Weaver's Week 2007-12-30

Weaver's Week Index


The Week of the Year, 2007

Image:Square Premium rate.jpg

One thing to dominate the game show world in 2006 was the slow-motion disaster of the call-and-lose channels. It's only two years since E4 and German giants 9 Live combined to fill up a few hours with experimental programming that didn't really work. Since then, the invitation to call at premium rates in the faint hope of winning a huge prize, but the near certainty of losing your call money, has mushroomed dramatically. At one point, almost thirty channels were running these promotions for substantial blocks of the day. Looking back, the market topped out at the end of June, when the pioneering Quiz TV said that it was closing down with immediate effect. - The Week of the Year, last year.


Quiz TV was right to get out when it did. By the end of last year, we'd already heard that the Fraud Squad was looking into some of the dodgier scams; a former employee of Big Game TV later disclosed the various techniques that were used to drive the call volumes up while giving away as little as possible. MPs had already heard about the poor chances of getting to air, and strongly suggested that broadcasters display the number of calls not connected; this was made mandatory from May. Call volumes were already down by 50%. In January, ITV Play was criticised for suggesting that women's handbags would typically contain rawl plugs and a balaclava.

Image:Square You Say We Pay.jpg

On 18 February, the Mail on Sunday had the remarkable claim that Richard and Judy's show had been selecting contestants for their You Say We Pay feature before lines closed. The eventual report pinned most of the blame on telephone line operator Eckoh; in turn, they tried to blame former members of staff. We might have thought that it was an isolated incident, a bunch of people cutting corners and in no way representative of the rest of the market. We might even have been able to forgive an admission the following week that ITV had over-charged some voters to The X Factor.

Proof that the market was rotten to the core came out in the first week of March. ITV suddenly suspended all its premium-rate phone lines for a few days, pending a spot check of the procedures to ensure fair play. The overnight call-and-lose shows were taken off air, but the audit was run quickly enough to ensure that Dancing on Ice continued unaffected, allowing the channel to lose many of the votes for the series final. ITV found nothing wrong with its call-and-lose programmes, but used the furore to close its little-seen Play channel and replace it with ITV2+1, in turn not the same as ITV3.

In the same week, Channel 5 pulled its Brainteaser programme. The producers, Cheetah Television, had invented winners of the home game when neither of the two callers it asked gave the right answer. The enquiry would eventually find that this deception had been carried on since 2003, and had become an established and documented procedure. Channel 5 said, "Endemol should never have permitted it to have happened in the first place or allowed it to have continued". OFCOM pulled fewer punches: "Endemol appeared to have failed to take the necessary steps to deliver a compliant programme."

At the same time, Channel 4 dropped all its premium-rate services, except for games on Deal or No Deal and Big Brother. Smile stood accused of misleading the viewing children into thinking programmes were live when they weren't; this claim was a tissue of lies from start to finish, and only put about by members of the press with an animus against the BBC. They should have concentrated on Blue Peter, which confessed to inventing the winner of a contest, and subsequently to ignoring the result of a web vote, but wasn't criticised for greater sins, such as not having the Chalk Farm Salvation Army Band on their last show of the year. They'll be ditching the Advent Crown next... oh.

By early April, it looked as though all the bad eggs had been exposed. In spite of colonising the entire third floor at their offices, the ITV Complaints Department had nothing more to do than investigate 10,000 missing SMS messages to the Gameshow Marathon's Win What They Win (But Be Warned, You Have To Have It Delivered By Lionel Blair) contest. Then came the BBC's veteran Panorama programme, uncovering another crate of grubs, telling us that GMTV was also picking its winners before the lines closed. In some cases, lines closed at 9, but the winners were picked at 8, and callers were not connected for eleven days early in the year.

Image:Square Deal or No Deal Laura Pearce jackpot.jpg

Channel 4 revised its position in April, saying that it would continue to stage call-and-lose contests where it "greatly enhanced the viewing experience". On this pretext, the Deal Or No Deal Apparently Legalised Telephone Lottery was allowed to continue; only in December did we find that it wasn't a fair contest, that Channel 4 knew it wasn't a fair contest, and that it still raked in the cash. OFCOM also raised the point that there was a further fix, with the producers - but not the viewers - knowing exactly how much they'd be giving away that day. That complaint has been allowed to fade into the background.

