Show Discussion: The Crystal Maze

By | August 23, 2017

Fridays, 8pm,
Channel 4

Usually available to watch on Thanks 4 from Wednesday night.

(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.

190 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Crystal Maze

  1. Danny Kerner

    Ok it looks like i’m he first to comment.

    Aztec entrance is rather a dissapointment after all the rumours regarding a zipwire. We have 6 new games with the whole of Medieval being brand new. Two have callbacks to original series.
    The new one in aztec finally shows off the multi layers the producer was talking about in the press.

    The new one in Industrial is cleverly devised makig it a guaranteed lock in if you are crap at memory. Finally Jarhead has had its difficulty increased since the celebs with no confering introduced.

    Also the prize list does follow the celebrity structure.

    0-50 no prize except the Crystal in the box.
    50-100 – Middleish prize quoted by Richard
    100+ A better prize but still not good.

    Reply
  2. John R

    Some games are far too simplistic, others would be a challenge with less generous time limits!

    The Exit List game was poorly explained in my opinion, and didn’t really make good TV stuck in the same room for about 2 minutes! If I were to tweak it I would properly explain it better but make it an ALIS if 3 wrong codes were entered.

    Civilians that know each other doesn’t really seem to alter the dynamic too much, I don’t remember a contestant ever doing 2 games in a row in the original though…

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      The Exit List game managed to be simulataneously quite clever, but also yes quite dull but despite that managed to be directed quite dramatically, so well done I think?

      Otherwise I liked the aztec blocks game, although I’d have found an excuse to put the crystal on the far side to make them go over and under again.

      Entrance to Aztec a bit naff, seeing them come out the Industrial tunnel just feels really messy. Still, at least Richard climbed the wall.

      I probably would have made it more clear that they lost a crystal buying Bloke out, would have reshot RIchard saying they were going for a seventh Crystal at the end which is technically true but misleading.

      Messy messy messy. Not unentertaining, but still messy.

      Reply
      1. Danny Kerner

        Yeah and the buyback could of used the futuristic teleport instead of him just walking onto set. Who let him out of the cell. If & most likely will get another series I have tonne of ideas that could be implemented that I can suggest to the producers.

        Reply
      2. Danny Kerner

        Also for the first time this series we saw a true transition between Medieval & Industrial. The only one to date which is believable.

        Reply
    2. Will Tennant

      Exit List was good but at the same time, it sort of repeated the memory game that was in Aztec as well. That entrance into Aztec was shockingly bad, just felt like exiting the cave out of Jungle Run.

      Synonym game is classic Crystal Maze, difficult enough to make it a rare win I think.

      Reply
  3. Simon

    I still think some of the games are a little too easy to win – although we did have the rarity of a failure of the riddle game (according to the comprehensive Crystal Maze website – it was only lost twice out of 19 games in the original series).

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    1. Steve Williams

      Remind me to vote in the UKGS poll for the blank incomprehension at the concept of a penguin as my favourite moment of the year.

      Reply
  4. BigBen

    My two penneth:

    Casting – very stong – not the usual Channel 4 bunch of over-enthusiastic, act-first-shout-later wazoks that the Million Pound Drop etc. seemed to be looking for.

    Difficulty – One or two games that might have had slightly too long, but I would say this felt like a very strong team and they didn’t seem to excel at absolutely all of it. They communicated well and made a good effort at most of the games. Once we see some others attempt them, it would be interesting to have the discussion about difficulty again to see if anyone has changed their mind. Also, don’t forget the percentage success needs to be higher as no team will end up playing more than 10 games, it seems, whereas in earlier series you would be after the same number of crystals from about 14 or 15 games.

    Number of games – Ah well.

    Ayoade – Improving, I thought – better use catchphrases, I quite enjoyed the asides and gentle mocking of the team. He’s not O’Brien, but he’s doing a good job of making this his own character/show.

    Games – really good! Nice variety, not too many repeats, lots of play-along value and also ‘I wish I could try this’ games (ball-rolling; meteors…)

    I enjoyed it (but I might have cried if I hadn’t), but I had to keep reminding myself to be patient with it.

