Things to see and do

Here’s a quick round-up of shows looking for audiences and shows looking for contestants:

To see:

  • It’s Not Me, It’s You – Panel game about dating and relationships hosted by Eamonn Holmes with team captains Kelly Brook and Vicky Pattison. “Expected guests include: Chris Kamara, Stacey Solomon, Nina Wadia & Chris Ramsey.” Films on the South Bank in June, tickets SRO.
  • 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown – filming at MediaCity 13th and 30th June and 4th August. Tickets SRO.
  • I don’t know if this has a title but it involves Noel Fielding and celebs doing and talking about Japanese gameshows for Channel 4. Not unfortunately a UK version of the I Survived a Japanese Gameshow format as far as I know. Films at MediaCity on 5th June (that’s next Sunday), tickets SRO.
  • Debatable – New BBC2 quiz (IIRC) where Patrick Kielty is joined by three celebrity guests who will try and help a player to win big money by debating the possible answers. Records variously in June at the Fountain, Wembley. Tickets Applause Store.
  • A League of Their Own – returns to Sky 1 AND SKY 1 HD, filming end of June and early July at Elstree. Tickets Applause Store.
  • QI – with new host Sandi Toksvig, recording 6th and 7th June. Tickets Applause Store.
  • Tipping Point: Lucky Stars – The show everyone just calls Celebrity Tipping Point films at the Fountain in Wembley in July. Tickets Lost in TV.

To do:

  • Debatable – if you’re quick you can still apply for this, lines close 3rd June.
  • Make Me an Egghead – They’re looking for people to join the Eggheads and they’re going to do it with a quiz tournament, not unlike Are You An Egghead? from a while back (in fact from the blurb it’s exactly the same show with a new title). You’ve got until 15th June to apply.
  • Think Tank – Coming back for a second series and looking for players, you’ve got until June 15th to apply.
  • Would You Like To Team Up With Your Dog? Probably not the usual thing I’d publicise but it sounds quite fun. Will require two weeks in the Lake District from the end of August. Will also require you to have a dog. Closing date 22nd July, here are the details.
  • The BBC have an open contestant call for many of their returning shows (Bargain Hunt, Mastermind etc), it’s usually worth having the BBC’s Take Part page bookmarked to see what’s going down.
  • ITV have got one as well, we’ll ignore The Chase and Tipping Point which are currently open, here are the juicier ones:
  • Ninja Warrior UK – if you think you’ve got what it takes you’ve got until 1st July to apply, filming in Manchester this Summer.
  • Cash Trapped – we’ve covered this, six contestants take part in a Bradley Walsh quiz to build up a pot, at the end of the show one of the contestants attempts to take the pot home by quizzing against the other five, if they win they win the money for themselves and everyone goes home, if they lose then the money is carried forward to the next episode but so are all the contestants. Based apparently on a game Bradley plays at home, his wife and kids currently remain in the cellar with a jackpot standing at £1.6m. You’ve got until 20th June to apply and don’t panic, this is only a ten episode run and they’re only filming for a week.
  • Spotless – Possessed looking for pairs of contestants for a pilot physical gameshow with high gunge and hi-tech elements, two things that don’t normally mix, results could be explosive. Closing date for this is 10th July.
  • Rebound – A twenty episode run this time round we understand. If you want to try and beat the bar you’ve got until 17th July to apply.
  • Go For It – Impress Stephen Mulhern with your unusual talents which will be put to the test for a cash prize. This had been doing the rounds under Challenge Me but has had a name change. 24th June.
  • Channel 4 have a Take Part page as well.


It’s 500 Questions Series 2!

Hurrah! It’s the return of last year’s most irrelevant new prime time quiz format 500 Questions on ABC in the US, this time round featuring a new host in Dan Harris (bad luck Richard Quest),  an apparently streamlined quicker format (30 question rounds, five second answering time) and tonight Ken Jennings opens the series in an exciting piece of stunt casting. And he’ll be there for all five episodes if he has any hope of getting to 500 questions, I imagine.

If you live outside the US you will need to use some dark arts to watch it.

A UK version with Giles Coren has been filmed and will air later in the year on ITV.


We weren’t expecting this to be a greatly exciting week in truth, believing the highlights to be For What It’s Worth starting again in the afternoons and 500 Questions starting in the US again tomorrow night but one the things I like most about running this place is the things that unexpectedly come up – we meant to have a look at Belgian Mole earlier in the year but didn’t want to get into it the same time as the Dutch version, and it’s brilliant, a really modern and stylish vision of the format as if it were just starting out and highly recommended.

But I was sent a link to something yesterday which I remembered watching when it went out 25 years ago and didn’t think I’d ever see again, the broadcast pilot of ITV’s Skyrunners from 1990, hosted by Andrew O Connor and featuring Gemma Craven and Suzi Quattro. It was evidently designed to be an ITV take on Treasure Hunt (women in helicopters! Clue solving!) which would have finished a year earlier but manages to be genuinely terrible in quite interesting ways that ambitious shows from the early 90s often are.