Music channel The Hits terminated the contract with its provider after an incident where a "guaranteed" £450 miraculously turned into a crisp £20 note. The channel said that it "felt that the vigour with which they were seeking to improve the financial performance of the programming was jeopardising the rigor with which they were adhering to the relevant codes of practice and regulations."

In June, Channel 4 had revised its position again, confirming that it wouldn't profit from calls to Big Brother, and the BBC suspended 0898 competitions where the winner needed to be determined within half an hour. All of the BBC's competitions went in July, when other instances of completely made up winners came to light. It was suggested that they'd be back in November, but we've only seen the code (1. Don't cheat. 2. See 1.) and no actual prizes.

Image:Square ITV Play.jpg

By September, ITV's head of programmes was giving a vote of confidence in the channel's overnight Call And Lose strand. "As far as we can measure it there is no impact on the ITV brand as a result of ITV Play being there." Like a football manager giving a vote of confidence to a beleaguered manager, it was clear that the show was in deep, deep trouble. Even so, we didn't expect to report just one week later, "ITV Play's call-TV programming will be phased out by the end of this year as negative publicity following compliance problems across the sector has seen call volumes drop to uneconomic levels." In other words: it's axed, and the last show went out in the early hours of 23 December.

ITV's long-awaited report into its premium-rate trickery was quietly published in October. There were botches, errors, and a general lack of credibility, and that was just in the timing, on the day the BBC announced plans for redundancies. For instance, ITV's Soapstar Superstar featured an elimination between positions 7 and 8, the last two amongst a 10-person field. For instance, Saturday Night Takeaway planned its Jiggy Bank tour many weeks in advance, thus disenfranchising most of the country and ensuring that most callers stood no chance of winning. For instance, Game Show Marathon researchers toured the country to scope out prize winners who would look good on screen. There were calls for Antan Dec's head. There were calls for Michael Greed, the new head at the troubled commercial channel, to honour his pledge not to do business with producers who misled the public.

Eventually, slowly, the wheels of justice turned. Channel 5 was fined £300,000 over Brainteaser and its spin-off show Memory Bank. The telephone nonsense for Opera Telecom, GMTV's operator, cost them £250,000; the breakfast channel was fined two million pounds. The Richard and Judy scandal cost telephone operator Eckoh £150,000, and Channel 4 was hit for a cool million. C4 also suffered from the Not Actually Legalised Telephone Lottery, to the tune of half a million quid. The BBC was fined £50,000 for the Blue Peter premium-rate blunder. G-CAP media peeked at the answers provided by callers to its radio quizzes, and was fined £17,500. By the time Channel 4 put out its spoof programme Swizzcall at the end of October, it already felt like something out of history.

Still lurking in the background is the Gambling Commission, which has been wondering for a year or two if some of the fast-response quizzes, particularly the ones with simple questions, were lotteries and should be taxed as such. There seems less chance of government intervention. In May, Shaun Woodward, then a minister for broadcasting, muttered about an outright ban on premium-rate phone-ins if broadcasters failed to clean up their act. Mr. Woodward was re-shuffled the following month, and his successor has not repeated the threat.

The broadcasters - both commercial and public service - went through 0898gate with a whiff of arrogance. Until it became clear that the whole sector was not going to be trusted, the broadcasters wanted everything to be declared "good enough", and get right back to raking in their share of the huge call charges. Compliance with the letter of the law appeared enough for them. Yet Channel 4 and its agent swindled the British public out of many thousands of pounds. Channel 5 and its agent lied to the British public. The BBC was caught inviting telephone calls into a pre-recorded programme. ITV and its agents have repeatedly lied and deceived. Many operators on obscure cable channels are also seeing if a viewer and his money are soon parted.

