Weaver's Week 2002-03-09

Weaver's Week Index

9th March 2002

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

In the week when Jessica Garlick set sail to become the most famous of the POP IDLE contestants by becoming the UK entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest, the following things happened:

- University Challenge's second semi final was a corker

- Celebrities appeared on Millionaire

- Channel 5 put more formats on the chopping block

- Nominations were in for la Rose d'Or.


[2] Imperial London will be in the final. One of these will join them.

[1] Somerville Oxford -v- Christ's Cambridge [4]

Interruption Of The Week

Thumper: Freetown, established in seventeen...

Chris Martin, CCC: Sierra Leone

After two penalties in the first four questions, CCC has a mountain to climb, trailing by 55 points. But that mountain is almost climbed; the lead reduces to 10 points, expands, and then shrinks to five during a run of three penalties in four starters no one gets. For the second week running, a bonus question is both read out and displayed on screen. In an amazingly bad piece of editing, a set of bonuses on amino acids is followed by .. a starter on amino acids.

Hidden Student Indicator Of The Week: CCC gets two esoteric questions on Christianity, but doesn't know the difference between Pentecost and Whitsun.

CCC takes a small lead going into the second picture round, but goes 1/4 on pottery marks, following the "It's Royal Dalton, Thumper" line of attack.

What a difference a medal makes. Thumper is surprised when Tim Austen (Somerville) figures out the origins of curling. After the winter Olympics, we're all experts on throwing rocks down the ice.

Somerville takes a slim lead with two minutes to play, but CCC pulls it back and we're headed for a frantic finale. The scores end level with seconds on the clock, Luke Pitcher knows that Cecil Day Lewis wrote some story or other, and Somerville has made the final. Phew!

SVO 60 70 0 50 (180)

CCC 25 60 70 15 (170)

In their quarters, the teams combined for no penalties. Somerville picked up 3 tonight, CCC 5. Pitcher's late late starter makes him the night's top scorer on 76, Martin makes 74, Austin 58 with all three penalties. Vicky Wood doesn't answer a starter for Somerville for the second straight round. Somerville took 17/30 bonuses, CCC 19/30. The interruptions killed them.

Oliver Lee is CCC's top scorer over the contest, making 287 points, just over 34% of the team total. For Somerville, Pitcher cuts Austen's lead to 12 points over the series.


Tarrant introduces the first couple, Davina McCall and Mr Davina McCall, Matthew. He runs through her list of game shows, the dating ones, the challenge ones, the ones based in an East London house. No mention of last summer's smash hit OBLIVIOUS. They take £16,000, after being unsure if Heracles killed the Hydra.

New SM:TV presenter James Redmond and his sister Kate raise £16,000, but get confused between the Four Pennies and the Four Seasons, and drop back to the grand.

Richard Keys (no knees) and Andy Gray make it to £8000, then call a friend. They think about ringing former England striker Alan Shearer, but decide to call Judith Keppell. You remember, the one who won a million. She spots the answer right away without hearing the options, the two somehow get through to £32,000, take the free shot, and walk with £64,000. They now know the heroine of LA TRAVIATA is Violetta, not Rosetta.

Davina's LITTLE BROTHER Dermot O'Leary and his father Shaun run through the seven wonders of the world while heading to £32,000. They're saving the audience for something bigger, but trip over the bishops who get to sit in the Lords. Without troubling the audience.

Kaye Adams (THE PEOPLE VERSUS II) and Ross Kelly (something else on the telly) reach £8000 when time expires. They'll be back on Saturday; once they've finished, Normal Millionaire Service resumes.


Some weeks ago, we reported that Channel 5 was trying to dispose of some used formats, moving away from its downmarket image. There was a lot of interested in an ad offering "One Melinda Messenger," but this swiftly faded when purchasers saw the words "and Leslie Grantham format." So far, no one has picked up such gems as GREED and FORT BOYARD. NIGHT FEVER could go if the price is right, said a 5 spokescolour, only for ITV to point out that *it* has THE PRICE IS RIGHT and isn't looking to sell. THE MOLE is also up for sale, causing mass booing and hissing from the stalls.

