Weaver's Week 2001-12-24

Weaver's Week Index

24th December 2001

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

This week:

- Anyone for BB3?

- New shows for the new year

- Your incomplete Christmas television guide


Second round, match 5: [#1] Somerville Oxford -v- Durham [12] Somerville looks a good bet.

Somerville won the very first match of the season, back in July. Back when BIG BROTHER and SURVIVOR were still on the air. They beat Hull, 300-185. Durham knocked off York in late October.

Somerville goes 0/3 on self-help books, but keeps buzzing, and keeps buzzing correctly. After the music round, they lead 160-15. Durham comes back in the third quarter, but it's never going to be enough. Tension comes from whether Somerville can top their season best 300, and whether Durham will pass 100. The final score: 290-100.

Hidden student indicator of the week: Somerville goes 4/4 on songs from musicals, even though they're embarrassed to know every answer. It doesn't matter how red your face, it's points on the board at the end of the show that count.

Star of the show is Somerville captain Tim Austen (116), but all four from that side beat Durham's best, John Harrison (45). Durham made 9/18 bonuses, scoring at least one from each set. Somerville got 28/48, including seven complete sets.

Next: [6] Downing Cambridge -v- Bristol [15]. This will air in the new year.


Speaking of BIG BROTHER, application forms for BB3 are now available at http://www.channel4.com/bigbrother/ and should be returned by February 8. Applicants should be available for "10 weeks in the summer." We also know that BB3 will not be at Three Mills in east London; planning permission for the house expired a few months ago, and it's now been removed.

Target Productions is hawking THE CHAIR around broadcasters. This is the show where contestants are wired to a heart-rate monitor and can answer questions only so long as their beats per minute remains at a low level. The Chair - a New Zealand format - has already been sold to France, Germany, and the US.

Nigel Lythgoe, the man responsible for GLADIATORS, POP*, and SURVIVOR amongst others, will move to the other side of the camera. He's hosting THE ENEMY WITHIN, in which one "contestant" has been primed with all the answers, and the others have to try to spot them and remove them. Lythgoe watchers may prefer to play another game... one US format, one Australian format, one British format made popular in Sweden, one Belgian format...


Another poor outing for WEAKEST LINK primetime. Just 4.3 million saw Wednesday's show, some way behind the specials and US versions that air on BBC2 at teatime.

THE RACE takes us from El Paso to San Fransisco. Via points are Las Vegas, where the teams must dress as Elvis and Marylin and perform, and witness a wedding; and Esalen, where the teams must strip and take the hot springs. Very cleverly, one of the teams manages to confuse a radio station into thinking they're on THE AMAZING RACE. Less cleverly, another team heads from Vegas to LA, thinking SF is just round the corner. It's not. That side has now failed to make four checkpoints on time, and may be sent packing early on the grounds of severe incompetence.

The 32nd FIFTEEN TO ONE grand final is won by a very familiar name to the winners' circle. Daphne Fowler retains the title she won over Easter, and has now won five trophies from the last four series.


With the Christmas schedules out, many of the regular shows are on hiatus, at unusual times, or experiencing "celebrity" "specials." There are no new episodes of UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE, THE BIGGEST GAME IN TOWN, or THE PEOPLE VERSUS. Your show-by-show guide:

BANZAI: C4 24th 10:05 (plus many airings and repeats on E4)

BRITAIN'S BRAINIEST... Kid, ITV 25th 1:30 (repeat); Taxi Driver 2nd 8

CATCHPHRASE: ITV 4th 5:05 (most regions)

COUNTDOWN: C4 24th 5:45; Series Final 25th 5:50; 26th 3:30; 27-8th 4:15; 31st 4; 1st 3:45; 2-4th 4:15


FIFTEEN TO ONE: C4 2nd-4th 3:45

FORT BOYARD: C5 22nd 6; "Celebs" 25th 7; "Celebs" 29th 6

FRIENDS LIKE THESE: Steps take on Damage, BBC1 22nd 6:15; regular 29th 6


JET SET: BBC1 22nd 7:50; 26th 7:50; 29th 7:35; 2nd 8:45

MILLIONAIRE: ITV 22nd 8:20; "Celeb" 25th 10:15; "Celeb" 26th 8:05; 29th 8:10 (35m) and 9:15 (30m)

OBLIVIOUS: ITV 24th 1:30

100%: Magic, C5 24th 1:30

THE RACE: ITV2, 27th 10 (1 hour); 3rd 10 (the 2 hour Grand Finale)

THE WAITING GAME: BBC1 22nd 7:10; 29th 6:55

THE WEAKEST LINK: BBC1 Television Presenters, 24th 5; 27th 12:55; 28th 12:40; 31st 1; 2nd 8 BBC2 First Round Failures, 25th 5:05; Unknown Special, 26th 5:15; Runners Up, 27th 5:15; Headliners, 28th 5:15; Drag Queens, 1st 5:15; Regular, 2-4th 5:15

Also... The 100 Greatest TV Treats Of The Year contains the *only* reference to BIG BROTHER this fortnight, C4 29th 9:15. And NOT ANOTHER GAME SHOW sees Angus Deayton be snobbish about my source material, BBC1 4th 9:30.

The usual Weaver's Week format is taking a two-week break; normal service will resume in the second week of January. Look out for two special editions: on Boxing Day, it's the review of the year, awarding plaudits and brickbats to the best and worst shows of the year. And on January 5, the much promised review of INTERCEPTOR, giving some historical context for the show.

Until then, let me take this opportunity to wish all of you the very best for the festive season, and all good thoughts for the coming new year.

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