Weekend Miscellany

If you want to appear on Fifteen to One they are looking for contestants. And why shouldn’t you? It’s not as if anybody’s watching if you make an idiot of yourself. Send an e-mail off to 15to1apps@remedyproductions.tv by March 31st. You might win £40,000.

In other news, BBC 3’s very exciting I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse starts soon. It’s basically Dawn of the Dead: The Game Show as a group of contestants run round a shopping centre for a week doing tasks and making decisions but one touch from the zombie horde means you get eaten. I hope the real contestants aren’t quite so drama school:


Finally I’ve been asked when we’re “doing” Mario Kart 8 again. Next Saturday evening is the answer, details to come during the week. You will need the DLC, so you’ve got the next week to acquire it. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do Jackbox in a way that works for us, but don’t worry I haven’t forgotten.


So here’s fun, from next week it looks like Deal or No Deal is moving to 3pm where it meets Tipping Point and The Link. The winner gets to play whoever wins out of Cambridge United and Manchester United in the next round.

We don’t quite understand the logic here although I’m sure there is one – DOND is currently sitting at 700-800k in its 4pm slot against (the tanking, as we suspected might happen) Mel and Sue. Traditionally against Tipping Point in the slot DOND loses about 300k and they move straight over to Ben Shephard. TP is by no means a Bargain Hunt-esque monster, but it’s performing admirably well in a slot it doesn’t deserve and it’s being missed as a lead-in for The Chase. Meanwhile Antiques Road Trip is pushing 3m, and Pointless is regularly getting 4.2m (which is making The Chase‘s 3.3m-ish looking lacklustre even though by any other standard it’s a huge number to be getting regularly).

The replacement is the mildly entertaining Shipping Wars UK (where people bid against each other to make deliveries, it’s Postman Pat as competitive reality show) and Couples Come Dine With Me.

And then there’s The Link. It’s probably too early to suggest your second favourite new show (certainly not mine) is just the latest show to overperform in its first series and underperform subsequently, but for all the idea that the second series was going to iron out some of the issues of the first one I’m not seeing it. The first round still has too many situations where your reward for getting the link right is to literally directly benefit everyone else (hint to format designers! If your two options are not “do something to benefit me” or “screw someone else over” you don’t have any strategy or any decisions with any meaning, and getting the contestants to talk about their irrelevant decisions doesn’t suddenly make it in any way strategic.) Round two is still decided on basically what sort of mood the clue setters are in when they set the questions. The Superlink is a fine idea in theory but so rubbish in practice – the reason there aren’t many winners? Because sometimes they’ll give a list which requires a straight answer, and sometimes they’ll give a list where they want something more specific but don’t tell you this, so when the contestant gives a completely reasonable and technically correct response it’s judged wrong and they don’t get the time back, once or twice a game. It could really do with the “have another go” rule on Only Connect. It makes me SO MAD, BUT WHO AM I TO ARGUE WITH YOU, THE PUBLIC? It’d do a quarter-mill less without Mark Williams’ eccentric hosting.

Afternoons from next week, there.

You Don’t Know Javascript

OK, I know there are some You Don’t Know Jack fans here, in lieu of other news you might find this quite interesting – a couple of guys are trying to convert the really old 90s CD ones (the EU versions as you can buy the US ones freely on Steam) to Javascript and hence browser playable. Currently they have some of the French demo disc converted and playable, I gather they’d quite like the UK demo disc (if anyone still has it, and that’s as opposed to the full game). It’s in early stages right now, take a look if you want, and here’s their Twitter.

In other news Bear Grylls is going to host a celebrity endurance elimination show Mission Survive which basically sounds like 71 Degrees North in a jungle.

Карточное безумие

Hey! Do you remember the Russian guys who do a super-super-slick Youtube version of 21 Questions Wrong called Against the Flow (which we wrote about here)?

Well here’s a pilot of their Skype version of Play Your Cards Right. Similarly quite nice graphics but not quite as engaging to watch as AtF because of the slower pace of the game and the language difference. As a show, the benefit of real giant playing cards can’t be understated. Still, десять из десяти for effort as Google Translate says. They’ve suggested they’d like to do international editions, so keep an eye out.

The episode has some rather unusual strategy employed, although we quite like it when the contestant goes “wheeee!” when the cards go their way. People should have done that on the Brucie version.

POLL RESULTS LIVE! and Afterparty #bbpoll

Join us LIVE at 9pm for the results of the UKGameshows.com/Bother’s Bar Poll of 2014. The link will propagate on Twitter and you will be able to watch the live stream here. At the end of the broadcast the written report will go up on UKGameshows.com and the voting percentages here, like in the last few years.

If you have questions tweet them with #bbpoll and we’ll try to answer them if we remember to check Twitter.

Here is the recording and here is the final report. Join us after the cut where I’ll post voting percentages and the results of other polls we conducted during our broadcast.

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Watching Telly: You’re Back In The Room

ybitrlogoNew hypnotism game show hosted by Phillip Schofield and Irish hypnotist Keith Barry. Interestingly it looks like Barry Jones from comic magicians Barry and Stuart was on hand as an off-camera consultant (I didn’t realise this until the warm-up Stuart Holdham pointed it out). It was filmed at ITV Studios (Studio One, studio fans). It is a Tuesday’s Child production.