The television corporations are taking their viewers for fools. They all bang on about a different advertising climate, about the tricks that worked twenty years ago and don't work now. 0898gate was proof that the British public still trusted television, and that trust was taken for granted and betrayed by creatively and morally bankrupt cowards. There was no reason why it should cost £1 to vote for Dancing on Ice or X Factor, and open your telephone to spam from the channel. No reason, other than ITV's naked greed, putting profit so far ahead of anything like probity. We never managed to confirm a claim in the New Statesman that ITV had instructed independent producers to place some form of participation TV at the core of any pitch for a new game show. It smelt as though it could be true, and that was a damning indictment of a once-proud channel.

And there are other indicators of the broadcasters' complacency. We can grudgingly accept a permanent on-screen identification, so long as it's subtle; many of the messes blighting the screen this year have been less subtle than an explosion in a paint factory, going right over people's heads. A few years ago, we noted that the climax to Perseverance was completely ruined by ITV's desire to promote the programme after the break during the jackpot game. Things have got worse: every channel now interrupts your viewing to tell you what rubbish is coming up after the programme you're still watching, while you're still watching it. And between the two comes the end credits; on the BBC, now squeezed into a box so small that they cannot actually be read. The voice-over for The People's Quiz Wildcard was credited on the final programme, but because the credits were so unreadably small, we still don't know who she was. These sound like petty complaints, but they only arise because the broadcasters are treating their audiences with a contemptuous lack of respect.

Returning to 0898gate, the list of people who have lost their job is small: the Blue Peter editor was first shuffled sideways and then fired; GMTV's managing director and Head of Enterprises fell on their swords. A 6 Music producer has been suspended, and the channel's controller submitted his resignation. No-one at ITV has gone, and we have not heard that the police are investigating this swindle.

Let the final word go to Aat Schouwenaar, Endemol's new chairman following their takeover by Mediaset. Call-and-lose television "is not a business model on which I would build the future of Endemol." He'll go far.

The R Word

Image:Square Big Brother.jpg

In any other year, Channel 4's ongoing problems over racial abuse would be the main topic of discussion. The main controversy was in January, when a show that was vanishing up its own hype - three contestants had walked out, and transfer speculation about David Beckham was leading the celebrity press - suddenly sprang to life. Jade Goody was (perhaps unfairly) blamed for what was generally perceived as racist bullying of fellow Celebrity Big Brother contestant Shilpa Shetty. Should Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd also take some of the blame? Very possibly, and both have found work rather thin on the ground in the year since. Was the row confected, in part, from a feeling that Mrs. Goody had become far more famous than she had any right to be, and that she deserved to be taken down a few pegs? Again, very possibly.

Whatever the reason was, the row culminated in over 40,000 complaints to regulator OFCOM, the sponsor walking away from the show, and questions asked in the Commons, with such trustworthy figures as Keith Vaz and Nadine Dorries calling for the abolition of a show they'd not actually seen. The eventual resolution came in May, with an unusually complex resolution. It wasn't wrong to transmit this apparently-racist material, but it was wrong to do so without challenging it. Endemol had made an error of judgement in the production process; by failing to tell C4 about an incident where some contestants were telling "Paki" limericks, the broadcaster was led to believe the incident was less serious than it was.

Just a few days after the Shetty incident, a contestant on Shipwrecked expressed highly negative views about black people. We never managed to see this episode, because C4 pulled it from the repeat and its on-demand service, claiming that the show would never see the light of day again. OFCOM eventually ruled that there had been no offence, as the views had been challenged in the broadcast, and we'd see the contestant realise the error of her ways. Shipwrecked itself, was undemanding fare for the viewers, and a few production tweaks could make it a great recorded reality show. It was certainly a step-up from the BBC's Castaway, which dropped from BBC1 to BBC3 and the final episode probably trickled out on one of the red button screens.