    Reply
    1. Little Timmy

      Ayoade, of whom I am externally a huge fan, is so nearly there but just needs to adjust a few of his gravitas/pisstaking dials to find the right mood. I found myself getting into the episode the most when he seemed genuinely excited for the team going on a hot streak during Medieval, rather than constantly ripping them to shreds. It is frustrating we can’t advise him how to behave for the next 14 episodes.

      ALIS probably becomes a ‘thing’ midway through the civilian run.

      I can’t get on board with the golden hand though, sorry. As a one-episode joke it would have raised a smile, but a harmonica it is not.

      The music and sound effects are very harsh and thematically all over the place. Pretty sure I can hear at least two of Sylvan’s go-to daytime quiz show synth pads in there, which equates to an automatic unsuspension of disbelief (AUOD). Terrible shame. Nick Foster should have been written a blank cheque to do this.

      When you’ve waited two decades for it though, you *will* tune in next week, and on that basis alone it survives. And this is even though my wife and I are currently box-setting the entire original run (currently up to s3e10), which really makes you see what it has to live up to.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I think Richard’s a funny and interesting man and whilst I don’t think you have to be a serious guide to the Maze I do think you have to be at least a sincere one – I don’t think anyone expects or indeed wants him to be a swashbuckling type in the Tudor Pole mode but all the “urgh this is just a rubbish TV show” doesn’t belong, it’s the show people have tuned in for. I am more than happy for him to take the piss out of the team dynamics and lack thereof, and he is funny doing so, but the bits I like best is when I sense he’s genuinely into what’s happening, usually by way of getting annoyed with the players.

        The nicest thing I can say about the music is that it largely washes over me. I’m increasingly irritated that they recorded the theme with a full orchestra but evidently didn’t bother recording the transition/dome music, which is just as iconic really if not more so.

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    2. Jon

      I think that explains the repeated use of pretty much the same games, as at least 4 of them would have been shot over the same two days. And usually they’d mix up episodes.

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      1. David

        Probably. Ed’s first few episodes (which I assume were aired in the right order to justify his early awkwardness) had the same issues.

        Reply
  5. Matt C

    I notice there’s an afternoon repeat on Sunday, did the celeb run have those?

    Reply
  6. Chris M. Dickson

    The show does a lot right and there are definitely some very good games in there. It’s hard for me to love it because of Ayoyade’s hosting style. I hope they give it another series and give Ayoyade a chance to host with a lighter touch, or some other host if Ayoyade isn’t interested in doing so; Channel 4, if the show’s performance is on the borderline, just think how much you’ll be able to get for the rights to repeat it in perpetuity…

    Reply
  7. Brig Bother Post author

    Well this was under a million at 8pm last night (0.92m). The caveats are I don’t think that includes +1 and HD, and that it will probably consolidate well.

    Still though.

    The product isn’t good enough.

    Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I think it might include HD, but exclude +1.

        The real issue is that other shows on at 8pm this week have been doing double that, much cheaper.

        Its saving grace is that the celeb specials added 800k+ in catch-up, which is why you can’t write it off just yet. I do think it paints a bit of a grim picture though with 15 weeks still to run.

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        1. Danny Kerner

          If it gets anywhere near 2M with all the Channel 4 & 4seven repeats throughout I would be happy. But if it heads anywhere near cheap cheap cheap numbers you can call this sadly a commercial failure. If C4 do drop this I do hope challenge or the BBC will pick it up.

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      2. Alex McMillan

        I would be beyond stunned if C4 spent so much effort hyping the return of their most loved show and decided to cut and run after 1 series. They’d have to at least give it a 2nd series to implement the QOL improvements.

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          Normally I’d agree, but these days once people have left they’re unlikely to return so improvements are largely irrelevent unless you can turn a profit from the viewers you’ve got, and where this ends is likely to be the high watermark for a subsequent series.

          I would like it to return but I’ve got no skin in the game, it should have been better from the off. They’ve had 22 years.

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    1. Sam Hodkin

      All in all, I thought it was better than the God-awful sleb versions, but it still isn’t quite there, 7/10 at best. I think scheduling has also harmed matters with TCM. Friday night is an awful night to put it on, but unfortunately there’s nowhere else to slot it into the schedule where it also won’t get creamed in the ratings. In an ideal world (with my flawed logic), I’d have slotted it post-Bake Off on a Tuesday. It might still struggle, but it has a strong lead-in.

