Weaver's Week 2003-09-13

Weaver's Week Index

13th September 2003

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

This week's Week contains spoilers for those yet to see the Celebrity Millionaire specials, and last night's Grand Slam final.


The Final: Gavin Fuller -v- Clive Spate

Gavin Fuller answers the first question at a canter, Clive Spate gets his first one wrong, and then initiates a "Switch - Switch - Switch - Pass" move that leaves Gavin Fuller with play, but one extra switch. Gavin Fuller misses three of five in his last 30 seconds, but sneaks two answers in his last four seconds, including stopping his clock with 0.12 seconds remaining. Clive Spate still takes 9.6 seconds to the final. The question on screen for 0.24 seconds: In which TV sitcom did Prunella Scales work at Bygone Books?

Gavin Fuller is fairly racing off his blocks to the centre stage, Clive Spate a little slower. Filming stops for a producer's conference when Gavin Fuller suggests the Roman numeral for 49 is "IL" not "XLIX." There are no classical precedents to back Gavin Fuller here. This throws him, and he misses one question, and struggles over the next relatively easy one. In spite of this disadvantage, Gavin Fuller stays in contact through the round, stops his clock again with less than a second left, and restricts Clive Spate to 16.1 seconds. How close would he have come without that pause in the action? The question Nick Rowe didn't quite finish: How long is 7h14 - 3h20? Clive has now gone 37/37 on numbers questions.

Not entirely sure with the way Nick's rubbing in about the finalists at the start of every round. This week's keyword is "Grand." One question asks who said "We have become a grandmother," when the actual quote is "We are a grandmother". Not that this changes the result. Gavin Fuller is slowly pulling ahead, a fraction of a second per question. Clive Spate makes one mistake, a Switch-Switch-Pass sequence, one more error, and the round's over. Gavin Fuller has kept 14.5 seconds, Clive Spate's lead is 11.2 seconds.

"Contemporary" knowledge is a relative weakness for both competitors. Gavin Fuller drops three in a row, but his correct answers are coming more quickly. Clive Spate drops two in a row, and he's suddenly behind on the clock. Then he drops three in a row, and again has lost the round Gavin Fuller keeps 15.4 seconds, and we have a change of lead! This has only happened once in fourteen previous games!

Can Gavin Fuller keep up the momentum in Words? Well, no. He drops four in a row, including a spelling question, then another three in a row, and Clive Spate has the round by a stonking 32.5 seconds.

Clive Spate's final round lead, therefore, is 27.9 seconds. We're not going to get an upset win, especially after Gavin Fuller burns his last switch early in the round. He is eating into Clive Spate's lead, but he needs Clive Spate to make some errors. Clive Spate doesn't make errors, but does spend 11.5 seconds on the question "Which letter comes six before V," including a spell counting on his fingers. Clive Spate's final margin of victory is just 15.54 seconds, the closest match of the series.

Will we see a further full series of Grand Slam? Not without some surgery: at least do something to prevent multiple switches, accept that timing to 1/100th of a second is just not correct, and maybe divide by two the amount of time taken through to the final round. It would be a great format for a charity telethon, fitting in one round per hour through the night.


Those readers who have perused the archives on the UKGameshows.com website, or who have stuck around here since the beginning, may be aware that this column first cut its teeth by recapping the nightly transmissions of WWTBAM back in 1999 and 2000. To mark the fifth anniversary celebrations, here's a quick blast from this week's two shows.


First in the hot seat is David Edwards, the second person to leave Celador Towers with the seven-figure cheque back in April 2001. He's now retired from the teaching profession, and is joined in the Hot Seats by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, who we last saw slightly more than an hour ago presenting Junior Eurovision. Ms Palmer-Tomkinson is playing for Leukaemia Research, Mr Edwards for the Donna Louise Fund, building a hospice in his native Stoke-on-Trent. The dynamic duo reaches £8000 without breaking sweat, and with Tara clearly trusting David's judgement. We pick up at question nine.

