Weaver's Week 2024-03-17

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"It's out with the new, and in with the old!"

Smart TV


Smart TV

Talkback (a Fremantle label) for The Satellite Channel, from 29 February

Ah, good old KYTV. In their 30th year of broadcasting, the rusty old satellite channel has got a new show! And it's all about the many hit programmes KYTV has contributed to society over the past three decades on air. Laugh at the best of Keith Chegwin Says... Here's A Bit of Talent! Cheer as Freddie Starr fails to Beat the Crusher! Gawp at the end-to-end action in Champions' League Musical Statues!

Smart TV On one team: Richard Ayoade, Alison Hammond, Daniel Mays.

Mercifully, they've also made a game show. Smart TV is hosted by Rob Beckett, the thinking person's Joey Essex. From the first view of the host, we can see that they don't mean "smart" as in "suit and tie". This is a mercy, as this column is watching in our scruffy jeans, and we're not changing for some fly-by-night broadcasting channel.

"The show with people on tv quizzing about tv on the tv," according to the opening spiel. Television has a lot of quizzes about itself: Noel Edmonds had one for absolutely ages, Richard Bacon's was quite fun, Paul Sinha had a go a few years back. This programme is different, in that it's not Telly Addicts, it's got no credit for Telly Addicts, and no hoofer-doofers were harmed in the making of the show.

Captains for the show are Alison Hammond and Josh Widdicombe. One has picnic table manufacturers quaking in their boots, the other was on Mock the Week a lot. Our sample episode features actor Daniel Mays and royal photography advisor Richard Ayoade; they're up against Natassa Demetriou from What We Do In The Shadows and Nicola Coughlan from Derry Girls.

Smart TV The set contains circuit boards and rectangles.

There's about five minutes of chat with the teams, talking about television. We're going to have to pad out the review with some bad puns, otherwise it'll be thinner than the wood panelling on the set behind Rob. Decently entertaining chatter, and Nicola drops in a couple of interesting anecdotes from filming.

Eventually, round one deigns to hove into view. "Roll the Titles" – the theme music from one television show, the opening credits from another. Identify both of them to earn one point and the right to choose which show to answer on.

Which means we're starting with a round on Maid in Chelsea, a sort-of documentary about some extremely rich people who live in Chelsea. We learn there's a level of artifice, while the emotions and relationships are real, the discussions are staged with extras in the background.

Smart TV A really smart bird, and a bloke who's hired her.

The clip is an excuse to ask a question: "what happened next", with just two options. Apparently, it's perfectly normal for grown people to have gifts for their girlfriend delivered by an owl. Who does he think he is, Claudia Winkleman?

Alison's team get questions on Casualty. Again, it's "what happened next", only much harder with precisely zero options. He fell on someone, he hurt them, and the clip shows that he did indeed fall on someone and hurt them. But, because Alison didn't mention the invisible pink unicorn, she's marked as wrong. Honestly, if anyone was marking this programme for rigour and accuracy, they'd be having kittens. Turns out that Richard Ayoade does actually expect KYTV to be vaguely accurate, which shows a touching level of faith. Or naivety.

After the break, "How You Reviewin'?" Guess the shows from the reviews. So if you saw "Best programme we've seen on KYTV this year. Only programme we've seen on KYTV this year.", the answer is Smart TV. And again, Rob's pedantry comes into play: he insists that the show Sex and the City is not the same as its newest incarnation And Just Like That. C'mon, this is meant to be a comedy panel game, if we wanted accurate decisions we'd bring out VAR.

Smart TV Daniel Mays challenges Nicola Coughlan, Josh Widdicombe, and Natassa Demetriou.

Another commercial break? Another commercial break.

A challenge on Only Fools and Horses, between one of Alison's team and all three of Josh's team. It's like the end of The Weakest Link, questions being asked for the glory of it and with score checks all the blimmin' time. The round ends in a 5-5 draw, which tells us that a) the question writers really need to write some more difficult questions and b) the show doesn't accept a draw. There's a shout-out tie-break, which has to go to VAR.

Smart TV A video replay determines who shouted first.

The final round is a series of questions on the endings of shows. Where do contestants go at the end of The Crystal Maze? How much does the winner get on Come Dine with Me? Should we warn that there's some strong language and you probably wouldn't want to let young children watch? Actually, yes: there is strong language, and a few vaguely adult themes, and you probably wouldn't want to let young children watch.

Note how few of these programmes were made or shown on KYTV, compared with how many go out on the big terrestrial broadcasters. It's almost as if KYTV has become completely irrelevant to the average viewer. And with predictable shows like this, it's no surprise. Have we seen this before? Yeah, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, a vague effort at a quiz with comedians who were not always as funny as they thought they were. And wasn't Never Mind the Buzzcocks also from Talkback (a Fremantle label)?