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      1. Danny Kerner

        I do agree that maybe it could of been placed after bake off since they are showing 3 prewatershed versions throughout the week so it wouldn’t ease out the below 10yrs demographic.

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        1. Brig Bother Post author

          What I love about suddenly deciding they’re more interested in appealing to kids than the 4m+ who were excited enough to watch the Merchant celeb special is that I can’t think of anyone whose humour is more appealing to kids than Richard “Cbeebies” Ayoade.

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          1. Danny Kerner

            The only reason I said the under 10 demographic is I have read tweets on the CM Twitter feed and tonnes of parents who had young children have been watching the Maze (even the Celebrity versions) and have been creating their own games at home. I know they shouldn’t be watching the Celebrity due to risky jokes and unsuitable words by Richard & contestants but they have.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            Plus ca change, they knew full well this was likely to happen, the cash in book seems based around this very fact, which makes the choice of host more baffling.

    2. Brekkie

      C4 yet again killing their hits through scheduling. It should never have been put against the soaps.

      Reply
  8. xr

    5:50 till room entry.

    I experimented by replaying the presenter’s spiel in my head in o’Brien’s voice, and found it actually colours pretty much within the lines, with few exceptions; thus, it comes down to delivery. The mocking of players’ TV form seems flatly insane. Also, the presenter game introduction lines are bad. Typically, the last line you got before entering a room was the single most important thing the audience and the player had to keep in mind to make sense of what’s coming. Now you mostly get noise.

    Talking of noise, the music and effects are usually bad and always overbearingly loud relative to voice levels. Tinnitus is not a synonym of exciting.

    Games:

    Totem: Fine I guess. Why is that red square there if it’s neither a switch nor a game piece?

    Walled pool: Excellent and fun. Really nice statues, oddly uneven hole depths?

    Cannon: It’s a cool construction, where aiming seems to only be possible if you pull all the way. It needs a better game to showcase it.

    Fan: That’s a textbook industrial game. Needs a phase 2. Perhaps a key attached to one of base pieces unlocking the gutter is the quickest, if not cleanest, tack-on.

    Synonym domino: Why? Why is the vocabulary not thematic? Why are the words not aligned to camera by being written in the proper direction on the dominoes? What is the home punter going to yell at the screen if the words are always obscured, a problem mostly solved by proper shelving, or a table?

    Not the exit list: As is, it’s fair; I am fond of the surface finish. However, waiting still and at length for your certain failure seems a pretty heavy-handed way to cram drama in kid’s TV.
    You could train players with 2 doors in that first cell. The one leading to the rest of the trail having a locked keypad, the other having the key placed awkwardly behind it, so that you can guarantee the door will lock. Thus the existence and function of the exit keypads can be impressed even without text before introducing the memory element.
    You could also replace some wall with bars or some-such. This would give you a few better camera angles, and allow for glimpses of the written side of a couple of doors from far away, giving those observant and with a mental map of the path a reason to move than be still and sad.

    Asteroid and tube just looks excellent. I’m undecided on the gameplay.

    Jarhead: Yes, yes and thrice yes! If you must have people asking questions, they need to be characters, and this seems on the right track. Ideally, you’d want the vial mixing to be a real thing, with some chance of getting it right by accident, and some chance of explosion (+lock-in?) if both ingredients are wrong and they’re unlucky.

    Reply
    1. David

      I think the red square is so the player doesn’t get a fireball to the face.

      Reply
  9. Brig Bother Post author

    Incidentally, VIP passes for five for York Dungeon (including guidebook and photo – it’s unbelievable, they’re just throwing it in) is valued at £130 if you buy online (£154.75 if you just turn up).

    https://www.thedungeons.com/york/en/book-tickets/ticket-prices-and-offers-a.aspx?utm_expid=34602507-53.hBodx1bwQueZLbk7vvxUMA.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedungeons.com%2Fyork%2Fen%2F

    It will be quite funny if one of the prizes is the opportunity to do The Crystal Maze Experience somewhere.

