Weaver's Week 2014-11-09

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Keep It in the Family (3)

Earlier in the year, we discussed the history of 3-2-1, and wondered when the show was going to get an "ironic" revival. We don't think Keep It in the Family is that revival.

Keep It in the Family

ITV Studios for ITV, from 26 October

There are common links between 3-2-1 and Keep It in the Family. Both feature clues to prizes, and have elements of light entertainment. Both shows are hosted by popular comedians, both have six people keeping the prizes, and both go out on ITV for family audiences.

And there the similarities end. 3-2-1 had its genius: not in the tortuous clues, but in the vast variety of comedy and musical entertainment on offer each week. Even from the guest list, we never knew what would happen on Ted's show.

Keep It in the Family (3) This week's prize keepers are from Emmerdale Farm.

Bradley has a different show, and we're going to stop the analogy here. Keep It in the Family is a game for families: a child, and three older relatives. Bradley is going to meet the teams. He'll chat to the team captain (always the child), and do something to embarrass one or two of the older relatives. Talking to both teams fills the first five minutes, and we don't get *much* out of this time. But nor are we particularly bored, Bradley knows how to keep people talking until they put their foot in their mouth.

Straight into the main variety act of the week. It could be some people spinning fire poles, or those shadow shapeshifters from Britain's Got Talent last year. They're going to take part in a challenge, pitting one or more of the adults from each team in combat. Two teams enter, one team will win, one team will look a fool on network television. These may yet be the same teams.

Keep It in the Family (3) Wheel's on fire, rolling down the road.

Two shows isn't long enough to judge this segment. We've had one game following The Generation Game ethos: here is an expert doing something, now you people do it. And we've had one game that was merely a quiz featuring a spinning wheel of fire. Bradley Walsh, hosting a quiz on network television. It'll never catch on.

The children-captains from each team chose their players for the game, and the winning captain will choose a prize. The set has two levels: a studio floor, and a recessed platform above it. The platform runs along and behind the video wall, so anything disappearing behind the platform will fall behind the wall.

Two celebrities come out and promise prizes. A night at the Television Awards, or a flat-screen television? The celebs stand on the upper deck, and the captain chooses the prize to keep. The other prize is dropped, and so is the celebrity holding it. And by "dropped", we mean "dropped" as in The Million Pound Drop. The child pulls a lever, a trapdoor springs open, and gravity does the rest.

Keep It in the Family (3) Drop a poor prize.

After the break, the soundtrack blasts out "Here come the girls," as though this were an episode of Take Me Out. At least, we assume that they still play this oh-so-subtle cue when the women come on to the stage. We've seen precisely one-and-one-half episodes of Take Me Out, and that was more than enough. Anyway, "Here come the girls", and on to the stage come some women.

At once, we're reminded of some of the most popular Russian acts at the Eurovision Song Contest. Tatu, Serebro, the Tolmachevy Sisters? No. The Buranovskiye Babushki, the dancing grannies who turned "looking cute" into second place. They were a one-off gimmick, and so are their equivalents here. Six old ladies describe modern cultural phenomena. What can a granny tell us about Justin Bieber? The families get to buzz in and say what the old folk are describing.

This round is wrong in a lot of ways. It assumes that old people are out of touch, a patronising form of ageism. It lets questions drag on past the point where it's clear the contestants don't know. It relies on the same joke being funny for ten minutes, when it's actually funny for less than two. And there's a recurring "skit" where Bradley goes for a spin on a motorised scooter.

Keep It in the Family (3) Where's the oven?

It's a relief when this round ends, and the winning child-captain gets to pick a prize and plummet a performer.

Round three is a quiz round. The players have dressed up in silly costumes (for the first episode, pop music stars), and buzz to give the answer. Some of the questions relate to the costumes, and for that the players are to run to a buzzer downstage. Bradley Walsh hosting a quiz on primetime television. No, not gonna work.

When this round finishes, they've found a winner. The other side goes away with a consolation prize, something memorable for the child. They also go away with their heads still covered in foam masks. We don't get to see the disappointment on the captain's face. We don't get to see the elation on the other team. It's hard to look happy when you're dressed as Mappy.

Keep It in the Family (3) This week's winning and/or losing family.

Then comes the much-hyped Celebrities Bearing Gifts round. Six prizes, including a car and a holiday, also some very nice consumer durables. And one joke prize such as a year's supply of baked beans. The viewers and family know what prizes are available.

The celebrities holding those prizes have not-at-all cryptic clues. "Take me for a spin; I'll leave you clean, then warm you up." Is that a car, or a washer-dryer? To prolong the tension just a little, the family hears two clues, then drops one of the celebrities, eliminating one of the prizes. Whichever prize they don't reject is the one they win, and hope it's not the bin.

