Weaver's Week 2003-03-15

Weaver's Week Index

15th March 2003

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

On Tuesday fortnight, Anne Robinson will be nice. Whatever next?

NICKED! (Week Two)

This week, the biggest court case of the year (so far) has heard from:

Philip Davies, floor manager. "Someone coughing would usually try to stifle their sound."

Graham Whitehurst, contestant. "I was leaning forward glaring at Mr Whittock saying 'don't you dare, don't you dare'."

Paul Smith, Celador MD, the man who broke the news that the cheque would be stopped.

Eva Winstanley, researcher. "I mentioned that the PR manager would have to come and have a chat with him about what would happen from there. Mr Ingram said that he didn't want to see anyone, he just wanted to be left alone."

Chris Tarrant, host. "I have developed a strange, impassioned face that hopefully does not give them a clue to whether they are right or wrong. I cannot do that."

Charles Ingram, contestant. Trained by reading children's books.

Tecwen Whittock, contestant. Unfortunate allergy to dust.

A complete report will be posted to the website at the conclusion of the trial. The court heard that Celador is producing a documentary about this case, and hopes to sell it to ITV.


"If you're planning a takeaway tonight, don't. Give the money to us" - Antan Dec on Comic Relief.


Last week's second show saw Parents On Parade consigned to the dustbin of television history after one failed pilot edition. Its replacement, Down Your Street, sees a cameraman knock on someone's door, with the opportunity to win tickets for a future show. This feature was also an opportunity for all sorts of exhibitionists in the area to display their puny wares live on national television. The chance of inviting a pair of pensioners to the show is non-zero.

The second show also lost the Viewer Vote, of whether last week's shopper was a Winner or a Waster. Its replacement, a general knowledge quiz loosely based around some of the items bought, struck me as arbitrary and far too easy to rig one way or the other. On B&G FRIDAY, reviewing tapes from Monday, the shopper was still talking about items that would be judged, indicating that the rules had changed part way through the week. We don't like rules that change part way through the week.

With this quiz placed at the end of the show, comparisons with ANTAN DEC'S TAKEAWAY become clearer. Skits, audience competitions, and a big prize at the end of the show. The only thing B&G lacks: the good-natured humour of the Geordie gentlemen.

The mini documentary about the weekly shopping is turning out to be far more interesting than the show proper. This might not be good news for UMTV in the long run.

The viewing figures might not be good news, either: 1.2 million for this week's show. That's up from last week's 1.1m, but still no better than the "disappointing" average audience for WITHOUT PREJUDICE? in this slot during January and February. C4 suggested that it might move B&G to late Friday nights if ratings don't pick up soon. Could this be the biggest flop since SHAFTED?


A mistake in the live subtitles turns Cat Deeley (presenter of GIVE GENEROUSLY TO FAME ACADEMY) into Tam Dayell (veteran politician and inventor of the West Lothian question, to which the answer is 42.)


Fourth Quarter Final: Worcester Oxford -v- Leeds

Worcester has accounted for Liverpool and Newcastle in very short order. Leeds took out Liverpool John Moores by a mile, and Nottingham by a short nose. This should be a great match, hopefully better than Thumper's maths - he reckons Liverpool scored 132.5 in the opener.

Both sides have a tradition of great starts, and one of them has to lose that record here. Worcester preserves their start, a swift interruption on stilton (the cheese) ensures they take the first three starters.

(I haven't discredited Leeds' Kidd with a missignal on a starter regarding a Russian novel, as Thumper had just finished the question, and no announcement was made on screen. This does not affect the final result.)

By dint of answering "La Scala" to every shot of the interior of an opera house, Leeds goes 1/4 on the insides of opera houses. This has to be the most obscure and arcane set of questions this week.

Thanks to some useful buzzing, and a few missignals, Leeds briefly takes the lead just before the sound round. Game on! There hasn't been a single question on maths or physics to this stage for the second week running.

Worcester's Gordon errs in a Fastest Finger First music starter, allowing Leeds to pull away by 20. Good to hear the Andrews Sisters on national television again. Bad to see so many dropped starters - by this stage, 6 have been lost.

More missignals from Worcester, and Leeds looks like winning this by a canter, even if they can't recall the oxygen of publicity.

Three minutes, and Leeds' lead is 80. Finally, we get a maths question, the first in three weeks. It doesn't help Worcester's cause, there's too little time in the game. Leeds pulls further away in the final moments, winning 235-130.

Tumber 67 Ryan 48 Webb 85 Kidd 34

LEE 35 70 75 55 [235] 21/42 bonuses, 2 missignals
WOX 65 20 10 35 [130] 13/27 bonuses, 5 missignals
Murray 20 Gordon 20 Trevakoski 35 Owen 55

There were 300 points available on arts and literature questions - the teams combined to take 140 of them. Only 25 points were available on popular culture, and 20 on maths and physics.

