That's the Question



Sarah Cawood


Intellygents in association with 2waytraffic for Challenge, 14 May to 22 June 2007 (30 episodes in 1 series)


Those 2waytraffic people, eh? They churn out very dependable shows. Shows based on decent ideas. Shows that aren't broken. Shows that, basically, aren't very exciting. Brainteaser? Take It or Leave It? Television wallpaper really, albeit quite nice wallpaper - perfectly functional, plays a decent game, cheap to make. And when they came up with Big Brother they quite literally came up with television wallpaper. So what's That's the Question like?

The set is very stark - the show appears to have been filmed in a vacuum and there's a rather unsettling empty atmosphere about the whole thing. The show was filmed on the original Dutch set in Hilversum using expats living in the Netherlands as contestants.

The game itself is simple - there's a hidden question (normally written in a longwinded fashion) and depending on the round a hidden answer. On their turn a player pushes a button to stop lights dancing across the empty spaces, they then get asked a question, and a scrambled answer appears on the screen with one fake letter. If they get the question correct, all instances of the fake letter in the scramble is filled into the question and the player scores a point. If they got it wrong, the hidden question is still filled but there is no score. After they've answered correctly, they can reveal that they think they know what the hidden question is for a bonus.

In round one the contestants are given a hidden question and the answer to the question. The contestants answer questions in turn scoring one point for each instance he fake letter appears in the hidden question. Correctly identifying the hidden question earns a five point bonus. There is usually time for two hidden questions.

In round two the contestants are given the hidden question but they are also given a hidden answer and they must come up with both question and answer (which is also filled in in the same style). Each fake letter is worth two points, and each correctly identified hidden question and answer is worth a ten point bonus. Whatsmore, as long as you keep supplying correct responses, you stay in control of the game. Again, two hidden questions seem to be the norm here.

The person with the most points after this round goes through to the final where they play for a lifechanging £500. Their points are converted into time - seemingly a second a point. They are now playing to fill in a hidden question against the clock and this time the answer is not filled in. Once again the player is invited to stop the flashing lights to determine what will get filled in and is given word scramble questions. If correct they fill in and he can move on, if not he must stay on that letter until he gets it correct. At the end of the time, he has ten seconds to give the question and the answer.

Apparently there's also a Superfinal where the high scorers come back to battle it out for £1,000 but it's not really explained very well.

Sarah Cawood is surprisingly stilted. [A contestant identifying himself as "Paul" tells us "Sarah Cawood was very sick during the recording, perhaps accounting for her performance." - Ed.]

It's a dependable show based on a decent idea, isn't broken and isn't terribly exciting. But you know, it's perfectly functional, plays a decent game and is quite clearly quite cheap to make. Unfortunately it didn't do well enough for Challenge, and a second series wasn't commissioned.


Intellygents produced by 2waytraffic.


The original Dutch version of the show (oddly produced by EO, a predominantly religious broadcaster) can currently be seen on the international Dutch/Flemish television station BVN (if you have the technical know how to turn your satellite to the 19.2 Degrees East position).

See also

Weaver's Week review


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