Well this almost didn’t happen. As you may have been aware, there was a lot of snow about on Sunday, and whilst I was quite fortunate in that trains to and from Cambridge weren’t affected too badly, loads of production staff (and Phillip Schofield!) were delayed by several hours (six, in the floor manager’s case). The handful of us that managed to turn up for today’s early recording were told we could wait for several hours at BBC Elstree, abandon and go home, or in a last minute intervention, go and see the Top of the Pops Christmas and New Year’s Specials being filmed over at the other Elstree as they were spectacularly short of audience with the opportunity to come back later. Well obviously I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be part of such an august institution and so look out for the most middle-aged and innappropriate TOTP audience ever split amongst the two festive specials. It was a fun experience and what must be a health and safety nightmare, with thanks to the studio assistant regularly manhandling me and other members out of the way of the cameras. The sets quite good.
Anyway thanks must go to SRO who were pretty exemplary thoughout, e-mailing us to thank me for turning up, and then sending another e-mail to thank us for staying. We were also let into Elstree early to get out of the snow. You don’t get this with Applauseshite.
We were actually let in during the last part of two shows being filmed that day, with a very quick turnaround between the episodes. The set is different – one large video wall at the back, one big desk, the audience in the round like previous (although it looks like with less seats), room for 400 in the audience bleachers. These were practically empty. The walls of the set are now space-esque, there’s a large U-style pen surrounding the floor. There are two large top down screens at the front of the set for the contestants.
To be honest after a nightmare day, this initially felt and sounded like a nightmare record – it took about 20 minutes to load the iPads up with a question that had been thrown to their family and friends because of various technical difficulties. I almost didn’t bother staying for the second record. Glad I did though.
The format has changed signficantly. The five gold rings are lined up tunnel style for each pair each side of the desk. Each pair will take it in turns to answer a question. In round one they will use the largest ring worth £1,000, round two the second largest ring for £2,500, then £5,000, £7,500 and £10,000. However they only get one thirty-second go at each question. If they get it right the money is banked. If they fail, the other team get fifteen seconds to move the ring to wherever they think the answer is. If they are right they take the money for themselves. If not the money disappears. So potentially you could win £52,000. Although they say £50k for simplicity presumably. This is actually a pretty solid move, it’s no longer two games of solitaire and ties going into the final (which otherwise hasn’t changed) ought to be much rarer.
Questions continue to be quite creative, even if there were probably quite a few that fell into ‘what’s a third of this?’ territory. There was quite a difficult one where the Ashes had been scaled up to the size of the FA Cup and the contestants had to guess what size the Ashes would be if it was scaled down to the correct size.
The floor seems much more unimpressive in real life than it looks on television. For all its apparent technical wizardry, and the boast that “just a single pixel had to be in for it to win”, the floor (or whoever decided the floor) gave what was considered after adjudication as the wrong result for a close call and they had to reshoot.
The clock is now represented by a circle around the floor turning from blue to red rather than the 30 strip lights from last year.
You can still Flip the Floor and you can still ask your team of five (differently to previous this time the team’s guesses stay on the floor whilst you have your guess). The floor is turned off whilst they do their deliberating, but interestingly it looked like, glancing across, that in games involving animation the question on the pad isn’t animated.
There’s new clock music and it’s pretty good, more in keeping with the style of the theme rather than the Dutch Sonic 3-style music they used last time (which I liked). However the sonar reveal is now just an endless procession of boring whooshes that goes on for too long (no issue with going round five or six times apparently), whilst it keeps last year’s electronic reveal sting for no discernable reason. Come on, pick a style and stick to it.
I always love watching Phillip Schofield in a TV environment and tonight didn’t disappoint. There are so few people who make hosting something like this look so effortless who can also deal with entertaining an audience as well. And we always enjoy watching Mark Olver as warm-up.
They’re still pushing the app because there’s nothing TV people like more than hidings to nothing. I think Phil is aware that most people are much happier pointing at the telly though.
I think it feels like a better game this time round, although whether this will translate to a more highly watched show I don’t know.
What lies behind the green doors of the FABLED Bother’s Bar Game Night Advent Calendar? GAMES! That’s what, and on Saturday night a panel of seven real life people will take on an audience of potentially billions to try and become the Bother’s Bar Festive Game Night Champion.
We will as ever be playing the best of the Jackbox Party Packs (spoiler: we’re starting with Guesspionage), there’s always room for the audience member with the fastest finger to play on behalf of Team Audience, and the audience have a very important role to play in judging the answers and playing along. So get your second screens out and join us! Point your browsers to www.jackbox.tv and enter the room code to join in LIVE. There may be a small delay when watching the Youtube stream, so keep an eye on your phone to see the questions and an eye on the stream for the results!
Hey everyone, don’t forget it’s Bother’s Bar’s Festive Game Night on Saturday. Join us live from 9pm for fun, games AND PRIZES! (There are no prizes).
Because I’m so bored I want to cry I thought I’d go through recent top searches that have led to Bother’s Bar and collect the answers in one place, like a sort of trivia thing:
Eurovision algorithm This is largely irrelevant now because they changed the way it works, but the idea was to use the jury votes from a dress rehearsal the night before to determine the order the votes are revealed to try and make the night as exciting as possible. We wrote about it – with graphs! right here.
How do they remove the coins on Tipping Point?
Easy. Ben stalls for time whilst a man runs on and removes them. This is edited down.
Where is the Taskmaster House?
It’s in Chiswick and you used to be able to find it online, although the Foxton’s link from this post doesn’t work any more. Very poor insulation rating though, so perhaps don’t move in until the Spring.
Medieval Mario Party Raven returns, although it’s not clear why it was ever axed in the first place, with a new slightly speedier tournament over three weeks rather than four and also, you cannot not notice, a new Raven in the form of River City‘s Aisha Toussant. Time will tell if she can make the role of guide and mentor her own but if the clips we’ve seen are anything to go by the style and intonation are practically identical to James Mackenzie’s to a spooky degree. Mackenzie also turns up to pass the mantle on, presumably as fan service.
We will have to wait and see to see if the concessions to modernism work well – by the sounds of it the lives system has gone (although gold rings will continue to keep score), as has The Way of the Warrior, each group is only four people and every three days a winner is found to go through to the final.
Will it be fair to judge this as someone in his mid-30s? Perhaps I will need to ask my nephew for his opinion. We should still be able to remark on the quality of the games and production though. So if you end up watching it, let us know what you think.
Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas! Join us next Saturday night 9pm until around half eleven for another Bother’s Bar Game Night. What will be behind the doors of the Bother’s Bar Advent Calender? GAMES and INTERACTIVITY that’s what! Join in as my panel and audience battle it out to win the night, and we’ll be showcasing another exciting Arbitrary Final.
Most of the panel slots are taken but there may still be room so if you want to be a panellist get in touch. We’re especially interested in new blood this time round to join the BB streaming family, so if you’ve watched it before and it looked like fun please hit me up. Otherwise I shall look forward to seeing you all next week.