  • The set is a large stage surrounded by LEDs. These are normally coloured purple. The large LED screen which forms the back of the stage will have the logo displayed and a back drop of swirling clocks – basically what you see above in fact.
  • Our five contestants sit on black chairs to the left of the stage.  There is kind of a separate area sectioned off to the right of the stage, but all the games will mainly play on the main bit of the stage.
  • Keith comes on and introduces himself and explains suggestion and hypnotism to the audience, that there was an audition tour and the contestants on tonight proved the most suggestible. He does a couple of simple things with the audience – hands getting heavy, hands getting stuck together, that sort of thing. Some of the audience come across as very suggestible and are  told they should apply if it comes up again.
  • Phillip says he believes it and wouldn’t be involved with the show if he thought it was fake. Also that he’s not going to let Keith try it on him,he doesn’t think he’s very suggestible. I thought the contestants were very convincing (although one thing nagged at me at the end of the show which I’ll go into), the big question (and really the success of the show is going to depend on it) is how cynical the audience are and if they’ll buy into it, and these days they are very cynical.
  • Under law they can’t show you Keith putting the contestants under in case he puts the whole audience under, so you see a brief clip of him doing it off-stage. Or you see the contestants zonked out on some sofas at any rate. We are told we should applaud and encourage the contestants by the warm-up but not do anything to break their trance although I’m not quite sure what if anything could be done. There were also substantial breaks between rounds so he could top them up, apparently.
  • That’s the set-up, here’s the format: the contestants will play four games to build up a cash pot of up to £25,000 which they will play for in the fifth and final game. The show is set-up to be non-threatening and light-hearted, as such the money is suggested to be a “thank you for participating” rather than anything seriously lifechanging. The  contestants don’t know each other, they’ll split the money equally.
  • Right, I think the set-ups are unique to each episode but there are still episodes left to film. To avoid any future participants getting too many ideas as to what might happen to them I’ll detail the games used but I’ll only detail the hindrances for the first one and keep the rest a surprise for broadcast, as I’m sure you’ll pick up the idea. I am aware this might feel like a bit of a cop-out, reader, perhaps I will come back to this once all the shows are in the can.
  • In the first game, the contestants have to make sculptures out of clay based on a word given to them in envelopes. At the end of the time all the other contestants will try and guess what it was they were trying to sculpt, and correct answers win £1,000 for the pot. However, AND SLEEP (the studio goes all dark blue at this point), one contestant will believe that the clay is a sort of cream that makes you look younger, one will believe the clay smells of dog poo, one will believe they are a famous French sculptor who is disgusted by the poor tools that are given and will frequently stop and listen to a song on the radio. The fourth contestant believes that all the sculptures everyone else is making are obscene. The final contestant will, whenever he hears the theme from the film Ghost (which comes on when the French one turns the radio on), he will immediately rush over to the other guy and pretend to be Patrick Swayze in that famous pottery scene. When they’re told they’re “back in the room”, the LED backdrop changes to a picture to set scene and indeed be a room.
  • So a lot of the elements interplay with each other, and it works and is funny, helped along immeasurably by Schofield playing along with and frequently up to the contestants. Keith is off-stage throughout so it’s up to Philip to (attempt to) keep control until the klaxon goes to end the game.
  • In game two the contestants must blow up balloons for a children’s party. Two of them blow them up, two tie them to sticks and one of them must take them and put them in a stand. And when a balloon bursts they must hide behind a table. Something very funny happened here before the game starts which they probably are not going to be able to show in a primetime broadcast, but if they don’t I’ll tell you what it was when it comes round. Each balloon is worth £250.
  • Game three is The Music Quiz (it was suggested that this has come up before). Ten music questions worth £500 each, each one subtly related to the effect they’ve been put under. In addition, one of them plays a bonus round, an additional set of ten questions only they will answer (but with everyone else still doing crazy things in the background) again worth £500 for the pot each.
  • Game four involved serving dinner and drink to popular TV chefs – each one should have meat, mashed potato, gravy, carrots and a glass of champagne, each one for each chef worth £250. Amusingly the contestants got into their roles before Schofield had a chance to introduce the game and the celebrities and a yellow raincoat but ever the professional took it in his stride and just ad libbed around the chaos. One contestant loses a shoe and it takes production several minutes to find it.
  • The final. The room is set up with laser boundaries, one of which turns off briefly (acting as a door). On the left side of the room is a massive trough holding 500, maybe more golden balls. On the left side of the room is an empty trough, and all the contestants have to do is get as many balls into the empty trough as possible. Each ball is worth 1/250th of the prize fund (but rounded up to the next fiver, so if they built up £22k, say, they’d play for £90 a ball rather than £88). Contestants have two minutes thirty to do this, a new member entering the room every twenty seconds and then all of them for the remaining time. But of course all of them have been given something to make it more difficult (one is a pirate who has forgot his wooden leg, another believes the floor is made of ice and so on).
  • At some point during proceedings Keith may give them new suggestions to replace the ones they were given.
  • Whatever value of balls in the trough at the end is what they’ll collectively take home, and if it’s not all of what they’ve built up it’s likely to be most of it.
  • And that’s it, a bit of a mammoth record at five hours but it should edit really well.
  • I thought the contestants were convincing, they certainly stayed in their roles well after the games until Keith “reset” them. EXCEPT. Except. At the end of the final game where they seemed to drop the suggestion pretty damn quickly after the klaxon went, and Keith didn’t remove it until several minutes later. It’s very possible I missed something, and I’m probably more sceptical than most, but I did notice and it did jar. Maybe when the lasers dropped the “room” stops existing and so does the suggestion. I don’t know.
  • And that is going to be question that hangs over the show. It certainly is funny and it certainly should edit well, and it’s fun, but these days a lot of people are going to think “is it staged, and if it is why am I bothering?” and a decently large segment of the audience are going to proclaim it is anyway.  I don’t think there’s going to be a middle ground here, it’ll be a massive Paul McKenna-style hit or a massive flop. I think I’m pulling for the former.