    Reply
  10. David

    Episode 5 ranking:

    1. Lock Codes – Great idea, but I feel like every playing will wind up being either “the player remembers the codes and gets out with over a minute left” or “the player forgets the codes and gets stuck on the first door”.
    2. Statue Symbols – Like a far, far better version of the Futuristic obstacle course Rylan had to crawl through.
    3. Asteroids – Visually stunning, but really? It’s just another glorified laser game in a zone that already has too many of them.
    4. Dominoes – Too hard to follow on screen, but I like the idea.
    5. Radioactive Turntables – The more I see this, the less I enjoy it. Maybe we just got the really good playing out of the way first and it’s actually a mediocre game?
    6. Jarhead – At least now we know how it’s different from Mimesey. I really wish they’d added a time limit though.
    7. Gutter Ball – Still dull.
    8. Dragon Totem – Still too slow and stop-start-y.
    9. Cannon Anagram – On the one hand, hitting all six targets with that cannon feels impossible. On the other hand, letting them pick one of the cases without hitting all of the targets feels like the game is broken.
    10. Fan Crank – Wayyyy too easy, even with a two-minute time limit. Very plausible that we’ll see someone finish it in about 20 seconds.

    I think what’s bugging me the most about this revival, aside from how disjointed and phony-but-not-in-a-fun-way everything feels, is that so many of the games are so repetitive and unoriginal. Like we’ve seen 33/41 games so far, but if you take out the games that steal from old seasons, or from Fort Boyard, or from known board games, and take out the games that are too similar to each other, you’re only left with about five games, one of which is the awful clock-setting game. It’s just not enough to maintain interest.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      What I found quite interesting about Jarhead is that there’s apparently no way to get locked in during it.

      I’m actually alright with ending Cannon Anagram early, many of the pictures share many of the letters so I think the gamble element is mildly clever. I presume there’s a penalty for opening the wrong box.

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        1. Kester J

          Yes, she went for another first and it just didn’t open, by the looks of things. It made the game seem very cheap to me (especially as JESTER was – unless I missed something – the only box with a J in the picture name, so she could have gone for it after the very first hit).

          Agree that being able to gamble and risk being locked-in if the box is wrong would be nice, but I don’t think that’s how it works and the words would need to overlap more in terms of letters for it to really be interesting.

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          1. Brig Bother Post author

            Fair enough, I missed that. But that changes the game from potentially a quite good one into, really, a bit of a rubbish one.

          2. David

            Yeah, it changes it from “finish the game in full” to “you’re running out of time, just pick one of the boxes randomly and hope the crystal is inside OOPS ONLY ONE OF THEM OPENS”, which basically means a game that’d be almost impossible if it was played properly becomes a guaranteed win. I know there’s too many lock-in games this season already (please eliminate three), but this really feels like it should have been one, like “run out of cannonballs or pick the wrong door and you’re locked in”.

  11. Kester J

    Well, I liked this more than the celeb versions.

    Casting was excellent, with a team who were charismatic without being attention-seeking or otherwise irritating. It was also the first time I understood why the producers thought Ayoade was appropriate, as he seemed to genuinely be behind the team and hit the right balance of enthusiasm and cynical eyebrow-raising. (It makes me suspect his contempt for some of the celeb teams might not have been entirely feigned.) That said, he still missed a lot too, and his constant undermining of the show needs to stop. It feels too often like he’s doing it for the paycheque rather than believing in the format.

    Some of the new games were great: the walled pool in Aztec felt like classic Maze, with a nice mix of physical exertion, simple puzzle-solving, and people getting wet. The there-and-back-again maze was another highlight, adding a nice twist to the routine Industrial “do some mental arithmetic” games of the original show. (Although I agree that it needs a way to end early when contestants have obviously failed.)

    The dominoes seemed an interesting concept shot badly, and I wasn’t sure what they were doing in mediaeval thematically – between this and the egregiously-unmediaeval-toys game from the celeb shows, it feels like it might be the “We don’t know where to put this game so we’ll put it here” zone.

    There were definitely some questionable games too (looking at you, fan game), but the maze was ever thus.

    Overall it feels like there’s enough good here that they could really pull things together for a great second series if they get the chance. But that seems like it might be a meaningful “if” based on the current viewing figures. Leading with the awful celeb shows feels like foot-shooting of the highest order.

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  12. Danny Kerner

    We have the first replay episode of games all seen before, some have been successfully won which havent previous & ones which were won before lost. One game which was totally messed up but shows there are many permentations which could be done.

