Show Discussion: Armchair Detectives

By | November 19, 2017

Weekdays, 2:15pm,
BBC1

BBC1’s newest star of daytime Susan Calman presides as three armchair detectives attempt to solve a murder in a fictional Scottish village by watching an investigation play out in front of them.

You can definitely see the appeal behind commissioning such a show – detective dramas are massively popular (Father Brown is about twice as popular as any quiz in the slot, for example) and people like quizzes so why not combine the two? The potential downside of this, of course, is that you annoy fans of one by mixing it with the other.

Despite the people coming up with the cases being prominent Bar members, I actually don’t know all that much about the format and how it works, so fingers crossed it’s good. If you watch it, let us know what you think in the comments.

Watching Telly: Weakest Link for CiN

By | November 17, 2017

Friday 17th, 10pm,
BBC2

It didn’t seem worthwhile giving this a separate discussion post given it’s a “one-off” and likely to be slightly different in nature to a run of Saturday night shows it hopes will happen, so here is the report from the recording bumped up for tonight’s show. If you have any questions, I will endeavour to answer them afterwards.

This review almost didn’t happen at all – the trains had all stopped after an “incident” at Ally Pally which would have taken hours to sort, but we were able to alight at New Barnet Station where – incredibly – there was a bus waiting outside that went straight to Borehamwood so I could avoid Kings Cross and St Pancras altogether. The circumstances were tragic but the opportunity was useful.

Anyway this is the “one-off” Children in Need revival of Weakest Link, I will presume you know what Weakest Link is and how it works – I really like Weakest Link as a concept, it’s fun to play and fun to watch. I will bump this thread up in time for Friday 17th 10pm where this will be going out on BBC2 as it’s probably not worthy of a full-on Show Discussion Post, but I will be able to add more gossipy stuff. This write-up will not spoil the outcome of the game but should give a taste of what to expect.

  • Studio Manager pro-tip: Please don’t ask your audience to hand their coats in to the cloakroom then make them wait outside a studio in single degree temperatures for ten minutes. It has a habit of annoying them.
  • Unfortunately the legendary Peter Simon, who used to warm up the show, isn’t doing it. Instead some guy who I will politely suggest reminds me of a workmate.
  • It looks like the same set as before come out of storage after five years. HOWEVER, unusually for a celeb special, they aren’t using the telestrators, it’s back to the old wipe clean boards. Maybe they could have updated them to tablets, I don’t know.
  • If you were hoping for a graphical refresh you are going to be disappointed.
  • Seven celebs, the names are already out so I’ll list them here: Rylan, Chizzy off of Holby and Strictly, Kem off of Love Island, Giles Coren, cook Rosemary Schrager, Maya Jama from Cannonball, John Thomson from The Fast Show. They were all pretty good value. They took the game quite seriously, with a fair amount of mucking around during the downtime, as well as hardcore banking strategy chat. Surprisingly useless at the “pretend to write the name for thirty seconds or so so we can get the shots” bit.
  • And then there’s Anne, who we shall get to in a minute.
  • I absolutely hate the money chain. I hate the way it looks and I hate the way it plays. £20, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1500, 2500. This feels extremely cheap for a charity edition where most of the play is going to be in the lower levels. In every other version of the show, played by 7-9 players, at the very least the bottom rung is 1/50th of the top rung, and four rungs in, where most people would consider it worth banking, 1/5th. There is no way that £20 rung, at 1/125th of the top rung, should be there. It ought to be swapped for £750 or even £1,000. Weakest Link is about trying to square a circle of wanting to be efficient with balancing risk and reward, in this case it feels like you have to put in a lot more effort to get any sort of worthwhile money. The original show still managed to make £200 feel like a wodge of cash even when Deal or No Deal was in it’s stride – here not so much. When they were doing 7-player shows ten years ago it went £50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 1750, 2500 which felt like decent progression. Why change it?
  • Rounds start at 2:30 and reduce 10 seconds each round, the final round is 1:30. But in another “feels a bit cheap” thing, that final round is not doubled or trebled. So £15k max, with a special thing happening at the end you could probably predict.
  • There’s a second issue and that is Anne Robinson isn’t as fast as she used to be and the questions seem longer. Now there are some mitigating circumstances, which I won’t spoil, but there were only 11 questions in the first round. Even with the dead wood removed, it was still taking 10+ seconds to resolve a question. This needs to be much faster.
  • The barbs and quips were decent and got laughs (Giles and Rylan get ribbed for the failure of 500 Questions and Babushka, which made me laugh if nothing else), and doubtless this is what will sell the show more than the quiz I suspect. But these things are symbiotic and you need to get through the questions to give people the chance to give stupid answers to feed the barbs.
  • The first two rounds, including some promo stuff, took the best part of 1h 40m to do. This is sloooow. Thankfully the last five rounds were all done within 90 minutes.
  • I have been of the belief for about two years that if you want to reboot Weakest Link, you should get Robert Rinder to front it. Having watched it first hand with the original host I’m not sure my opinion’s changed that much to be honest.