What’s kind of incredible is that they’ve actually basically invented La Carte Aux Tresors five years before La Carte Aux Tresors but where that has beautiful scenery, a sense of adventure and an amazing soundtrack here we have Austin Mitchell trying to solve clues without any information to go on (I love how Andrew basically has to just tell them the answers half the time), a theme tune that doesn’t really fit (although admittedly I quite like the incidental music) and some hilarious proto-ADR. I don’t get why the penalty for extra hints is only ten seconds when it takes minutes to fly anywhere – you might as well just take them early. The teams are working towards a puzzle which seems to have no consequence whatsoever.

Still it’s great news for fans of early Compaq laptops as two feature prominently.

With thanks to Gordon Donaldson for the tip-off.

Belgian Mole

A guest post by TV’s Dan Peake:

Hello Bothers Bar Community!

We put a lot of faith in the Dutch version of The Mole, and hold it in high regard. Earlier this year, the Belgians decided to have a crack at making a series and… and I’m going to whisper this… I think it’s actually better than the Dutch version.

In terms of style, it’s halfway between the UK and Dutch versions, the host mingles with the contestants often like in the UK show, and it retains the stunning cinematography of the latter (whilst sharing the clever games of both). The challenges tend to have a bigger ‘scale’ than that of the Dutch Mole, and I think it vastly improves the series. There are a couple of interesting twists on the gameplay that crop up during the series too, that I shan’t spoil.

The first series concluded back in March and is available to watch ungeoblocked if you have links to the shows. There aren’t subtitles, but you can pick up the vast majority of the games and how they work (although there are one or two you won’t, I’m still confused about couple).

The links to each individual episode are below. You can go to their website, but as the series is finished it is full of spoilers, so please don’t go there until you’ve watched it all.

The whole series has a wonderful cold open – you should watch the first 1 minute regardless – and there are some brilliant challenges mixed in. As I say, I think this is just as good, if not better, than the Dutch version. Belgium agreed, a second series is in production. Do let me know if you watch it, and let me know what you think. (No spoilers on the BB site, just in case). I had a ball watching this, I hope you do too.

It’s probably no surprise that the Belgians do it well seeing as it’s originally Belgian and they deliberately decided to end the original run it whilst it was very popular. Still, something I will be watching in the coming days and weeks, thanks Dan.

Show Discussion: For What It’s Worth Series 2

fwiwWeekdays, 2:15pm,

The first series of this was a bit of a surprise hit, we liked it – a Bullseye-esque combination of quizzing and antiques valuation, but crucially not an antiques quiz which I would have found dull, it wasn’t quite perfect but it had a pretty good mechanic at its heart and was entertaining, although there were definitely ways it could improve as a show.

It sounds like they’ve taken it apart, cleaned the bits and put it back together again – this new series features an audience to go with its rather large studio and a suggestion that it might be a bit harder to know what your selected antique is worth when offered the trade at the end to make it more of a decision. Looking forward to it.

Fun with fun

Just occasionally I like to step back from format discussion and share some things I have been watching and doing which you might find quite interesting and entertaining as well. Or you might not.

  • I’m currently playing the Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection on PS4 because I’m in quite the mood for pulp-y adventure stuff. What I’m mainly learning is that the first Uncharted is actually liable to be a bit dull with shooting galleries going on much longer than necessary when I mainly want abandoned places to explore (I had already played U3 which I enjoyed and I’ve got U4 to play when I’ve got time).
  • Following on from this I watched National Treasure: Book of Secrets on Amazon Prime Video last night, mainly because I wanted to watch Romancing the Stone and nobody’s got it. It’s actually a pretty entertaining treasure hunting film with mildly exciting lost city trap aspect to it and didn’t leave me a bit disappointed like the first one did. I almost started a Bother’s Bar Film Club a while ago (We’d be the new BBFC) looking at films with a varying ludology bent but I ended up being too lazy and they’d mostly be slasher flicks anyway. Perhaps I will wander down this avenue again at some point.
  • The other night by accident I discovered Grand Illusions on Youtube where an elderly guy named Tim talks about old toys and puzzles. Episodes are 5-10 minutes long and it’s been going for years and I’ve found myself dipping in and watching 5-6 in one go. Here’s quite an old one on trick boxes, I love these sorts of things but have no patience to actually solve them:

  • Apropos of nothing they’re making a The 7th Guest web series. The computer game was a 90s FMV classic, wandering round a haunted house solving puzzles made by Stauf The Toymaker (I think toymakers are a much underutilized branch of villainy). This is likely to be terrible but I’m compelled to watch it all the same.
  • Marble races! Jelle’s Marble Runs featured on the BBC website recently, they are surprisingly diverting:

  • But if marble race are just too real and exciting for you today I discovered virtual marble races! Evidently there must be a creator somewhere, probably on Steam, as the few videos I’ve seen from different people seem to use similar obstacles. Marvel at the machinery for about two minutes then long for a fast forward button. Music agreeably Lemmings-y. There must be a format in marble racing somewhere.