," but I'm not sure I should read that!""
  • "Michael McIntyre's glorious rant after nobody won The Wheel, including poor Barrie who did all the hard work! "This show is supposed to raise the mood of the nation... this is worse than Newsnight!""
  • "Loved the third episode (if memory serves) - with Michael's rant about nobody winning. It was tongue-in-cheek but really enjoyable."

Alright, now what?

Thanks everyone for a record breaking year in terms of ballots and congratulations to the TV industry for giving us things to watch under the most difficult of circumstances. If you want statistics, turn over now to Bother's Bar for the Afterparty with Mo Gilligan and Rylan probably and we'll see you all next year.

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