New head of entertainment Andrew Newman, responsible for inflicting the terminally unfunny Sacha Baron Cohen on an unsuspecting world, has commissioned a lot of ideas. "These shows may not be the next WEAKEST LINK, but we should give it a go. We'll throw a lot of mud at the wall and see what sticks." That's WHEN WED MUD DRIES, C5, Easter Monday from 10am and through the day.

According to reports in this week's Guardian, some of the new formats include...


"Experts in contrasting fields - such as a fan of Britney Spears and a professor of fine art - take a crash course in the other's specialism before being quizzed on their new knowledge." A quiz version of LIVING WITH THE ENEMY. Could be entertaining...


"Celebrities from the past pose questions via a video wall. Contestants pick a year and find themselves being asked about the Westland affair by Michael Heseltine or new romantic pop by Phil Oakey." Not to be confused with The Best Three Minute Endgame On Television. And probably not as much fun, either.


"A quick-fire quiz in which contestants must identify various 'top 10s', such as the top 10 chocolate bars of the 1980s, or Europe's top 10 beer drinking countries." I'm amazed it's taken this long to bring the party game OUTBURST to television.


"Teams from around Europe compete in made-up sports such as Babbage - where contestants have to jump into a pool from increasingly heights without immersing their heads; and Tennis Whack - where they hit a ball as high as possible while keeping their feet on the ground." Could this be NOUVEAUX JEUX SANS FRONTIERES? Je penses...


"Introducing people with odd talents, such as a farmer who can tell by look which of his 150 hens has just laid an egg, or a woman who specialises in crushing objects with her 57cm bust." Channel 5 is moving away from its downmarket image, and there's no place for freak shows under the new regime.


The Montreux Television Festival is the most prestigious in the world. Previous winners of the Rose d'Or for best entertainment include DE MOL and BIG BROTHER.

The UK entries for the Game Show category are:


THE PEOPLE VERSUS (Celador for ITV) - I assume this is the Kaye Adams rather cool remake, Kirsty's 2000 escapade being eligible for last year's rose.

BANZAI (RDF for Channel 4) - Double yay! If there's a possible Golden Rose winner for Best Entertainment Programme On The Planet amongst this lot, this is it.

SHAFTED (Initial for ITV) - I'd like to have more than four episodes to judge this. Hint.

MAKE MY DAY (Channel 4) - Please, tell me this is here to make up the numbers.

OBLIVIOUS (Tiger Aspect for ITV) - Is there any more barrel to scrape?

POP IDLE is an entry in the variety category. TEMPTATION ISLAND is a US entry.


No DOG EAT DOG this week, it's replaced by live football. Boo. JET SET airs at 7:35. CLASS OF... revisits 1987. It's the last episode of THE AMAZING RACE - set your video for 2:15 Sunday morning.

In THE RACE, the teams visit the Taj Mahal en route to Varanasi. Not one of the best episodes. 8:30 on ITV2.

The final of UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE Monday at 8. Imperial against Somerville. Just in case you'd forgotten.

According to my rusty old Radio Times, the Smart Alec in COUNTDOWN's dictionary corner is Andi Peters. Episodes from Tuesday to Thursday are 30 minute childrens' specials, and there's no FIFTEEN TO ONE. Dr Raj Persaud is Alec on Friday.

C4 premieres a topical game show on Friday night. In DOES DOUG KNOW, Daisy Donovan asks two teams of comedians what events the public thinks were most important this week.

The new series of SURVIVOR begins 9:45 Wednesday on ITV, after the football. The interview is at 11:05, after the news. During the news, there's a recap on ITV2's SURVIVOR:RAW (Ed Hall - no longer under X-FIRE, and Charlotte H) with the main show at the matchstick-curdling time of 11:35, running for 90 minutes. By the time it's finished, there will have been 3 hours 20 of Survivor stuff. See S:R again on Friday at 8:30 and the following Tuesday at 9. There's no narrative repeat on ITV.

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