RIP Bruce Forsyth

He was 89.

Here’s a very early episode of Play Your Cards Right, probably my favourite show of his, from Youtube in tribute.

A Question of Sport is on tonight

Since we mentioned it in the Barrel Scraping post, the new hip and fresh A Question of Sport starts tonight on BBC1 in the new hip and fresh timeslot of 10:45pm (except for people in Northern Ireland). It is then repeated on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Friday (except for people in Wales), which I valiantly missed when talking about this on Twitter earlier, ahem.

Of note: the stripey Tron-style set which looks a bit like the current set of Des Chiffres et Des Lettres. There’s a preview clip of them setting it up on the AQoS page on the BBC.

Show Discussion: Cheap Cheap Cheap

Weekdays, 3pm,
Channel 4

And so as ever it comes to TV’s most innovative man Noel Edmonds to come up with something genuinely a bit different, which may well crash and burn but might also turn out to be massively entertaining. It’s a gameshow, set in Noel’s shop, but also has sitcom themes running through it.

We’ve often longed for a UK version of incredible Italian show Avanti Un Altro and for better or worse this might end up being the nearest UK equivalent. The general manager is Barry From Watford, who’s an established thing, and chaos is provided by other characters as well. I’m quite interested to find out how much is script and how much is off the cuff, because 30 episodes of 60 minutes would require a lot of writing.

Pairs of contestants must determine which of three items is the cheapest. Do it eight times in a row and they leave with £25,000. Get it wrong and they leave with nothing.

We can certainly see elements to take issue with from the start – that money ladder is all over the place in the top half, and it sounds like you have to decide to play on before you see the question which is stupid – there’s no jeopardy in walking away which they will if you have to gamble blind, you have to lure them in. It also remains to be seen whether people coming for a quiz get annoyed by the comedy and vice versa.

Despite all this we’re looking forward to finally watching it and have our fingers crossed for it, even if it might not quite work.

The Six Visceral Reactions

I was having a mildly entertaining conversation on Twitter last night regarding gameshow criticism and how often people are quite often initially wrong, started off with a link to the DS Forum re: the first series of The Chase.

It is often important to keep in mind the self-selecting nature of DS and Twitter, and what comes up represents the opinions of about five people total. The only real way to gauge what people think is with BARB. The truth will out eventually.

Naturally I’m just as guilty, although if I wasn’t right so often you’d have stopped reading by now, ahem. I work 8:45-7pm most days and between that and life events I have just as little time to watch things as everybody else, so really something has to be pretty good to warrant subsequent viewings. I’ve always tried to be constructive but it certainly doesn’t surprise me if the average viewer basically thinks “this is pretty good” or “this is rubbish, I’ll watch something else” and just gets on with their life. For me though I have, I think, one of six broad visceral reactions to any new show:

  • This is really very good. Something that grabs immediately, I can’t see the joins but I can see the logical reasons they’ve done what they’ve done. Examples: Millionaire, Weakest Link, Deal or No Deal, The Genius.
  • There’s something here but it’s not quite there yet. These are the most interesting shows because clearly there’s something worthwhile in the concept but you can easily think of ways the show could be better. I think most discussion-worthy shows fall into this category and examples would be most shows ITV have put out between 3pm and 6pm over the last ten years. Shows in this category are likely to be watched more than once even if I don’t go out of my way to do so.
  • It is perfectly competent and in being competent it is dull. Most BBC1 2:15pm quizzes of the last ten years. Shows in this category I’m happy to leave to the whims of BARB and commissioners.
  • This really ought to be better. It’s dull or someone’s clearly overlooked something which seems quite obvious or both. Alphabetical.
  • It was worth a try, but it doesn’t work. I think it’s worth celebrating innovation even if clearly it doesn’t really work on screen which is why when things like Sell or Swap happen, which ended up being really very poor television, you can at least understand why it was worth a try.
  • I don’t understand why it was commissioned. Examples: Letterbox, Babushka.

I have never worked in television, I have a proper job, and I’ve never been especially creative. I would be rubbish at having to devise something. But I do quite enjoy looking at something and toying with it which is one of the tenets of Bother’s Bar really.

Barrel scraping

Don’t worry there are new and interesting shows to talk about next week.

However this caught my eye whilst trawling the tickets sites, from the BBC it’s the new A Question of Sport logo!

I’m slightly surprised that in one of the things they wanted to do when the BBC outsourced this new series (to BBC Studios) is they wanted to freshen it up a bit and appeal to a younger crowd. And yet Sue Barker, Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson are still fronting it. Perhaps they will wear backwards baseball caps.

It’s easy to mock TV OAP A Question of Sport, but in its defense they usually have one or two mildly intriguing and different rounds/”homages” many weeks. Although leading with the one-minute round is nonsense, obviously. BBC Studios will apparently be offering “clever creativity, smart updates and new content”.

Crystal Maze is back 25th August

At 8pm, which is interesting. This is the civilian series.

When the time comes I’ll probably just bump the old CM post up so the conversations can continue.

Of note: it’s up against Only Connect. Nerd off!