Was all sweetness and light now? Er, no. A couple of weeks into the amateur run of Big Brother, one of the contestants used a strong racial epithet to describe another contestant. Very quickly, the error of her ways was made apparent, and the matter appeared to be resolved internally. This wasn't enough for the producers, still stung from the criticism meted out earlier in the year. Back in January, it took four days for anyone from C4 or Endemol to comment on the growing row; in June, revenge was a dish served in little more than six hours. The producers exercised their prerogative to eliminate anyone, at any time, without giving a coherent reason. The contestant who had used what she thought was an affectionate greeting was out, leaving a telling final comment: "This wasn't a big thing, unless you edited it to be."

OFCOM passed judgement on this incident, too, saying that racism had been challenged. The regulator declined to pass judgement on whether the exclusion had been fair. Natural justice does not form part of their remit, though it's not clear to whom a disgruntled contestant can appeal, particularly when Endemol can line up their cronies in the media to squelch any opposition. The whole incident came back to mind a week or so ago, when BBC Radio 1 briefly excised the words "slag" and "faggot" from Fairytale of New York. Broadcasters are suddenly getting very twitchy about language, and they may well be ahead of shifts in the public mood.

This year's gimmick on amateur BB was to have a houseful of women to begin with, and introduce blokes as the show continued its 13 week run. With low ratings, a tremendous opportunity cost, and no spin-off profits, it's not clear how much more mileage there is in this format. Dermot O'Leary has seen which way the wind's blowing, this year's Little Brother show was mostly relegated to E4, and the host has confirmed that he'll not be presenting next year.

Best And Worst Of The Rest

Image:Square Generic News 2.jpg

Right, let's zap through the rest: sixty programmes in the next nine paragraphs, anyone?

BBC1 started 2007 with Your Country Needs You!, a chance for everyone to gang up on the English, only to be soundly beaten. When Will I be Famous? was a clear spoiler for ITV's Britain's Got Talent, but the BBC format actually had people who were sort-of decent at what it was they did, unlike Celebrity Star Academy, a format that needs an axe through the head. A Song for Europe included a near-perfect cock-up: Wogan said one act had won, Cotton said the other was victorious, she was right, but the choice was wrong. Great British Village Show was a curio, a chance for competitive cake-making and marrow-growing. School's Out returned for a second series, accompanied by the tediously derivative DanceX. See also: The World's Greatest Elvis. The one new daytime show was Dirty Rotten Cheater, a derivative of The Enemy Within.

Over on BBC2, Perfect Strangers was the best new quiz show of the year for adults. The mix of people who had never met would be used for Who Dares Wins over on BBC1, a format turned down by ITV, and one that does have that playalong factor. Julian Clary invited us to see some competitive dog training in The Underdog Show, a game that had BBC3 written all over it. Great British Menu, Eggheads, Masterchef Goes Large, Let Me Entertain You, and The Weakest Link all continued to do the business at teatime without meaningful challenge. Interloper Idennidy was met with hard glares and suffered the indignity of episodes being burned off after Christmas, and Food Poker was no replacement for Ready Steady Cook. The Restaurant was the channel's replacement for The Apprentice, feel-good fluff for yuppies who eat out. Classical Star fell between the two stools of a proper classical education and a modern reality show, and wasn't supported by Radio 3.

ITV began the year begging for it, screening Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway in which Duncan Bannatyne from Dragons' Den and convicted criminal Jeffrey Archer reduced their tax bill by giving away a few grand each. A second series of The Con Test was rather lost on Saturday nights, and a Supermarket Sweep revival made little impression. Britain's Got Talent saw Simon Cowell and Piers Moron look for an entertaining act; they found a singing dustman and a stupidly short premium-rate vote. Daytime shows found themselves stretched to fill the hour-long slot required: Golden Balls showed the strain, but The Great Pretender relaxed without obviously dragging it out. Summer filler was provided by the undemanding Sing It Back: Lyric Champion 2007, singalong fun for rainy Saturday nights; and by the faintly disturbing Baby Ballroom. The best part of the show was Bonnie Langford. Don't Call Me Stupid was entirely acceptable minor-celeb fluff.