    The ALIS phrase was mentioned in this episode so if this was the second episode recorded he thought of it on day 1 recordings.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think they’re an entertaining team, and provided the first real shout at the screen moment of the series.

      Episodes with no new first run games are to be expected from this point (even if there are seven to be shown). I do think there ought to be more windows, especially in Aztec. Richard doesn’t really watch many of the games.

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      1. Will Tennant

        From the lock in situation, they never fully explained the not walking without the planks part well did they. I don’t believe they said it’s a lock in if you don’t use the planks did they until like 2 seconds before he actually did it.

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        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I don’t think he was locked in because of that, clearly he was not going to be let out unless he exited properly, unfortunately there was no time for him to step back across and work his way to the end. Possibly it could have been designed better.

          It’s not really any different to RoB warning in games ‘you must come back the way you came’ and disqualifying when they didn’t. Probably should have had the warning actually, but it’s not like he hadn’t spent two minutes previous understanding the challenge. And it’s not like Ayoade wasn’t dropping large hints throughout.

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          1. John R

            It was quite amusing watching Ayoade get more and more wound up by this weeks team…

            The obvious voiceover edits are a bit jarring though, surely the technology exists these days to make them less obvious ‘we recorded these in post production’

  13. Mathew Palmieri

    im kinda worried about the live experince if this gets axed.
    their will be a drop in sales, due to the show being uber advertising for them……
    i dont want them to go they way to cyberdrome. i do want them to build one in the good old usa (Though, that will be tough…)

    Reply
    1. Chris M. Dickson

      There’s an interview with Little Lion, the people behind the live experience, with a crucial quote: “We will potentially be opening more Crystal Maze live venues. And we’ve got lots of new, exciting projects with Little Lion Entertainment, not just in the UK but hopefully abroad too.

      I’ve seen a well-placed suggestion that the Manchester maze isn’t yet nearly doing the business of the London one; take a look at the bookings and judge for yourself. The London venue is starting to advertise on posters, as well, which it never previously had to do. Based on the second half of the quote, could a centre work in the US? If you take the viewpoint that the London one caught lightning in a bottle, certainly the brand won’t have the cachet outside the UK that it does here. If there were an international version in the US – the obvious question being where it could fit in to the US TV landscape and whether the whimsy of the British original might ever be in the right place at the right time again – then it could have a shot. In the mean time, if you’re anywhere near Malden, MA, Boda Borg is well worth a go.

      Reply
  14. Brig Bother Post author

    0.88m (exc +1) this week, although it did do slightly better in terms of numbers and share than Cats Countdown immediately after it, so that’s a thing. Down a bit on last week although there was football on. Only Connect got 1.6m.

    It did lose to Celebrities Go Motorhoming on 5.

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    1. MrCT2U

      Maybe not showing the show 2 days in advance on Thank 4 may boost the shows ratings perhaps.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I estimate the showing on Thank 4, given the complete non-buzz it gets, to be somewhere in the low thousands if that. I suspect not that many people know about it, even O2 customers.

        Although I’d be interested if an actual figure came out.

        I’ve now got a bet on with a TV professional that with 14 episodes to run there will be no series two of The Crystal Maze. If I lose I can live with it, provided much better decisions are made second time round.

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      2. John R

        Based on the fact nobody on Digital Spy seem to comment until the actual TV airing gives you some sort of idea how many viewers Thanks4 must get…

        The Bottle Yard studios don’t seem to be having much success ratings wise since turning the lights off in the Dream Factory, think Channel 4 will be dissapointed when they could have done it on the cheap and filmed the series at the live experience for probably the same amount of viewers.

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        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I think the Live Experience might have something to say about that! I’d be interested in seeing one filmed in Manchester though.

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        2. Callum J

          Though, I understand that Banijay will be selling the format for international remakes in October. I presume they would be filmed on the same set.

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          1. Brig Bother Post author

            I believe the intention is build a bespoke international base. Which is an interesting proposition.

    2. JonathanEx

      To play hypotheticals, let’s put aside for a moment changes to the show itself (being selective with use of cynicism, extra/harder game or two, tidying up some of the rough edges) – I’m enjoying it and I think civilians are less divisive than the celebs – where should this go?

