Weaver's Week 2002-04-20

Weaver's Week Index

20th April 2002

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

In the week when research showed game show channel Challenge TV attracted a greater audience share than the general entertainment BBC Choice, this happened:

- People stood on a log

- Yet more news about WWTBAM

- People are still standing on a log


Leicester 62 -v- Somerville Oxford 02

Leicester was the original champion team, back when Thumper was still in short trousers. All the questions were arts and classics, as sciences had not been invented. In those days, three wins were required to progress to later stages: the knockout draw was also yet to be invented. Madeline Moore was offered a contract to record "I'm a Clever Clogs" - the novelty hit for someone who could not sing was already common. For Somerville's record, consult previous editions of this column. Including "1729" "Blimey, yes."

Inigo Jones, plate tectonics, politicians being rude. Is there nothing Somerville doesn't know? They lead by 95 points after four starters. By the pictures (internal organs of a mouse), it's turning into a bit of a rout, Somerville leading 140-(-5). Though Leicester gets one question correct, Andrew confuses Beethoven with Tchaikovsky to let Somerville extend the lead beyond 200.

After this, it's not so much a case of who will win, but whether the lowest scoring records will be broken. Lowest score ever (20) is passed when Leicester goes 3/3 on cheap wines. Surely this is not from experience! Lowest score in the revival (currently 35) is bettered with the Labour Party manifesto in 1983 moments later.

Somerville's lead goes back past 200 with a series of engravings of explorers. The team passes 300 with a series on warships. This is the week when Naomi Campbell appeared on UC - as an answer, not a contestant. Leicester moves into three figures with a minute to play, but the gap is just too big to close. Somerville runs out the winners, 345-120.

Sirola top scored for Somerville, just ahead of Austen. Captain Geoff Ford led for Leicester. The bonus record of both sides is excellent: Somerville took 37/48 bonuses, Leicester 13/18.

After four shows, the finals board is beginning to take shape:

345 Somerville 02

240 Imperial 96

225 Trinity Ca 95

205 Merton Ox 81

200 Lancaster 80

180 Bradford 80

175 New Ox 64

120 Leicester 62

Next week: Sidney Sussex Camb 72 -v- University Oxford 73


Last week, the tribes merged.

Formerly North island

+ Alistair, 34, Motherwell. Too smarmy for his own good

+ Drew, 27, Abingdon, female. Very good under water

+ David, 54, Newcastle. Token old bloke

+ Helen, 22, Sheffield. Blonde

Formerly South island

+ Bridget, 42, Oxford. Catches chickens

+ John, 32, Winchester. Anodyne

+ Jonny, 30, Edinburgh. Jovial chap

+ Susannah, 27, Wimbledon. Also good under water

This week's reward challenge is a game called Broken Spears, in which contestants try to talk other contestants out of (er) breaking each other's spears. It is clearly so dull that it gets less than 90 seconds on air, breaking even SHAFTED's record as ITV's shortest-lived game show. Drew wins, but her reward is unclear.

Back at the camp, the chicken is causing friction. As in, should they kill it? Suze spots this is putting Bree at a disadvantage, and playing into the troika of Alistair, David, and Drew. Jonny and Suze take Bree to one side for a quiet word.

Is it time for the Great Standing On A Log Game yet? Yes, it is. Everyone notices that Alistair does nothing round the camp before climbing aboard. Last year, Andy won after an amazing 23 hours. This year, who can keep their balance? Dave can't - he's in the drink almost before the challenge begins, and enjoys a meal with Big Mac. Suze goes after 1h25, and night falls with six on the log. The director accurately shows a crone moon rising; Helen and Bree leave before long.

Four remain well into the night. Hour nine, and the logmates are wondering how they'll be presented on television. On prime time, but only if they're lucky. Hour fourteen, and John, Jonny, Alistair and Drew are getting wet. Very wet. Because it's raining, and they're standing on a log. Hour sixteen, and Dawn creeps over the horizon. Will she be the key to someone's glory? It won't be Suze who slays the others, she says ta-ra after 17h15.

Oh, will this rain never cease? Jonny is going for the whole day. What if they're still there when it's Council time? That's tonight. Only twelve hours away, if that.

The sun comes out, and it gets real hot, real quick. On shore, Helen and Bree bond over their suntans. Alistair and the Johns plot against the tanned pair, but no one is sure if Bridget's vote can be delivered.

Day two, and the negotiations have a result: Jonny will take immunity; Alistair and John will attempt to deliver their tribes, and dive in. Jonny sticks out for a few minutes more, the record for standing around on a log is 1 day, 6 minutes.

Alistair leads the smear campaign against Bridget, saying she reckons the chaps are all coming off, one by one. At council, Alistair is wearing a t-shirt with the number 3 on it. In quality drama, t-shirts with the number 3 are always significant.