Keep It in the Family (3) You've won a brand new car!

Yes, there are elements about this show we like. It's a fluffy family entertainment, it'll have the kids shouting at the telly and keep the parents occupied. ITV hopes they'll stick around for X Factor and Downton. Many of the ideas are workable, but not the same ones every week. For our money, the grannies segment goes on far too long, Bradley prats about too much at the beginning and covers up a tedious game.

We're also not fans of the previews for next week shown after the prize reveal. Yes, big up the fact that you've got Jedward and Alexandra Buerke next week. But please don't tell us which family wins, or what the last three prizes are. There's a line between preview and spoiler, and Keep It in the Family crosses it by miles.

Here's an equivalent to the "preview": we can give a preview of next week's Week.

  • "Simon is a professional entertainer, he can find the camera and pull a funny face down it. Every single time."
  • "According to Alan Dedicoat, there's a paso doble being performed here"
  • "No props, no extra showmanship, just dancing."
  • "It would have worked far better as a lyrical dance number."

And in the next section, we cheer for a Keith Lemon show.

This Week and Next

Hurrah for Celebrity Juice! Nick Barlow has pointed us towards a project on strudel.org.uk, "UK TV Panel Show Gender Breakdown". The only show to have roughly equal scores of men and women is Celebrity Juice (regulars: Keith Lemon, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby; also Rufus Hound and Jedward) – the data for that show is clearly incomplete.

Sweat the Small Stuff (Nick Grimshaw, Melvin Odoom, Rochelle Humes) comes next. Then we have the other Thursday night comedy Question Time (David Dimbleby, Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Shirley Williams, Nigel Farridge) – again, the data used is incomplete.

The show most likely to be dominated by men? Mock the Week, 88.4% bloke.

Fox Television has cancelled Utopia. Fifteen people were isolated in a remote part of California, and invited to create their own community. Live streaming on the web, and a massive social media push, and a highlights programme on network television, were meant to bring viewers to advertisers. But none of it worked – the programmes were dull, and viewing figures were rubbish. Just 1.5m viewers in primetime on a mainstream channel. In a UK context, that's about 500,000. And that would be a rubbish rating at breakfast, never mind at 9pm.

Election news, and Clay Aiken reprised his second-place finish. The singer had finished second on Pop Idle Us in 2003, and finished second in this week's election. Had he won, he would have represented a hideously gerrymandered division of Carolina, south-west of Raleigh.

Dispute news, and the plans to take Saturday Night Takeaway to Carolina, and other neighbouring provinces, may be in trouble. The local Writers' Guild union has been spoiling for a fight with ITV Studios, and they're playing hardball over SNTA. We have just one question: they have writers on Takeaway? Wasn't it just "Call 0898-ANT-N-DEC at £5 per minute and make us so rich we never need to perform 'Let's get ready to rhumble' again"?

On University Challenge, Sussex failed to beat Manchester The Team Everyone Wants To Beat by 210-95. One question asked after the 20 metre boundary between Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Sean Blanchflower (Trinity Cambridge 95, Orienteer) has visited this fallow field.

Only Connect reached 10-10, with the Wandering Minstrels (tonic) and Chessmen (there's only one Bundeskanzlerin). It's hosted by Victoria Coren, the only woman on BBC2 in this hour. A dearth of female contestants? Don't think so; both UC and OC are in Losers' Week, where teams get a second chance to record a first win.

Features of life in jail give the Minstrels two points. Neither side spots the Additional "G" in such song titles as "You've lost that loving feeling" and "Blowing in the wind". There's a point for the Minstrels on the music round, songs with Dukes in the title, such as the Dukes of Hazzard theme, and the one about having 10,000 men.

Last week, Caitlin Moran had a Hallowe'en costume as "Sexy Which?", dressing as a provocative consumer magazine. Two for the Chessmen on Which?'s cats. "Do we know who they are? No." Difficult picture round for the Minstrels, eventually getting repeated first names – Zsa Zsa Gabor is a one-point giveaway.

"They can't all be names for the devil", says Henry Pertinez of the Chessmen. No, these are setters of those impossible crosswords with bars that appear in the weekend papers. These concoctions are the Only Connect of cryptic crosswords. That's given the Chessmen a 5-4 lead.

Synonyms for "quick brown fox jumps" goes over to the Chessmen for a bonus. The Minstrels had the idea, not the execution. "Austin Powers in Goldmember" is the picture sequence? Really? Us neither. Team captains on A Question of Sport is the next link: it's currently Dawson and Tufnell as the Chessmen pick a bonus.