Image:Countdown deso and carol square.jpg

Channel 4 had two major changes in the first week of the year. Des O'Connor became the third host of Countdown in as many years, and quickly made himself part of the furniture. And Deal or No Deal finally paid out its top prize, and saw its audiences plummet. The same fate befell The Search, a high-concept show that was batted about the schedules like a cricket ball. It deserved a lot better. So did Scrapheap Challenge: the 2006 series began airing in April, went off air in the rainy season, and came back for the final in December. Summer filler for Deal was Win My Wage, a show that could be improved by having teams of two guess the wages of people. C4 celebrated its 25th birthday with a month of vintage programmes, and a Big Fat Anniversary Quiz.

On the cable channels, Channel 5 marked its tenth birthday with I Blame the Spice Girls, and ran the Colin Murray-hosted Payday, but had very little else this year. ITV2's one original commission for the year was Deadline. A celebrity gossip magazine put together by people who you might have heard of, but only because you already read celebrity gossip magazines, and they only include acres on these people because they can't get enough copy about people who are famous to those of us who don't spend our lives reading celebrity gossip magazines, and critiqued in this column by an amateur journalist passing judgement on other amateur journalists.

On UK Gold, TV Now and Then had Les Dennis and little interest. The Generation Game Now And Then has Bruce Forsyth, and four shows was a bit of a short run, you can do better than that! Living had Dirty Cows, a farmer trying to tame city girls and getting hay everywhere. BBC4 had a second series of Never Mind the Full Stops, and John Sergeant borrowed the set for a pilot of Face the Music. David Baddiel was the unlikely but appealing host of The Book Quiz. Over on BBC3, Last Man Standing was a touring muscleman exhibition. Come Dine with Me was the breakout hit of the year, consistently topping the charts on More 4, and forcing its way into primetime on the parent channel. E4 has its E4 School of Performing Arts, and prizes for all.

Image:Square Raven Spirit Guard.jpg

CBBC had a vintage year: Raven moved to the spring, and was more exciting than we've seen for yonks. Spin-off The Secret Temple was streets ahead of last year's Island, thanks to the moral ambiguity of Satyarani. Get 100 was a game of utter simplicity and plenty of cunning: this column has shamelessly ripped off the format to play with friends, relations, and people who wish to be neither. The Sorcerer's Apprentice wrote the textbook in how to broadcast a recorded reality show, and proved yet again that the best slot for a 30-minute show is half-an-hour long. Trapped was a strange beast, one we never quite worked out whether to love or hate. Escape from Scorpion Island didn't work, but only because it tried too hard.

Challenge had a new owner - Mr. Branson of Taxhaven Island - and a couple of new games. The Pyramid Show With Guy Smiley was the old Steve Jones format, with a toothsome and cheesy new host and a bit of a budget. That's the Question was the format that made Two Way Traffic rich, and had a toothsome and cheesy new host, and a bit of a budget. In fact, it had a two-bit budget, no expense spent there. Ninja Warrior - a competitor to Viking, which has been airing on Eurosport 2 for a year and a half - was re-voiced by Stuart Hall, and invites Japanese people to launch themselves at a Surely Impossible Way of the Ninja.

Some interesting evolution on Radio 4, and we're not referring to The Unbelievable Truth, which somehow got commissioned for a whole series, presumably when the controller misunderstood the point of the game. It slotted into the space left when Quote... Unquote was relegated from Monday teatimes to the graveyard of Wednesday lunchtimes, the place where they put Puzzle Panel out to dry. The Game Adjudication Panel has determined that Genius, the other programme moving into the Monday spot, is also a game show. Tom Sutcliffe eased into the host's chair on Round Britain Quiz as if it had never been away; but Peter Snow's assumption of the chairman's role on Brain of Britain coincided with the loss of Kevin Ashman as sole question-setter, and the abolition of regional heats. We'll keep Snowy, he's good at what he does, and his enthusiasm is as infectious as Robert Robinson's, but at least one of the other changes could use a quiet reversal for next year. We'd also like the Brain Of Brains and Top Brain matches we were due this year, purlease.

