Weaver's Week 2001-01-30

Weaver's Week Index

30th January 2001

Iain Weaver reviews the latest happenings in UK Game Show Land.

Perhaps this is the week that Millionaire finally jumped the shark. (see: www.jumptheshark.com) Drafts of Saturday's schedules showed a Millionaire Marathon, running through from 7:55 to 10:15. That transpired to be a fib, covering up the finale to ITV's Popstars (see: Making the Band). But 140 minutes of Millionaire is a *lot* in one go. Probably too much.


I don't know if Sheffield, Leeds or Bradford have ever met before. This is certainly the first time that Sheffield and Hull have been involved in a Battle of Yorkshire, as Hull has only been in Yorkshire for the past few years.

Like their first round, Sheffield races to a quick start, leading 105-25 at quarter distance. Then the comeback starts, with the lead cut to 140- 125 by half way. Hull take a slight lead, 185-180 with five minutes left, only for Sheffield to pull ahead with 90 seconds left. The sides trade leads during the remainder of the game; the gong goes at 240-240 with Sheffield losing three bonuses. The tie-break starter goes to Hull.

Apologies for claiming young Stainer (last week's update) studied at Queen's Belfast. It was, of course, Oriel Oxford. I can only go on what Chris "There are other quiz shows on a Monday night? Really?!" Tarrant implies. He would win the Peter Mandelson award for slight inaccuracies... but we don't wanna give him *that*.


I had the misfortune to watch "Jet Set" last week. The format strikes me as half-way decent for a daytime show, but unsuitable for a prime-time audience. Perhaps have a daily edition, with top prize growing from a weekend on a country mansion, to (say) the Med after a week, and a round-the-world trip after 20 wins. Yes, it's the Wonder Wall prize list back again. Roll on the return of Winning Lines...


Midweek repeat of The Mole shifts to Tuesday night. Set time in the pub accordingly.

Week Four on The Mole, and who are the Suspicious Seven: Zi Khan, male, 32, restauranteur, Doncaster Jennifer Waller, 37, medical rep, Darlington John Church, company director, 53, London Jo-anna (Jo) Corlett, 34, artist, Isle of Man David Buxton, 35, of black-sheep.com, London Sara Lee, 24, financial recruitment, Droitwich Oliver Norman, 22, trainee lawyer, Glasgow

Yes, I've done the homework, and found David Buxton listed as a contact on the Contacts page of black-sheep.com. He's genuine, at least from that POV, and Paul's suspicions were a little out.

On my theory to look out for games easily tilted to the mole, the tilt of the week came in the opening minute. The choice of teams - they won't re-unite till the finish.

John and Ollie go to sea, as sea-scouts. Come to them later.

Challenge 10: The rest are on a fishing trip - Jennifer, Zi, David go out to deep sea fish, five miles offshore, fishing with rod and line. Sara and Jo shallow fish, hauling heavy pots from the sea bed. Between them, the two teams have three hours to catch 7kg of fish.

"Heave! Heave!" go Sara and Jo, just like the mice from Bagpuss. It's an exhausting task for trained sailors, and it's no wonder that Sara and Jo are flagging after two hours. Jo praises Sara highly. The deep sea squad are less happy to go touching their fish, leaving it all to Zi. He's not happy about that at all.

Results: Deep sea squad: 6.5 kg; lobster potters: 5.75 kg. Winners all round.

Challenge 11: Ollie and John have to construct an overnight shelter for five people from equipment provided. They're not doing well. At all. John keeps pulling down the shelter. Ollie seems to be letting him. Does either have the faintest of a clue? No, basically. Somehow, they manage to get something up. John claims it's a good job. Not really.

Ollie and John join Glen on the boat overnight. Our fab fishers have to spend the night on the island, with the fish they caught earlier and the luxury hotel constructed by Bob and Diggy - er, Ollie and John. However, the group also has a phone. One of them can call for rescue, and secure safe passage to the next episode. If no-one does, and they're all there at dawn, £10,000 in the kitty.

Sara's cooking is popular - is there *anything* she can't do? David and Sara split the mobile phone - he has the battery, she has the case. Zi is unhappy, but does have a change of clothes. Jo has the Pocket Survival Handbook in her rucksack. None of the group is happy that the champagne got drunk by John and Ollie. Hope they left the chocolates.

There's a recap of the week's events. Jennifer - is that the best you can do, producers? No evidence. Oliver - socks, the maze u-turn, the food game. David - again the wine, losing it in the rally. Zi - the wrench Sara - what happened at the golf? Jo - took the rap for the hostage. John - where is he going in the hostage, who founded the zoo, and speaking out of turn in the food challenge.

5am. Sunrise. Two hours to go on the island, and they're all still there. More fish, anyone? Anyone care to knock down Hotel Splendide? Cue the yacht! £10,000 in the kitty.

Challenge 12: Get off the island. Reach the boat within two hours without getting wet above the waist within two hours. Jo and Jennifer are prone to decline, but come round. The team has to search for things on the island.

Zi has found an inflatable boat. Heavy, and with a number of large rips. Sara has found glue, requiring 12 hours to set. Jo ignores the "apply to dry surfaces only" instruction. Another hole, but they're going to go anyway. The theme from Hawaii 5-0 plays. I think the "It's A Knockout" theme would be more appropriate. "Oh! It's shipping water! It's getting wet! Ha ha ha ha ha! They're at the boat! They're on the boat! They're on the boat!"

Another £5,000 in the pot, bringing the total to £70,000.

Nominations, with survivors from previous weeks also noted.

Zi - Oliver [John]

Jennifer - Zi, clothes [Zi, Zi]

John - Not enough evidence [Zi]

Jo - John, over David and Ollie

David - Zi, he must have camped [Zi]

Sara - Zi, camping [Oliver, Zi, David]

Oliver - Zi and John [John or Zi]

Lots of votes for Zi. He and Jo look most at risk. Zi survives. So does Jo. It's goodbye to John. Being apart from the group has done him no favours.

10: Again, Sara proves she's braver than she looks. Putting a live lobster between her legs... move on. Zi is squeamish about his fish; maybe this is the limit of his bravery and bonhomie. Jennifer and David won't touch t he fish, though Zi was prepared to. I'll take no clues.

11: The mole would not make the call. They wouldn't need to - they have safe passage through to the finale, and this would be attracting too much attention. Ollie knows a lot about the challenge awaiting the others - has he been primed in advance, or just by the producers en route to the island.

12: Good team-work all round, calculated risk-taking proves a good result.

Conclusion: John is not the mole. This is also evidence against Oliver being the mole, as John's had most chance to observe him at close quarters. I'm still suspicious that Sara is too good to be true, but Zi seems to be making things up as he goes on. Jennifer has had a very quiet week, which would fit in with my theory that the mole will start quietly. Zi over Jennifer and Sara for my money.

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