A precise answer is required from yellow H – brown AL – green SN – but the Chessmen can only burble. The Minstrels offer nothing. The answer is orange SL, as any genus (or technical difficulty) knows. Number one hit singles by groups including Paul Fab Macca Whacky Thumbs Aloft!!! McCartney, who has had chart-toppers solo, as part of a duet (with Stevie Wonder), trio (Wings), quartet (Beatles) and quintet (Beatles and Billy Preston). Good bonus for the Chessmen.

We're not standing up for them, the final lines from the National Anthem hidden as "G S the Q" go over to the Minstrels for a bonus. That seems to have been the most popular question amongst the viewing public. The Chessmen lead, 8-5.

Super! There are more beetles on the Chessmen's wall (see what the editor did there?) Also some pants (which reminds us, the Children in Need of Assistance special is next week) and some concealed motor vehicles, such as VANtage. That last link evades the team. Seven points!

For the Wandering Minstrels, there are words for grandmother, mail-order catalogues, famous fictional dogs (including Argos from The Odyssey), and things to be out of. Nothing dropped there, ten points!

Which means it's a decisive final round, beginning as it does at 15-15. Kings and their epithets (such as "Edward the Confessor") goes to the Chessmen by 3-1. Films written and directed by their stars ends as a 2-2 draw. Story of someone's life is another 3-1 to the Chessmen, and communities of Spain is a 2-2 draw.

So the Chessmen win the game, 25-21. Good hour for Stephen Pearson, captain of the Chessmen and mentor for the Manchester team on that other show with the bearded bloke. Two "near wins" for the Wandering Minstrels but they're out from the tournament.

Matters arising: Victoria's dress was something she made herself. And, on the lack of women question, the host noted, "The same thing's asked about poker. Can't do much except make everyone feel welcome." That's something everyone can help with. Including you @micro-bloggers.

Two Tribes Giving you back the good times.

Two Tribes is coming back, it'll spend twelve weeks in teatimes next year. Applications are open right now, see our Contestant Calls page.

Mastermind time was 7pm. By 7.30, we knew that Nigel Tomlinson had won. He took the Battle of Gettysburg, and secured 11 (0) on the Virginia Civil War battle. Slow and steady won that skirmish, and he was the only contender to attack his general knowledge round, and made sedate progress to 22 (1). He didn't need to go at any pace to win this match.

Patricia Gardener (The Crown Jewels) knew her gems, but perhaps not so much of the history surrounding them. 10 (2) grew slowly: the contender knew the answers but couldn't quite recall them. The final of 19 (5) was respectable but never felt like a winner. Kevin Quinn (Life and Music of Dusty Springfield) offers evidence that Dale Winton won't be on Celebrity Mastermind this year, as this is his specialist subject. Kevin made 10 (1), and also made slow progress to his final total of 19 (4). John Boyle (Tamla Motown) got the first two questions right about the music label, and finished on 6 (2). He was only five behind at the break, but didn't seem to be going for the win. 14 (6) is not the best score, but it's 14 more than most of us will ever get.

BARB ratings to 26 October.

  1. Strictly Come Dancing hits 10.65m.
  2. The Apprentice (7.8m) moves well ahead of The X Factor (6.8m for the results, 6m for the performances).
  3. HIGNFY pulls in 5.2m, Pointless Celebrities reaches 4.45m, and Keep It in the Family kicks off with 3.15m viewers.
  4. University Challenge has 2.85m, and Only Connect just beats The BBC Children in Need Sewing Bee on 2.25m.
  5. BARB hasn't published data for many channels, including Channel 4 and The Satellite Channel. We do know that Celebrity Juice (1.55m) easily beat Never Mind the Buzzcocks (1.2m).

Junior Masterchef (CBBC, 4.30 weekdays) joins The Professionals (BBC2) this week. It's Children in Need week, with specials across the BBC.

Itching for something to do in person? Puzzled Pint marks its one year anniversary in London this Tuesday night. Solve the puzzle, and turn up on Tuesday. There will also be events in (deep breath) Austin Texas, Boston Massachusetts, Chicago Illinois, Mountain View California, Phoenix Arizona, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Portland Oregon, two locations in Seattle Washington, and Washington DC. And! Puzzled Pint is now in Montréal.

Football on Saturday causes a slight schedule shuffle – Pointless at 6.10 (Vanessa Feltz, Penny Smith, Kriss Akabusi, Keith Chegwin, and The Chase winner Louie Spence). Strictly Come Dancing is at 7, and it's the annual trip to hear Barney Harwood play the Wurlitzer in Blackpool. The Chase (7.15) has Jo Whiley and Marcus Brigstocke, and it's the annual Big Band week on The X Factor (8.15).

Saturday is also the Junior Eurovision Song Contest live from Malta. Thanks to the wonderful international coverage given by UK broadcasters, we're going to have to find a dodgy internet feed. Delivering quality first, there.

Photo credits: ITV Studios, Remarkable Television (An Endemol Company).

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