      Friday night isn’t performing, and them messing around with the celebrity specials, moving things there, the actual shows, seems to have had a big hit on it. We know it’s rating quite young – its saving grace for C4 (well, comparatively saving grace) – so the ‘out on a Friday’ is having an impact. Do we hope for Gogglebox and a bump around that? (No). 8pm feels right for the family balance, but the day’s wrong then.

      Personally I’m liking the Crystal/Catsdown double bill, works for me nicely, but it turns out planning all your scheduling decisions round me is a poor business decision. Shame. I liked the idea of being center of the universe.

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      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I think the one-off worked quite well on the Sunday night, I wonder if it’s worth trying out there as anti-X Factor/Dancing on Ice counterprogramming.

        I’m reading many people not enjoying the team knowing each other but personally I think that’s been one of the more successful changes. Although I wouldn’t have dropped games to focus on their personalities, obv.

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  15. Danny Kerner

    I’m one who watches the Wed Preview on Thanks4 however i do still tune into the Fri broadcast to give a true figure to the ratings system however i feel people don’t do this so the figure is false. If C4 did produce figures for this preview version we could get an idea of potential drop off when Fri comes around. It will be interesting to see the weekly consolidated figures.

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      1. John R

        Annoys my Crystal Maze friend quite a bit that, as he uses a cochlear implant so can’t watch it until Friday despite wanting to!

        Reply
  16. Brig Bother Post author

    Civvy episode one: 1.55m all-in, 11th for the week. Using a bit of back of the envelope maths, about 400k watched on catch-up – not bad, but it’s less than half the celeb specials. 26th for the week in A16-34 (454k – fun element: 118k of those are A16-24 which suggests around 300k are 25-34.).

    So there we are.

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    1. Danny Kerner

      It’s a bit better but still on the edge of recommission numbers. If it can stay there then season 2 is a go.

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      1. Jon

        I think it’s safe to say Channel 4 may well at least recommission just celeb episodes.

        Although I’m not sure that’s happen before with the Fort Boyard format?

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        1. Alex

          French Boyard was civilian-only until I think 1993, then had occasional celebs until I think 1996, then was all-celeb from here on out (2010 notwithstanding).

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  17. Danny Kerner

    Episode 3 (7 inc Celebs) description: Courtesy of Thanks4)

    Richard Ayoade leads a martial arts team with a player who was in the original series 26 years ago through the Maze. She won all her games then, but will her record remain intact?

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  18. Danny Kerner

    There is a feeling this might of been the 1st recorded, see if you can spot possible mistakes.

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  19. Danny Kerner

    NEW GAME ALERT!!! I REPEAT NEW GAME ALERT.

    It is a fresh original game idea not seen before, but it is clever.

    I must say this is the first show to use the true transistions as seen in the 90’s. The only exception is Futurstic – Aztec but only because the lift doesn’t exsist and the climing wall has been designed as a one way system.

    Loyalists to the original should be happy this week.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      The phone game? It’s not that good, like a slightly prettier version of the coloured keys game they had without the pleasing russian doll box element, but with a pointless phone wire I thought they’d do something a bit more interesting with. Although I enjoyed the Kafka-esque feel.

      Three games in the first zone! And then only two in the second. Oh.

      I’m getting a bit tired now. Just 13 episodes to go!

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      1. Danny Kerner

        Yeah you thought the format of 2,3,3,2 would stick all the way through the run, bu like i said there is evidence to show this might of been the 1st recorded.

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      2. Kester J

        The phone game looked neat but was fairly dull, I thought. They could have done something more interesting with the setup. That applies to quite a few of the games really: too many of them feel a bit uninspired. Motherboard maze is another where they made a neat set and then forgot to put an interesting game in it.

        I did indeed like the transitions, as Danny suggests. It’s the first time the series has given the Maze a sense of size – e.g. the walkway in Industrial making the whole area feel much bigger – rather than feeling like four separate (and fairly cramped) sets. Richard still relentlessly undermining it though 🙁

        I’m also flagging somewhat, which I’m a bit sad about. I was so excited for the reboot and now I just feel “Eh”.

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        1. Brig Bother Post author

          The thing that surprises me about Motherboard Maze is that they’ve got the fun zig-zaggy bit and then barely use it. There are a few physical games where they’ve got the obstacle and don’t use it enough.