£16,000: In which decade did the men's England cricket team last win an Ashes series?
A) 1960s B) 1970s C) 1980s D) 1990s

Tara has broken a nail, but does know it's a very long time ago indeed. David's not sure, but Tara knows a man who would know. They're hamming it up rather here.

"Who is this friend?"
"Gary Lineker."
"I have to tell you..."
"He's a footballer."

Gary picks up the phone and Tara shouts out "Hello, it's Tara here, and" Chris makes some incomprehensible noise, and explains the situation to Gary. "I hope it's football," says the former England football player. "It's in that sort of ballpark," explains Chris. Gary isn't sure, but he reckons it's the 80s. David suggests using the good old 50/50, and reckons it's a long time ago. He does remember when Mr Ian Botham single-handedly won the Ashes at Headingly.

After going 50/50, the remaining answers are: B) 1970s C) 1980s Tara is torn between David and Gary. "David said 70s, Gary said 80s, I'm going to do my nails." By working backwards from his own age, David works out Mr Botham is a little younger than him, and it was probably the 70s, but could be the early 80s.

Eventually, they decide to ask the audience. The audience says: B) 15% C) 85%. They're going to play, and they're going to play 1980s. "It's the right answer!" The Botham game was 1981, and England last won the Ashes in 1987.

£32,000: Ellan Vannin... David's grinning, he knows the answer. "The Isle of Man." ...is the traditional name for which island? A) Jersey B) Isle of Man C) Lindisfarne D) Lundy They're going with the Isle of Man, and they're right to so do.

The Free Shot £64,000: In Roman mythology, who is the goddess of the dawn? A) Aurora B) Electra C) Minerva D) Vesta Tara, being classically educated, reckons it's Aurora, David concurs, and they're £64,000 better off.

The Diamond Dozen £125,000: Who benefited from the fund known as "Queen Anne's Bounty"? A) Soldiers B) Stray Dogs C) Clergymen D) Prisoners

David lets out a large sigh, and he's thinking. "There were a lot of successful battles during Queen Anne's time, like the war of the Spanish Succession, so my guess is that it'll be something that goes to soldiers. "I don't think they were the sort of time when prisoners would have got much, and clergymen..." David is more than 50% Confident that it's soldiers, and reckons they gain by going on, it's worth the risk of losing it. Tara reckons it's worth playing, life's worth a gamble, and there speaks the voice of experience in these matters. They play soldiers, mainly because Tara doesn't like this music track. "You had £64,000..."

"You've just lost £32,000."

The answer was clergymen.

Contestant 265, back in November 2000, is now - as then - a garden designer, but she has since branched out into quiz compilation, and would like a new chair in the studio. Judith Keppel has been to South East Asia since we last spoke, and people had a habit of touching her for luck, but they've stopped now. Her playing partner is David Seaman, who plays football for Manchester City and England. Judith is playing for the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust, David for the NSPCC. We join the game at question eight.

£8000: In aviation, what does the S stand for in the abbreviation STOL?
A) Straight B) Slow C) Sudden D) Short

"Have we got a pilot in the audience," asks Judith. Neither Judith nor David has a clue, they try to deduce what the TOL might stand for, David reckons it's "Takeoff and Landing." They're going to have to ask the audience. 78% reckons it's "Short." That's enough to convince our players, and they go for Short. Short is correct, and they're at £8000 when time expires. Last time Ms Keppel was interrupted at this stage, she went on to win the million.

£16,000: The photographer David Bailey was married to which French actress? "You know this, Judith Keppel." "Catherine Deneuve" Ms Deneuve comes up, David Seaman agrees, and they're flying again.

£32,000: Which novel begins: "It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen"? David looks confident. Judith reckons its Nineteen Eighty-Four. Judith is almost certain, but she's at that stage where she's doubting everything. Including her own name. David doesn't have a clue, but he's convinced by Judith. B) Nineteen Eighty-Four Wins the duo £32,000.