Flop of the year? There are plenty of candidates. ITV's Grease is the Word was ceremonially crushed by the BBC's oh-so-similar Any Dream Will Do, proving that the British public prefer their stage musicals home-grown and fronted by Graham Norton. Even the credited format creator, a Mr. Cowell of Moneybags Grove, said that it was rubbish, and the final nail was driven in when it consistently scored fewer viewers than long-running BBC current affairs show Panorama. Later, Peter Jones's Tycoon redefined the term "failure" into "feedback"; it was such a feedback that it was booted off ITV and finished its run amongst the Intertoto Cup Qualifiers on ITV4.

Image:Square People's Quiz.jpg

Not that the Beeb escaped criticism: The People's Quiz managed to thoroughly inconvenience its competitors, offend the viewing public by suggesting that Kate Garraway knew any question more taxing than "What colour was the yellow submarine?", offend against fair play through its dubious format, offend against Mr. Labbett by dubbing on boos and catcalls, and offend the viewing public again by suggesting that the winner was most likely to be male. Even the sponsoring National Lottery Corporation found this programme too banal, pulling out half-way through. A wild-card programme couldn't be saved, even though it had Jamie Theakston hosting. We said in May that the show was the Cricket World Cup of television quizzing - it goes on for months and months and months, and the competitors in the final are known from the opening match. And, with the final in mid-June, it took place before a crowd of five in the pouring rain.

For our money, flop of the year was For The Rest Of Your Life, a show that we had to tape and rewind because we kept finding ourselves falling asleep. Nicky Campbell invited couples to gamble future income on the turn of red or white lights. Truly, this was a show so bad that we cannot describe it without wanting to batter someone over the head, repeatedly. The best thing to do with this programme is to take it outside and shoot it.

Most-Seen Shows Of The Year*

  • - For values of "the year" covering 1 January to 9 December, taking only the top single broadcast of the year for shows that made the channel's weekly top 10 (top 30 for the five analogue channels).

The Top Ten

1Britain's Got TalentITV17/0611.58
2Strictly Come DancingBBC18/1210.45
3Dancing on IceITV17/0310.04
4X FactorITV8/129.83
5I'm a CelebITV12/119.16
6Celeb BBC419/018.78
7Eurovision Song ContestBBC112/058.77
8Any Dream Will DoBBC19/068.28
9All Star Family FortunesITV24/117.38
10Antan Dec's Saturday Night TakeawayITV22/097.16

Excluded from this list are the Comic Relief (16/03, 9.73m) and Children in Need (16/11, 9.56m) shows, which had some game show elements but were mostly entertainment fundraisers.

Britain's Got Talent, Dancing on Ice, and Any Dream Will Do were the season finales; I'm a Celeb was the season opener. Saturday Night Takeaway was the third episode of the series, the last to air around 7.30. Celeb BB was the removal of Mrs. Goody.


Image:Square BBC TV Service.jpg

1Strictly Come Dancing8/1210.45
2Eurovision Song Contest12/058.77
3Any Dream Will Do9/068.28
4The Apprentice13/067.09
5In it to win it6/016.97
6CR Apprentice15/036.72
7People's Quiz31/036.61
8CRStar Ac15/036.43
9One Versus One Hundred13/01, 3/26.35
10Who Dares Wins1/126.25
11Have I Got News For You2/116.18
12Just the two of us7/016.14
13Question of Sport Uncensored24/035.82
14Making Your Mind Up17/035.75
15A Question of Sport9/025.54
16Celebrity Masterchef15/065.41
17Weakest Link29/035.4
18When Will I Be Famous?24/025.23
19CRCar Booty4/035.01
20Dance X14/074.88
20Your Country Needs You13/014.88
22Junior Mastermind29/014.43
23Great British Village Show10/064.29
25The World's Greatest Elvis22/094.11
26Panorama 0898gate23/044.02
27Eurovision Dance Contest1/093.98
28Would I Lie to You?16/063.83
29Test the Nation27/083.57
30School's Out14/073.28

The Apprentice was also the season finale. Note that The People's Quiz peaked during the audition phase, and lost viewers when the proper quiz started.