          I thought I’d be really angry that this remake isn’t as good as it should be, turns out I’m just disappointed.

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  20. Brig Bother Post author

    Interested to see if this gets a Gogglebump tomorrow, sounds like they’ve tried going large with the promo this week, bigging up the fact Heather tonight was a previous contestant.

    I’ve somehow managed to miss all of this, and it didn’t seem to be trending on Twitter, so make of that what you will.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan

      It also got a very good placement in Gogglebox itself – the chap failing to know how to slide things made for perfect shouting at TV and came across well.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        1.01m exc +1, so slight Gogglebump. That’ll be around 1.2m with +1 given previous.

        Gogglebox did 2.02m exc +1, which is very good for C4 but it’s not the monster it once was.

        Reply
        1. Danny Kerner

          Yeah an increase now with gogglebox being on for the rest of the run we should hopefully in S2 territories but I think Richard will be chucked.

          Reply
          1. Callum J

            I really like Ayoade, I would be disappointed if they replaced him. But if they did, I think Noel Fielding would do a fantastic job.

  21. Will Tennant

    I’m getting more and more annoyed seeing the raise from the platform crystal reveals now. I get making them in bulk, but what’s wrong with showing the crystal in the room and having some perspex to open up instantly :-O

    Reply
    1. Alex

      I don’t like clearly seeing the magnets on the cabinets in Medieval either.

      Reply
      1. David

        I wouldn’t mind the hidden-box reveals so much, but in addition to the games where it makes sense (eg, the wet log temple puzzle) they’re also trying to use it in other games where it’s completely illogical and counterproductive (the dragon game, the asteroid game, the radioactive turntable game), and that’s cheapening the effect you’d get out of the games where it’s a good idea.

        Reply
  22. Chris M. Dickson

    When was the last time a fundamentally good-to-very-good show went quite so far out of its way to be needlessly hard to like? There’s something of the Why Don’t You Just Turn Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead about it, except the irony goes the other way…

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      You’re wrong Chris, it’s absolutely brilliant and Richard Ayoade’s the perfect mazemaster (so sarcastic!)! #crystalmaze

      Reply
  23. David

    Just for the record, the two games that lady won the last time she was on the show? The Medieval bellringer game, and the Aztec raft game. Which had “fit the planks into slots in the wall to make a bridge” as its goal, so maybe she should have done that game instead.

    Reply
    1. Danny Kerner

      I think they gave her that ball shoot game deliberately to break her record as I feel this might be one of the few games designed to fail. This & the gutter ball in Industrial plus whatever has yet to be revealed

      Reply
  24. Brig Bother Post author

    Episode 2 of civvy Crystal Maze: 1.36m all-in. 17th for Channel 4 for the week. 377k on catch-up. 28th for week in 16-34 (458k), which is not quite as good as Naked Attraction.

    Reply
    1. Danny Kerner

      That all in figure has fallen but still quite above the 1m cut off that I would say probably cancel the recommission announcement. They have already admitted on Twitter that depending on figures will decide not only the fate of the series but the decision of keeping Richard on board

      Reply
  25. Matt C

    Having taken some time to caught up, was somewhat shocked to recognise contestant-Rich this time around – he was the lead programmer on the first couple of games I worked on. Pleased to see him do well!

    Reply
  26. Alex

    On the assumption that this makes a second series, where would I go to to pitch potential ideas for games? Being sidelined from work with a broken collarbone has given me a lot of free time to attempt more creative pursuits.

    Reply
    1. Will Tennant

      The Twins also in this episode had an article done about them last year for the amount of times they took part in the Live Experiences in London.

      A nice old fashion puzzle game as well in Medieval, it’s a shame though again that the camera angles for the most part made this game very difficult to follow properly, too many jump cuts to the other guys and not enough on the game I felt.

      Also without spoiling anything, arguably one of the worst moments of a contestant’s ability in history of the Crystal Maze I feel.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        On the one hand it was all pretty excruciating, but only nerds watch this now so everyone will get away with it. Actually I was quite surprised at some of the games they failed, but two maths challenges in the same zone is poor planning.

        On the other hand 10/10 for the Bother’s Bar in-joke from Mike aka @PuzzleCheetah, see if you can spot it.