Pop culture remains Leeds' strong suit, the team has taken 110/150 in that area in the three games. They've aggregated 0/60 on history. Worcester took 115/155 on politics and religion, and had an overall strike rate of 55.7%. Leeds' is 58.8% so far.

The draw:

Birkbeck defeated the LSE
Sheffield defeated Warwick
Cranfield defeated Durham
Leeds defeated Worcester Oxford

My predictions were uniformly wrong. I still don't think that the winner will be in action next week, but the prospect of a Sheffield -v- Leeds final has to have a lot going for it.


In response to your letters, here's an explanation of how the individual scores are measured:

The value of a correctly answered starter varies according to the number of bonuses correctly answered. A starter leading to three correct bonuses is worth 7 points; a starter leading to no correct bonuses is worth 10 points.

Each correct bonus question earns every team member 1.5 points, including the person who got the original starter.

A missignal loses 5 points from the person making the incorrect interruption. An incorrect answer that does not incur a penalty on the show does not incur a penalty here.

Questions left hanging at the end of the game are deemed to be wrong.

This system takes into account speed on the buzzer, and gives credit for people playing on teams that do well at bonuses. It's designed to discriminate between players at the top of their game, and doesn't give proper credit to those who buzz less, but contribute to the bonuses. Use this metric to choose between the top buzzers, not the bottom.

With that in mind, here's the stats for the Quarter Finalists, winners on the series and winners in my predictions.


219 Conway UCL

212 Skinner Warwick
211 Towner UCL
191 Grimshaw Sheffield
187 Lay Warwick
187 Marden Cranfield
182 Webb Leeds

181 Gillham Birkbeck
181 Gallivan Birkbeck


35.05% Marden Cranfield
34.41% Grimshaw Sheffield
32.21% Conway UCL
31.41% skinner Warwick

31.03% towner UCL
29.31% Joby Durham


Worcester Oxford (individual percentages range from 27.70% to 21.48%)
Leeds (28.74% to 21.81%)
Birkbeck (28.36% to 19.61%)


66.67% (61.40%) Cranfield, 2
66.34% (63.64%) UCL, 8

62.50% (45.53%) Warwick, 3
59.81% (59.82%) Birkbeck, 15
58.79% (46.90%) Leeds, 4
55.70% (52.85%) Worcester Oxford, 10
55.22% (40.74%) Sheffield, 5
54.97% (49.52%) Durham, 6

Strike rate: points scored divided by points available. A starter question answered by the other team does not count as available; a starter question answered incorrectly does counts as points available.


Well, my predictions for UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE were singularly rubbish. I managed to predict three sides that lost their games in regular time, and another that lost its game on a tie break. However, last week's column said about CELEBRITY FAME ACADEMY GO ON GIVE A PACKET YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO: "Our money's on Will Mellor to win the whole shebang." And the subsidiary TV listings said for Tuesday, "Isn't it about time Ulrika left the CFA house?"

Last Tuesday, Ulrika left CELEB ACADEMY, just as this column predicted. And last night, Will Mellor and Ruby Wax squared off in the BIG RED FINAL. The winner, just as this column predicted, was Will Mellor.


On MILLIONAIRE, a contestant was asked about The Quiet Man of politics. The answer, Iain Duncan Cough, has unfortunate connections to our lead story.

ITV is to axe CROSSROADS again. The soap, broadcast in the competitive 1700 slot, has been consistently beaten by children's favourite BLUE PETER, much to the amusement of Monkeyvision viewers. When Crossroads has been away, the slot between 1700 and 1800 has been part-filled by game shows.

The BBC finally gets round to putting on its version of MURDER IN SMALL TOWN X, the ill-fated Fox show from summer 2001. Ten amateur sleuths will try to track down the person responsible for a crime spree in darkest Essex. Conrad Green has reworked the show, putting a lot more emphasis on the investigation, and less time on the relationships between the detectives. THE MURDER GAME will come to BBC1, BBC3, and BBCi later in the spring.

The best audience yet for CELEBRITY FAME ACADEMY GIVE GENEROUSLY TO COMIC RELIEF. Wednesday's show, involving the last four, scored more in the 1900 slot than the grand final, involving half as many contestants and about a tenth of the ego, managed at 2230.

Our favourite station, Challenge?, held a CELEBRITY ADDICTS quiz night. The team from listings magazine TV and Satellite Week beat the team from LIQUID NEWS by one point. The £2000 prize went to charity.

It's the start of two weeks at the TECHNO GAMES on BBC2. Flipper Forrester leads the team seeking the greatest technological achievements, 1845 weeknights.

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