Image:Square ITV.jpg

1Britain's Got Talent17/0611.58
2Dancing on Ice17/0310.04
3X Factor8/129.83
4I'm a Celeb12/119.16
5All Star Family Fortunes24/117.38
6Antan Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway22/097.16
7Soapstar Superstar13/017.15
10Hell's Kitchen17/095.84
11I'm a Celeb Coming Out (not STV)4/125.12
12This Is Your Life (Cowell)2/064.99
13Gameshow Marathon19/054.91
14Grease Is The Word12/054.66
15Fortune Million Pound Giveaway6/024.12
16Baby Ballroom11/083.93
17Secrets Celeb Stars Eyes23/063.47
18Sing It Back: Lyric Champion 20077/073.41
19Challenge Anneka6/062.91

Soapstar, The Con Test, and Hell's Kitchen all peaked at the end, Millionaire on its high-profile relaunch.


Image:Square BBC.jpg

1Masterchef Goes Large15/035.23
3Apprentice Hired13/064.22
4Dragons' Den21/023.69
5Weakest Link12/023.48
6University Challenge26/023.42
7Apprentice Fired6/063.16
8Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two26/113.06
9Never Mind the Buzzcocks22/113.03
11Great British Menu18/052.91
12The Restaurant17/102.84
13Have I A Little Bit More News For You24/112.58
14Mock the Week30/082.49
15Masterchef What the Winners Did Next22/012.47
16Apprentice Why I Fired Them10/062.46
16Underdog Show20/032.46
18The Verdict15/022.35
19Dragons' Den Where Are They Now18/072.33
20Have I Got Old News For You11/062.16
21Have I Got News For You (Eng narr rep)22/102.07
22Magnus Magnusson5/022.04
23Safari School6/022.00
25People's Quiz Wildcard28/051.97
25Ready Steady Cook3/011.97
28Take on the Takeaway19/091.64
29Apprentice Beyond Boardroom3/061.62
30Let Me Entertain You28/051.58

Series finals for Masterchef, Apprentice, Great British Menu, and The Restaurant; the other episodes were the best of many contenders. They'll not thank us for pointing out that the Magnus Magnusson tribute programme was more popular than any episode of Mastermind.

Channel 4

Image:Square Channel 4 retro.jpg

1Celeb BB19/018.78
2Big Brother30/056.59
3Deal or No Deal1/014.33
4Eight out of Ten Cats13/074.01
5Secret Millionaire5/123.55
6Come Dine With Me3/013.40
7BB Big Mouth7/062.51
8BB What The Housemates Did Next7/092.48
9Scrapheap Challenge13/052.15
10BB On the Couch19/082.02
11Big Fat Anniversary Quiz2/111.98
12Derren Brown: Trick or Treat13/041.91
13BB Little Brother31/081.59
15Win My Wage20/071.40

Amateur Big Brother peaked on its launch night, and Deal on the first day of the year by quite a margin.

Channel 5

1World's Strongest Man2/011.48
2Britain's Strongest Man27/081.13
3Interior Rivalry10/050.93

And, er, that's it.