We see three from South vote for Helen, but Jonny is voting "for tactical reasons." The vote is tied. The two have a chance to address the others - Bridget plays to her undoubted honesty; Helen to the way she has no airs and graces. In the re-vote, it's still a tie. So the game suddenly turns into a quiz between Helen and Bridget. Bree knows that quinine bark stops malaria, Helen reckons it stops itching, and must leave the show.

Having a tiebreaker is needed to prevent a stalemate, but after just one re-vote strikes me as a bit too soon.

Next week: Hunt the Spider, and an obstacle quiz through gruel. Looks like the BBC Canteen has been working overtime.

This week's edition of the hit reality show no one's watching attracted 5m / 23% - the best ratings of the series so far, and the first time the show has won its entire time slot. It's still below par for ITV prime time, though.


Government learning initiative learndirect will sponsor next autumn's run of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, the hit quiz show that no one's axing. The sponsorship deal will run for the length of next autumn's run, from September to Christmas. Teachers' unions were on the warpath - the head teachers' union said, "This is an unbelievable decision," while a classroom union's head said, "I can't quite see the point of this." They weren't pleased about the government promoting its educational access initiative, either.

The daily comedy sheet, the Daily Mail, claimed, "The sponsorship is paid to ITV, which in turn uses the money to fund some of the contestants' winnings. Further money is earned from the telephone calls made to enter the competition." My understanding is that Celador funds the vast majority of the prizes from the premium rate calls, and tops up the pot if and when required. The regulations allow sponsor money to defray the costs of production, suggesting that it's theoretically possible that some of it will end up in the prize fund.

Speaking of Celador, two episodes of BRITAIN'S BRAINIEST still languish in the ITV in-tray, along with almost four months of SHAFTED! Under construction is a second show of BRITAIN'S BRAINIEST KID - if you, or a goat you know, wants to apply, call 0845 605 2001, or write to Britain's Brainiest Kid Pack, PO Box 30778, London WC2E 9BY. Applications must be in by June 28, and potential contestants must be no younger than 11 and no older than 12 on August 31.

Daphne Fowler, winner of every quiz on television apart from MILLIONAIRE, popped up in Wednesday's papers, saying she was offered £200 by a Millionaire contestant she'd never met to be her Friend To Phone. Fowler said she saw no reason - other than price - to refuse an offer from a potential Millionaire contestant. Celador knows of other contestants who have never met their "friends", but says any financial arrangements are outside its control.

The follow up to POP IDLE will be on air, but not till the end of the year. POP RIVALS will put ten people in two bands, which will both make singles, and release them in the same week. The one that reaches #1 that week will win. Note that the cost of voting in the final of POPSTARS was 0p, as the public had no say in the line up. The cost of voting in POP IDLE was 10p. The cost of "voting" in POP RIVALS will be at least £3.99. Note also that Simon Cowell and Nigel Lythgoe will not be appearing. I've not received confirmation that Dr Fox (he's not a real doctor) will also be unavailable. And note that if the groups release their records in the same week as the new Robbie Williams single, Robbie will take the #1, there will be no winner, and the whole thing will have been one humungous waste of time.

Perry Vale writes: Remember Eden, the game show in which the viewer plays a stunted deity? Cliona won it, in a national blaze of indifference.

C4's BANZAI has sold one episode to Japan, with a possible larger order to follow. In related news, the Japanese football side Grampus 6 intends to buy and then sell Ashley, Andy and Joe Cole to Newcastle Utd.

In France, the second series of LOFT STORY began last week. As Monsieur Bentley would put it: Journee deux. C'est le jeu des imitations pour les lofteurs.


The very last Generation Game with Jim Davidson airs at 1730. It's a "best of" from this year's series, lasting for 55 minutes. Jet Set and Waiting Game follow in the same slots as last week. How come BBC1 is keeping the same schedule for three weeks?

Survivor returns to the usual 2145 slot. Survivor:Raw airs Saturday 1720, Sunday 1415 and 2330, Wednesday 0050 and 2335, Friday 2030

Family Fortunes returns daily to ITV at 1200 (but check regional listings.) The other dailies - The Enemy Within and Wipeout on BBC1, Dirty Money on Sky 1 - continue.

A new series of children's game 50/50 begins 1610 Monday on BBC1.

S-for: This week's Smart Alec is Esther Rantzen.

The TV Chef's Special edition of Weakest Link tries again at 2000 Wednesday. It was due to air the day the Queen Mother died. There's no WL Daily on Wednesday.

The Race moves to 2350 Thursday - this week visits Peru and features the most unfortunate carnival ever.

Radio listeners may want to bend an ear to Culshaw, Ravens, and the rest of the DEAD RINGERS cast. They do a mean Anne Robinson. 1830 Friday, 1230 Saturday, Radio 4.

To have Weaver's Week emailed to you on publication day (usually Saturday), receive our exclusive TV roundup of the game shows in the week ahead, and chat to other ukgameshows.com readers sign up to our Yahoo! Group.

Back to Weaver's Week Index

A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in