Smart TV is just the latest in a run of panel games about telly. We've no problem with the quiz being a background point, something for the comedy to hang off. Mercifully, the comedy is actually funny, jokes run through the episode and the six-laugh test is easily passed. Smart TV doesn't particularly advance the art of the panel show, it's a very decent copy of what's gone before.

And that makes it a perfect fit for KYTV.

Style It Out

Style It Out

Lion TV Scotland for CBBC, 10 January – 7 February

The basic idea is very simple. Here are some young designers. Here's a theme. Here is a closet full of old clothes. And enough scissors and sewing machines and buttons to go all the way to the moon. Go wild, make some outlandish costumes!

Style It Out Lauren, Andre, and Lyra parade their remarkable creations.

Emma Willis is our host, a familiar and reassuring face in the bizarre world of sewing and stitching. She's accompanied by Ayishat Akanbi and Jorge Antonio, experienced judges in the world of costumery. A third judge joins them for each episode.

After the inevitable introductions, our three competitors learn about the challenge in front of them. We suspect that they've had some advance notice of the topic, as each comes with some strong ideas about what to do. Next thing we know, they're rootling around in the CBBC Old Costumes Cupboard.

Style It Out A wardrobe full of old clothes.

Five minutes in there, any longer and they risk being trapped in an episode of Sadie J without Mel Giedroyc, and we wouldn't wish that on our worst enemy.

Retrieving up to five items, our contestants have time to sew and stitch and cut and accessorise. Five hours, to be precise. Five hours here, five minutes there, five items from the cupboard. Anyone spotting a recurring motif?

Just when we think this show is going to be The Junior Sewing Bee, only with even more colour and exuberance, there's a surprise. Literally, the screen flashes up "Surprise!" What is going to happen? A quiz for a bonus item? An extra restriction on the costume? Ah, nothing so tedious. It's the episode's guest judges walking on set, the same ones who set the challenge in the first place. And, for work restriction reasons, the children take time away from their designs to ask some interesting questions.

Style It Out Judges Ayishat and Jorge look at Andre and what he's done to Harry Styles.

Later, there is a "spot challenge", billed as "another chance to impress the judges". It's a related challenge to the main one, a quick task to make a particular item in a unique style. And against the clock, naturally. For Hallowe'en episode, the task was to create a scary bag – one had painted skull decals, another looked like it had eyes on it. For the pop stars episode, it was to style Harry Styles.

The children don't work alone. Each has a "seam team", a couple of grown-up helpers who can make sure the sharp implements are handled safely, and nobody comes to any harm. The team are also able to explain some of the fashion lingo, like "deadstock" – clothes that are out of season and won't be sold by the oh-so-trendy retailers. When the show needs to cut some time, clothes in the closet tell bad jokes.

Style It Out A contestant's mother models the pop star look.

Eventually, five hours have passed, and the clothes are ready to wear on the runway. How will they look? Will they meet the brief, will they wow the judges? "Excellent, yes, yes," the perpetual answers. The best outfit wins the Golden Coat Hanger and a pass to the next round.

And, with this being a CBBC production, everyone got two chances to get their Golden Coat Hanger – dressing themselves first time, dressing a relative in the second heat. Judges pick wild cards when one person wins both their heats. The two semi-final winners progress, and another wild card from the judges. The final winner gets to present their work at London Fashion Week.

Style It Out The Golden Coathanger, and its close personal friend Emma Willis.

Style It Out is the annual commission for creative arts, following directly from Best Young Artist – and effectively a replacement for it. But where Best Young Artist had a clear story in each episode (inspiration – creation – review), we rather fear that Style It Out misses the beginning of the tale. The show can be a little bit too cluttered – there's making clothes and the relationships and the extra challenge and jokes. Coco Chanel once suggested that the most important part of her creative process was to take something out; Style It Out may have been better if it had one fewer idea competing for our attention.

On the positive side, we found Style It Out to be very effective – and very welcome – propaganda against gender and age stereotypes. Making clothes is not just the realm of grannies. Sewing and haberdashery is not just for women. Contestants, judges, models were all lads and lasses in roughly equal number.

Better, Style It Out was bold. It was utterly fearless, and celebrated the young designers' confidence and exuberance. The designers were true to themselves, making no apologies for their work. The final – particularly the second part – was a celebration of what these youngsters could do. For the final, the task was to make two outfits in ten hours, with the assistance of other designers from the Style It Out series.