Chris shows the cheque. To David, he says: "If I give it to you, you'll probably drop it."

Chris and Judith talk about how to be a phone-a-friend. Instant knowledge is required, she doesn't see these questions.

The Free Shot £64,000: Who wrote the classic song "The Way You Look Tonight"? A) George Gershwin B) Cole Porter C) Irving Berlin D) Jerome Kern

"Any ideas?"

"Any ideas?"

David likes heavy rock music. Not quite his style, really. Judith has a "feeling" about Cole Porter. A "vaguely positive" one. They discuss gambling the 50/50 on this question, and Judith is talking herself into the answer. David thinks "ruargh," and that doesn't help. Much humming and hawing. Should she play, or not. Judith reckons 50/50 isn't much help to man nor beast. But they'll play it. B) Cole Porter D) Jerome Kern

Final answer: B) Cole Porter.

Were they right? We'll take a break.

"You still have £32,000 - it's the wrong answer." Jerome Kern was the right answer.

Third to leave the Millionaire studio with a million pound cheque was Charles Ingram. He's not been invited back, for reasons that are, ahem, more than adequately covered elsewhere on the UK Gameshows website.

Our third and final contestant tonight, therefore, is Robert Brydges. When last on the show, he took home some Million Pound Glitter for his children. Apparently, no one has ever rubbed Robert for luck. Judith Chalmers will be co-piloting the mission tonight. Robert's playing for Opportunity International, a global development micro-bank; Judith's money goes to the Lady Taverners, the distaff side of the Lords' Taverners, and they specialise in minibuses and sports equipment.

In spite of Judith not being that good with Richard of York, nor visited Suez, and Robert not knowing about Geri Halliwell, our well-voiced duo reaches £16,000 without much trouble. Then this turns up:

£32,000: Which comedian hangs from a clock face in the 1923 silent film "Safety Last"? A) Buster Keaton B) Charlie Chaplin C) Harry Langdon D) Harold Lloyd

Neither of them has a clue. Well, Robert can see Harold Lloyd in his mind's eye. He rules out Chaplin and Langdon, and is fairly sure it's not Keaton. Judith can't help at all, so it comes down to a question of risk. Robert is "reasonably" sure, Judith will go with him, and that's enough to play. D) Harold Lloyd

"You had £16,000, Judith Chalmers, and it wasn't really your money." "You've just doubled it to £32,000."

The Free Shot £64,000: Which ballet features a character called Drosselmeyer? A) Swan Lake B) Giselle C) The Nutcracker D) Coppelia

No one is much of a ballet fan. Judith reckons they're in a "pas de deux," which must be French for "two people, neither of whom has a clue." Judith reckons it's not Nutcracker. Robert explains the eliminate-two-and-play- 50/50 gamble, but they can't eliminate a second answer. "Would Tim Rice know?" muses Judith. Robert has no one up his sleeve, so they call Tim Rice of the MCC. "Oh golly. I said pop music before 1980. It sounds German, but, er, haven't a clue. Ballet is not my thing." Devoid of options, Robert suggests a 50/50. Judith agrees it's a German name, but 50/50 it is.

B) Giselle C) The Nutcracker They're going to have a go. Judith is inclined towards Nutcracker, not the French-sounding Giselle. This is the free shot, and they're going for the free shot. C) The Nutcracker Why did they think that? "I don't know," says Judith. "It's the right answer."

The Diamond Dozen £125,000: Which British chieftain led unsuccessful rebellions against Roman rule between 43 and 51 AD? A) Caractacus B) Harold Godwinson C) Arthur D) Lear

Robert knows straight off. Caractacus. "Enough to risk losing £32,000?" "It's not Arthur, it's not Godwinson - he was 11th century, it's not the mythical Lear." A) Caractacus "You know that cheque for £64,000, you could have walked away with that." Chris rips up the cheque. "You've won £125,000."

