Weaver's Week 2003-05-10

Weaver's Week Index

10th May 2003

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

What happened when Antan Dec interviewed nine sausages live on national television this week? Which pop star with an unpronounceable name could go round a revolving door 33 and a third times? And what's this year's old new rule in the Big Brother house? All, some, or fewer of these questions are answered in this week's Weaver's Week.


Last August, we watched in amazement as eight slightly famous people spent two weeks in the Australian outback. When the confinement, hunger, and frustration got too much, the group started to turn in on itself. Who can forget the running feud between Tara Palmer-Tompkinson and Darren Day, egged on by Christine Hamilton? Or the way Rhona Cameron got herself so far detached from the rest of the group? Or the continuing battles between Uri Geller and reality?

After exporting the format to the US, (and ITV2 viewers can watch highlights of that show from Monday, if they must) Granada's now airing the second series. This time, ten minor celebs packed their luggage and headed off to the back of beyond. Two of the group were complete unknowns before they left, and after a fortnight watching the show, we still wouldn't recognise Mr Chris Bisson if he came into Chateau Weaver. If they're clever, or very, very lucky, one of them might come out ahead in public opinion when we look again at the end of the year. But there's no guarantee of that.

At the start, perhaps the only household names were Mr John Fashanu, a former host of ITV's GLADIATORS; Mr Wayne Sleep, a dancer; Ms Danniella Westbrook, a recovering acter; and Ms Toyah Willcox, a former punk. Mr Fashanu has been portrayed on ITV as a man interested only in his fitness, and on ITV2 as a well-rounded gentleman. He received the most votes for the Minor Torture section of the programme on three days out of seven, and host Antan Dec showed some frustration with the Grate British Public's lack of imagination.

Unlike the first series, this group has turned on the show producers more than on itself. Ms Westbrook has been shown on ITV as irredeemable, and on ITV2's unedited version as charming. She threatened to leave on the first Wednesday, and actually left on the following Sunday, only to be persuaded back into the show by worried producers.

Ms Westbrook finally left of her own volition on Tuesday, after the Grate British Public had voted Ms Sian Lloyd, a weathermodel, out first. Mr Antony Worral-Thompson, a chef, had led a drunken revolution the previous night, and threatened to spend the night in the camera crew's eyrie. He was eventually talked down with the promise of some deodorant. This made him the hero of the group on ITV2, but not on the primetime edit.

For the producers, the nightmare got worse. On Sunday, Mr Fashanu won nine meals for the ten campers. After a delay - partially caused by Ms Westbrook's brief exit - nine sausages were delivered. Mr Worral-Thompson, a chef, determined that this wasn't enough for a meal, and led the camp into open revolt. They took off their microphones, covered the cameras in the Diary Hut, and marched across the bridges to meet with the producer.

Faced with the prospect of a massive hole in the primetime ITV schedule for the next week, the producers caved in. Better to let the celebs have their way than risk airing the Monkey's top comedy output SHAFTED and CHUMS. The sausages came back, replaced by pieces of steak, and the crisis was defused.

Never before on a British constructed reality show has such open rebellion been broadcast as a highlight. Drew's mutiny on SURVIVOR PANAMA was carefully kept off screen, and only E4 viewers could see the complete collapse of order in the BIG BROTHER house before Sandy left.

Perhaps the CELEB producers learned something: three days later, two of the remaining contestants broke out of the official camp, and were punished by being docked two meals that night.

This column suggests that the best line of attack in such situations is to say nothing. Go about regular business, but do so in silence. A whole day where no one says anything makes for an interesting show. Two days becomes so boring that the producers will be worried.

It's a fitting tribute to this strategy that, when interviewed, the sausages said nothing, not even acknowledging the question posed by Antan Dec.

The rest of the results: Mr Bisson was voted out on Thursday, followed by Miss Catalina Gerispicehair and Ms Wilcox. Back in the out, Mr Fashanu, Mr Sleep, and Mr Worral-Thompson remain, along with Mrs Linda Barker, a decorator, and Mr Phil Tufnell, a cricketer.

Ms Westbrook got an extended interview with Mr Martin Bashir on Friday night, before the friend of Mr Michael Jackson continued his character assassination of the Nicked Three - this column reviews these latest claims next week.