A Bother’s Bar campaign

By | November 15, 2017

Years ago we did a half-arsed campaign to bring back The Krypton Factor. Success (years after we forgotten we did it).

It’s now time to get incredible Korean reality game The Genius Game on Netflix, and you might be able to make it happen by suggesting it. Only the form will do.

If you want to fill in the gaps, why not pick other Korean shows such as Running Man, Crime Scene, Society Game et al? This isn’t as stupid as it appears, Netflix has dipped a toe into subtitled Korean entertainment. There is certainly no guarantees – there may be rights issues, but it’s certainly well thought of from people who search for it so maybe, maybe there is a chance. And if it ends up being successful, who knows?

Pick of the Christmas Pops

By | November 14, 2017

It’s the middle of November and all the big gameshow host CDs are out now (apart from Alexander Armstrong’s one which is out on the 24th). So what better time to see how they’re all doing than with that barometer of buyer’s taste – the Amazon charts!

Bradley Walsh – When You’re Smiling

  • #11 in CDs and Vinyl
  • #11 in digital music > Pop
  • #21 in bestsellers

Jason Manford – A Different Stage

  • #84 in CDs and Vinyl
  • #4 in digital music > Opera and Vocal
  • #575 in bestsellers

Anton du Beke – From the Top

  • #98 in CDs and Vinyl
  • #173 in digital music > Pop
  • #699 in bestsellers

Nick Knowles – Every Kind of People

  • #133 in CDs and Vinyl
  • #58 in digital music > Pop
  • #196 in bestsellers

Shane Richie – A Country Soul

  • #111 in CDs and vinyl (but #2 in Country)
  • #91 in digital music > Pop
  • #341 in bestsellers

Alright? Not ‘alf.

Edit: We go live to a live update from our chart correspondent Gwilym James:

Show Discussion: Don’t Say It, Bring It

By | November 12, 2017

Weekdays, 7pm (and 7:30pm)
Dave

For a long time now Dave have been at the forefront of taking slightly unusual show ideas and making a success of them (School of Hard Sums! Go 8 Bit! Taskmaster!).

However I’m slightly baffled by this commission of a format that’s been knocking around for years and years. Jason Byrne (off of Wild Things) rocks up at various town centres and asks people questions for cash money. But the catch is they can’t say the answers, they have to bring them.

We’ve long been sceptical of vox-pop based shows, feel much too light and inessential, and the only one that’s really worked is Billy On The Street which mainly works because each segment is effectively a half-improvised comedy sketch usually with a well-thought out core, you don’t really watch for the quiz, that’s just the conduit for the comedy.

Jason Byrne will certainly shout at people I’m sure but it remains to be seen how much of a must-watch this will be. In the plus column, there are good people behind it and Dave’s hit rate with this sort of thing is quite high, so we won’t write it off until we’ve seen it. It’s twenty episodes so it looks like they’re going to burn through them in two weeks as they seem to be showing two episodes back to back.