The Thirteen Club £250,000: Which of the Great Lakes of North America has the smallest surface area? A) Ontario B) Superior C) Michigan D) Erie

Again, Robert has an inclination, a leaning towards Erie. Judith has the same inclination. Is it enough to risk it? £93,000 is a lot to lose. Robert would go for it on his own. Judith has the knowledge, but this is not the solo show. They're going for it. Final answer. D) Erie.

"You had £125,000..."

"You've just lost £93,000. Oh Jude, Robert. The right answer is Ontario."

Not a millionaire: Paddy Herron. He's still smarting over a dubious question from last April - "The Island of Staffa is said to be at one end of which route? A: The Pennine Way B: The Road to the Isles C: Watling Street or D: The Giant's Causeway?"

Mr Herron said B, the producers wanted D, and that was game over. Their defence: in local mythology, Finn MacCumhail used the series of hexagonal basalt columns to step out over the ocean and confront his Scottish rival Staffa off the Isle of Mull.


Mastermind this week.

Eric Kilby, a Fifteen To One regular, offers the House of Godwin, 1000-1066. This is really obscure history, from the end of the Dark Ages. Most people only know about Lady Godiva and Posh Paws. He scores 14 points and no passes.

Sally Wilson is telling us about the Life and Films of Grace Kelly. She also scores 14 points and no passes.

Said Khan, a quarter finalist on Grand Slam, has the Life and Works of Dalida. She's a French singer, actress and humanitarian, as Mr Khan will explain. No passes, but only nine points. If anyone else knew more about this singer, we might not be impressed by the questions.

John Wrigley tells us about the Cricket World Cup, 1975-2002. "I should know that," he says at one point. He has two passes and five points. A bit like the England side at every cup.

John Wrigley has a bravura display of general knowledge, passing on just one question and taking his score rocketing up to 20.

Said Khan's general knowledge is perhaps less impressive than it was earlier in the year, he has one more pass and a total of 19.

Eric Kilby might also be a little more nervous than before. One pass and a total of 23.

Sally Wilson turns out to have won Junior Mastermind back in the days of SWAP SHOP. She has a clear chance to win tonight's show, stacks up errors, but runs through the questions quickly. She finishes with one pass and a total of 27.


Annie and Gopherman's Test. The Nation. The National. General. Knowledge. Quiz featured an interesting idea: the Quiz Quotient. These 70 questions had been tested against a sample of people, and contestants were scored against the rest of the nation. A rating of 100 indicates one has performed exactly to average amongst the sample, a higher rating indicates greater proficiency in these questions. Sadly, the average both on the internet and in the studio was nearer 112, indicating that the questions were almost a full standard deviation more easy than thought.

Big Brother Africa came to an end. The show was won by Cherise Makubale, the Zambian contestant. Guests at the finals party last Sunday included the temporary guest, Cameron Stout. Mr Stout is shortly to present a programme of folk music on BBC Radio Scotland.

A depressing lack of STAR ACADEMY representation at the most prestigious prize in British music. Surely the Mercury Music Award (this year's winner: Dizzy Rascal) would be a natural fit with the show's songwriting and hard graft ethos, as well as granting the entertainment show a plug on usually po-faced BBC4. Instead, Carolynne and Peter (headed for 3rd and 4th places, mark your cards) had pitched up the previous night at the uber-tabloid TV QUICK awards. This ceremony is a popularity poll for shows on the box, and was televised on the opposition ITV. Not even Peter's tired and emotional acquaintance with the gutter could redeem the situation.

This week's telly check: Fifteen To One and Countdown settle uncomfortably into new slots this week, at 1445 and 1515 respectively. Those readers with personal video recorders can start recording at 1445, only to replay them at 1545. Or, cutting out the commercials, at 1600. Not that this column could possibly condone skipping the commercials.

The rest: Star Academy 1830 and 2305 (!), Pop Idle begins to vote at 1900 and 2115. The return of Scrapheap Challenge at 1735 Sunday, and University Challenge at 2030 Monday (except for digital viewers in Wales.)

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