Returning to the silence theme, Endemol confirmed that contestants on BIG BROTHER IV will not be allowed musical instruments, and will be "strongly discouraged" from singing. The company is worried that the copyright fees required for performances on television will prove so expensive that their utterly hugemungous profits will be reduced to merely very hugemungous. Maybe the contestants can use this as a line of attack, and stage Big Brother, The Musical Episode.


Fresh from creating hit show POP IDLE (back for a second series later in the year, and the lacklustre second US series grinds on on ITV2), Simon Fuller has an idea. Get one million people to call a number on their phones that allows them to take part in a quiz. That call costs one pound, and the prize fund is that pound times the million players, or One Million Pounds, Cash. Presumably, the broadcaster will fund the telephone operator's slice of the pie and other operating costs. The show would run over about six weeks, with later shows possibly taking place from the contestants' homes.

Channel 4 plans a hidden camera reality show in which contestants must play along with the humiliation heaped on them by a fake friend to win a £10,000 prize. MY NEW BEST FRIEND stars Mark Wotton. He takes on a different - but equally nightmarish - character in each episode to torment a member of the public who has agreed to take part in the show. Hidden cameras follow the duo as they spend a weekend together, and the fake pal is introduced to family and friends. The contestant must go along with whatever embarrassing situation Wootton puts them in to win the £10,000 prize.

In the pilot episode, Wotton announced during a family meal that the contestant had a secret love child. "Contestants are told only that someone is going to knock on their door and they have to go along with whatever happens. The best friends will be quite extreme characters," a Channel 4 spokey said.

My New Best Friend is being made by independent producer Tiger Aspect, the company behind JUDGEMENTAL and STREETMATE. Six episodes will be broadcast in the summer.

Back to C4, where SUPER HUMANS has launched its website, www.channel4.com/superhumans. It sounds like a return for THE KRYPTON FACTOR, with additional "emotional intelligence" rounds.


One point eight million viewers saw the world's worst news photographer clear one suspect, leaving just four remaining. For the contestants, Tweedledumb finally got his marching orders, leaving Tweedledim, Token Girlie, Nice Bloke, and Mr Popular. Tweedledumb reckons Jay did it, for no adequately explored reason. This column has a strong suspicion that his close friend and multiple Killer Game survivor Tweedledim will be this week's "lead" "investigator". That'll be a bundle of laughs.

One point eight million viewers is just twice the audience for THE MOLE. If the show carries on losing viewers at this rate, next week's grand finale will be watched by the BBC3-tastic non-total of Zero viewers.

Emphasised clues on TMG's digital plus service: the killer's video from week 1, the necklace, interest from the press, Goldie's kidnap email. This week's killer clue: the original design for the necklace, showing that a large diamond supported by two peacocks was missing. Was it also missing when Miss Prior had her date with the dividers?


April 25: Martin Clunes. Struggled bravely on through thin and thinner. Not as good as Angus.

May 2: William Hague: Well used to struggling bravely on through thin and thinner. His experience of fronting a shambles with three wheels falling off came in very handy. Not as good as Angus, but was entertaining.

May 9: Charlotte Church: Would have done well to shut up and let the rest of the panel get on with it. Not as good as Angus, really.


Six point eight million saw Gopherman almost trip over someone's leg live on national television, when he and Anne Robinson hosted the snappily named TEST THE NATION THE NATIONAL IQ TEST 2003. The results showed that a quarter of a million web players hadn't been practicing IQ tests during the last year, as the average results were down by approximately 3%.

In the rest of MILLIONAIRE update: Russell T Davies has the commission to screenplay NICKED for a television drama. Soft focus Mickey Mouse interviewer Diane Sawyer asked Ingram, Ingram, and Whittock to demonstrate their "coughing code" on US television. There's a great investigative show to be made about this case; neither Sawyer's nor Bashir's is that show.

Congratulations to Nancy Christy, who won a million on the syndicated US edition of MILLIONAIRE.

BIG BROTHER audition tapes begin to air at 0600 Monday on E4. The finale of CELEB is at 2100 Monday; the US edition begins at 2300 on ITV2.

Sky One airs THE TROUBLE WITH REALITY TV at 2200 Wednesday, featuring interviews with PJ from BB3, and (er) a couple of also-rans from POP IDLE.

And finally: Remember MR RIGHT, the UK version of THE BACHELOR hosted by Ulrika Jonsson last autumn? Confirmation of Miss Jonsson's victory this week: she's the one to marry Mr Wright.

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