Multi-channel Complete List

Image:Square Digit Al.jpg

1I'm a Celeb ... NowITV220/111.555
2BB Big MouthE431/071.49
3CBB Big MouthE419/011.421
4X FactorITV223/091.323
5Xtra FactorITV218/081.25
6Pop Idle USITV29/021.065
7America's Got TalentITV228/060.977
8Britain's Got More TalentITV29/060.924
10CBB Big BrainE417/010.729
11BB Little BrotherE431/070.702
12Celebrity ScissorhandsBBC315/110.646
13Dancing on Ice DefrostedITV217/030.622
14Come Dine With MeMore418/110.619
15BB LiveE430/050.616
16Hell's Kitchen USAITV229/100.61
17BB After They Were HousematesE425/050.603
19Last Man StandingBBC310/070.527
20Castaway ExposedBBC39/030.516
21Xtra Factor Best & Worst Series 3ITV218/080.469
22BB On the CouchE411/060.449
23Soapstar Superstar - Bonus TracksITV213/010.445
24CR Star AcBBC312/030.434
25Gameshow MarathonITV213/050.419
26BB Diary RoomE43/060.399
27Deal or No DealMore431/010.356
28WAGs's BoutiqueITV224/040.343
30Dragons' DenDAVE29/110.316
31Dancing With the StarsGOLD23/110.312
32Best of FriendsCBBC5/110.31
33Never Mind the BuzzcocksDAVE19/11, 1/120.31
35Beat the BossCBBC20/110.296
36Hider in the HouseCBBC13/070.271
37The SlammerCBBC28/110.269
38The Sorcerer's ApprenticeCBBC1/110.261
40Secret MillionaireMore425/030.254
41Clutter NuttersCBBC9/010.244
42Jungle RunCITV14/060.24
44Raven The Secret TempleCBBC14/080.207
46Scrapheap ChallengeMore417/060.173
47Dragons' DenG21/030.171
48Generation Game Now and ThenGOLD22/110.155
50Get 100CBBC31/070.148
52Millionaire ClassicChal23/070.137
53The Book QuizBBC49/080.131
54Take It or Leave ItChal11/050.128
55Family FortunesChal8/110.114
55Millionaire CelebChal2/100.114
57Ninja WarriorChal7/100.113
57Weakest Link CelebChal4/110.113
60Full Metal ChallengeG216/090.1
61Takeshi's CastleChal01/040.099
62UC Boat RaceEurospt7/040.054

Of note here: the top Xtra Factor before the series final came on the opening episode. QI really has been shown on four different channels. And the top audience for Takeshi's Castle came at 4.35 on the morning of April Fool's Day...

The Roll Of Honour

Just the Two of Us - Hannah Waterman and Marti Pellow

Soapstar Superstar - Antony Cotton

Celebrity Big Brother (viewer's vote and press coverage) - Shilpa Shetty
Big Brother (viewer's vote) - Brian Belo
(press coverage) - Zachary Lichman

The Search - Saskia de Groot

Junior Mastermind (March) - Robert
(December) - David
Mastermind Cymru - Sîon Aled
Mastermind - (to be awarded around March 2008)

Image:Square PokerFace Dominic Jackson.jpg

Poker Face - Dominic Jackson

Just a Minute (winter) - Marcus Brigstocke, Gyles Brandreth, Iain Duncan Smith (joint) (summer) - Julian Clary (overall) - Paul Merton

Celebrity Star Ac - Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Dancing on Ice - Kyran Bracken

University Challenge - Warwick

Deadline - Iwan Roberts

Eurovision Song Contest - "Molitva", composer Vladimir Graic, lyricist Sasa Milosevic, performer Marija Serifovic, representing RTS
Junior Eurovision Song Contest - "S Druzyami", performer Alexey Zhigalkovich, representing BTRC

Game Show Marathon - Michael Le Velle

Castaway (viewer's vote) - Jonathan Shearer

Grease Is The Word - Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden

Any Dream Will Do - Lee Mead

Shipwrecked (viewer's vote) - Ben Lunt

Counterpoint - John Wrigley

The Apprentice - Simon Ambrose

The People's Quiz - Stephanie Bruce
The People's Quiz Wildcard - Alan Morgan

Britain's Got Talent - Paul Potts and Simon Cowell

Countdown (June) - Nick Wainwright
(December) - Craig Beevers

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Tomos Power

Eurovision Dance Contest - Jussi Väänänen and Katja Koukkula, representing YLE.

Round Britain Quiz - Midlands: Rosalind Miles and Stephen Maddock

Kitchen Criminals - Harjinder Chaggar

Scrapheap Challenge - Woof Justice

School for Cooks - Jo Kinghorn

X Factor - Leon Jackson and Simon Cowell

Strictly Come Dancing - Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler

Brain of Britain - Mark Bytheway

And that's another year done and dusted. The Week will take a week off, and will return on 13 January with all the news from the new shows for the new year. Until then, stay safe, and good games to you.

To have Weaver's Week emailed to you on publication day, 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