Dale’s Great Getaway in the sky

By | April 18, 2018

Saddened to hear about the death of Dale Winton tonight, he was 62. There had been some speculation for a while as to why he hadn’t been on TV recently, but had recently been doing voiceovers for Channel 5 clip shows.

Best known for long running stints on Supermarket Sweep and In It to Win It and various lottery shows as well as lesser remembered shows such as The Other Half and 1000 to 1, nevertheless we honour him now with his legendary music video, which I’ve been informed hit the dizzy heights of number 72 in December 1994.

Show Discussion: Buy It Now

By | April 16, 2018

Weekdays, 5:30pm,
Channel 4

Inventors attempt to sell ideas to an audience armed with buttons and lights, and if at least one person reckons they’d buy the product it’s thrown open to a panel of buyers who may or may not make an order. Perhaps they should have called it Sell Me Out.

Given how well Dragon’s Den continues to perform it’s surprising more shows haven’t jumped on the pitching for business bandwagon – although perhaps Dragon’s Den pretty much has the market cornered – off the top of my head I can only think of The Money Pit. This one offers Brian Conley (my liking of Conley is not steeped in hipster irony) and neon. Will it be enough?

Show Discussion: The Crystal Maze

By | April 15, 2018

Fridays Sundays, 8pm,
Channel 4

No point giving Series 1 Block 3 a new post, so I’m bumping this one up instead.

(The post for the Celeb editions and the several hundred comments they generated can be found here).

And so we come to the year’s main event, the civilian run of The Crystal Maze.

Merely two months ago, 22 years of excitement and hope, bolstered by two years of advertising by other people, broke down to “I mean, it’s alright,” and “I really think this should be better”, now we meet the 15-episode civilian run with a sort of non-committal nod of the head and a disinterested “Oh, OK then.”

We’ve already seen most of the games. We get that Richard Ayoade is hosting seemingly under the impression it’s not very good. Can it turn things around in having fewer games to focus on the personalities of the contestants?

It’s probably wise not to read too much into the overnights for this (although it will be difficult to spin “around a million” into a positive), but watch-out instead for how many it adds in +7 catch-up as a trend, where it had been adding a great deal.

Apps Upside Your Head: Tenable

By | April 11, 2018


Out on iOS and Android on 12th April.

Copy supplied by publisher.

Well this is great, after a while in the wilderness, Barnstorm ARE BACK with an excellent Tenable app.

Like in Barnstorm’s best apps, it really nails the feel of the show. The main differences are AI Warwick doesn’t bang on about being in Star Wars and it works as effectively a large multiple choice quiz, presumably to get round parsing issues.

If that sounds worrying don’t be. Every question has a selection of 16 possible answers to choose from (other than the final where it’s twenty) and the wrong answers all feel very plausable in the time I’ve had with it so far, to the point where I was experiencing quite a lot of self-doubt throughout. You can ask the computer to nominate an answer as on TV, although whether it’s selection is predetermined (useful) or random (not so useful) I don’t know. Right now you have to scroll all the way to the right to select a nominate rather than use the three big N buttons above the question, but I’m assured this is going to be changed in an update.

You can play multiplayer either as a team or as a two player take-it-in-turns versus mode. The game boasts 300 questions (I don’t know how many are lifted from the show), you can buy question packs (right now they have 300 more questions total) and more free questions are promised at a later date. You get little facts with the right answers, some relevant, some not so relevant.

If you like the show, this is an easy recommendation. And it’s great to see Barnstorm get it basically right straight out of the gate again.

Pharoah ‘nough

By | April 10, 2018

I’ve recently started playing Assassin’s Creed Origins, the recent Egyptian themed instalment of the start-each-mission-with-the-best-of-stealthy-intentions-then-just-kill-everyone-in-a-sword-fight series.

There was a period about ten years ago, after The Da Vinci Code came out, where shows about ancient codes hidden by old civilisations were all the rage. In the US there was the disappointing Treasure Hunters (which appears to be on Youtube). In the UK we had Codex and The Search with Jamie Theakston which remains one of TV’s most underappreciated reality shows.

Unfortunately The Search isn’t on Youtube, I wanted to illustrate this post with at least a clip of the episode where they went to Egypt.

So instead here’s ten minutes of an episode of Games Republic with Trevor and Simon. And Charlie Brooker!

IFAP is still an unfortunate acronym, though.

By | April 7, 2018

Tonight’s revelation on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is that the popular Stephen Mulhern game segment In For A Penny is going to series.

This is very interesting. As we’ve pointed out time and again, vox pop shows just don’t get audiences, they look too light and cheap to be worth bothering with. IFAP is sparkier than most and Mulhern is good with the public, the question is can you sustain a four-minute segment -which may or not be being carried by the show surrounding it – across half an hour or whatever it’s going to be? Is an audience going to cope with 30 minutes of fast cutting? Or will they slow it down a bit and will it stop feeling like In For A Penny?

Answers in due course. There’s only really been one successful version of the idea, no it’s not Ready or Not, but Billy On The Street in the US, but really that’s half an hour of quite smart comedy masquerading as a quiz show. It’s telling that IFAP tends to play up comedy interactions rather than the game itself.