In the event, the winner was Lyra, she had been absolutely solid throughout the series, turning very creative ideas into actual clothes. The winner's challenge was to create a costume for Molly Rainford (from Nova Jones and Strictly Come Dancing) to be an astronaut. We followed the process from start to finish: trawls round charity shops and vintage stores, a props department, and calling in a few favours from the producers.

Style It Out Snapshots from Lyra's fashion show.

Molly's outfit was the centrepiece of a full show, all the pieces and creations Lyra had designed during the series, in front of a crowd of influencers and journalists – and the entire roster of Style It Out competitors. Very much a heartwarming celebration of a remarkable talent; and more generally of what creative young people can do if we let them be true to themselves.

In other news

- Doctor, I feel like a genius.
- Take two garnets and come back tomorrow.

That's Genius David Tennant is the big signing for ITV's Genius Game, a version of Korean smash The Genius. According to the press release, "contestants will participate in a host of never before seen games all designed to not only test their intellectual acumen but encourage them to carefully and creatively use the art of manipulation to outfox their opponents and win a cash prize". David Tennant – you'll know him from Doctor Who, Comedy World Cup, Broadchurch, and Dramarama – plays "The Creator", a ringmaster to explain what is happening. From what we've seen of the original, we are certainly going to need someone to explain what is happening!

It's not a quiz, there aren't general knowledge question. It's not a comedy show like Taskmaster. There are no physical elements, it's not The Crystal Maze. Must we draw an analogy with existing games? This isn't close, but take the really clever people who take a pass into the last quarter of The 1% Club, give them some competitive-slash-cooperative challenges to see how they think and interact under pressure, and a little dash of the social engineering element of The Traitors. (But frankly, we could almost describe it as The Wheel only without the celebrities, or the music, or the wheel.)

Genius Game comes to ITV in due course; if it's shown weekly, we hope to give it a regular spot in this column.

Vote early, vote often Some big changes to the Eurovision Song Contest. The automatic qualifiers will perform – in full – during the semi-finals, which puts them on an equal footing with all the other performers. A much shorter voting window after everyone's performed, because they're going to open the lines when the performances start in the grand final. Rest of the World televoters get 24 hours to vote before the final, so folk in Australia Singapore and Japan and India can click online during daylight hours and not at 4 in the flamin' mornin'. No, wait, the Aussies are competing, so they have got to wait till stupid o'clock! Send caffeine to Perth!

But what of the songs? More on that topic next week, in our Inevitable Eurovision Song Contest Preview.

Lingo to jail, Lingo directly to jail The New York Times has filed a series of legal notices against games it claims are copying bits of the Wordle game it owns. Not just the name, but mechanics such as "green tiles to indicate correct guesses". Apparently, nobody had ever used green squares to indicate correct points in a guess-the-word game prior to 2020. Prior art doesn't exist, and certainly not in Thames Television's Lingo from 1988.

Lingo The rain in London is mostly green.

Quizzy Mondays

Something unusual on Mastermind, as a high-scoring loser comes back because a heat winner was unavailable. Given this second chance, Thomas Nelson qualifies for the final – perfect on Bobby Robson, just the one error on his general knowledge, and we remember he was perfect on GK in his heat. Very strong competition.

Very unfortunate for Scott Torrance, who was unavailable. Also for Sadie de Sousa, who finished second because her general knowledge was really difficult. Elliott Hooson and Sharon Chambers also did themselves proud.

University Challenge went down to a one-question shootout, where the first person to remember who wrote "Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter" would win the contest. Dan Grady won the buzzer race, and took the game for Manchester over Christ Church Oxford. Manchester set the tactics for the game: buzz early, risk the penalties. It worked early as they led 70-35, then failed as they fell to trail 65-70. There was never more than a bonus set between the teams after the music round, and a lucky guess of "Valencia" helped Manchester have a slim lead going into that final question.

If we've got the draw right, Manchester should face UCL in the semi-finals. Trinity Cambridge play Birkbeck next week, for the honour of losing to Imperial London.

Channel 4 has new thrills for Sunday: Celebrity Bake Off is back, followed by Hunted. Wednesday brings us the final for Bring the Drama (BBC2). Friday sees the series finales of Celebrity Big Brother (VM2 and ITV), Great Local Menu (BBC2), and Celebrity Mastermind (BBC1).

Next Saturday, Gladiators and Saturday Night Takeaway return, the latter with McFly, the former with top legend Legend. The 1% Club also returns, and if the original format is wearing thin, try watching with audio description.

Picture credits: Talkback (a Fremantle label), Lion TV Scotland, Remarkable Entertainment (part of Banijay), Thames.

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