        Reply
        1. David

          I can’t wait for the episode where they do three games in Futuristic and it turns out they’re the laser maze, shard collection, and asteroid games.

          Reply
          1. Chris M. Dickson

            “Do the thing and win the points”, a narrow variant of Brig’s original “Do a thing and win some points”.

            My favourite episode of the series to date, and one where people, unusually, played really hard. I fear that nerves may have got the better of them once things turned for the worse.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            Yep, Do A Thing And Win Some Points, the legendary Bother’s Bar unmade format (catchphrase: “You’ve done A Thing… AND YOU’VE WON SOME POINTS!”). Taskmaster before Taskmaster.

            Spent ten minutes looking for the original post it came from. If I come across it I will link.

          3. Jonathan

            Ta both. Doh. I picked up on the line but didn’t make the connection even though I know I’d read it here countless times.

        2. Chris M. Dickson

          As an aside, knowing that there was an in-joke but not knowing which one it was, my fictional money was on “I don’t make the rules.” “You _do_ make the rules!” becoming associated with more than one sort of lock-in.

          Reply
      2. Danny Kerner

        That made me lol. I wonder if this bit was what the producers was talking about it becoming a YouTube hit.

        It would of been nice to see the results of a bet which was talked about a quarter way through the show.

        Yeah vintage CM in that Medieval zone game. I call it early that this might be one of the impossible games.

        Reply
        1. Danny Kerner

          Also anyone noticed that they have started in Industrial 3 times in a row plus it’s been seen 4 times out of the 8 eps so far.

          It’s looking like the producers know how crap Aztec entrance is and resorting to the best one of the four.

          Reply
  27. Danny Kerner

    Did any of you see the CM inspired PayPal advert shown during the 2nd part of tonights episode. I’m recording on +1 in case it’s not shown again.

    Reply
      1. Danny Kerner

        That’s probably why I haven’t seen it. Kept it on just to give a true figure to the ratings. Been keeping it on mute.

        Reply
          1. Danny Kerner

            Well it’s not like the companies that calculate these ratings will explain how they are devised

        1. Jon

          Imagine an election result where they didn’t bother counting the votes and was just based on the exit poll. That’s kind of how it works.

          Reply
  28. Mathew Palmieri

    You think there gonna dump ayoade if they get a series 2? i think so. He’s just so…..Bland? Self smug? too Sarcastic? whatever. I hope they get derren brown. i “did” like the episode for what it was worth, but yeah, that did poorly.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Something I’ve noticed about Richard is that he seems to direct his time checks and advice not to the team but to the camera. I wonder why that is?

      Reply
      1. Thomas Sales

        I suspect it’s due to the same reason he explains unfinished games like the box game and the domino game; the revival seems to be geared up for helping the viewer play along.

        Reply
        1. Kester J

          Hmm, I’m not sure they’re doing a good job if that’s the case. The shooting of the mental games – the ones you could potentially play along with at home – generally involves quick enough cuts that it’s hard to have the chance to figure the game out. The Roman numerals game in Mediaeval this week was a good example.

          And gosh, the riddle game this week reaaaally made that “no time limit” thing seem like a mistake.

          Reply
  29. Michelle

    I’m curious as to how many people here watched and liked The IT Crowd? I personally loved it and so that’s carried over into liking Richard and his dry sarcasm on this, but I can also see what everyone’s saying and he may well start to grate in a few more episodes. I get the feeling the creators have lumped IT Crowd and gameshow fans together and just assumed it’s a 100% overlap but I don’t think that’s the case.

    Reply
  30. Brig Bother Post author

    Gogglebumped ep 3: 1.54m all-in, 12th for week. 358k timeshifted. 28th for week in 16-34, 482k. Still behind Naked Attraction in major metrics, which is my fun benchmark.

    Furry ep 4 will be really interesting, still haven’t seen any numbers for Friday yet.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Informed Furry ep 4 did 1.1m before +1, roughly in line with week 3. The way Twitter went on about it you’d think it’d have been a lot more.

      Reply
      1. Danny Kerner

        The all in amount should beat week 3 but as they have wacked the clip on YouTube it probably won’t now. They are kicking their own potential success by doing this

        Reply
        1. Jon

          So you’re suggesting an act of actively promoting the show is going to result in less people viewing?

          It’s like suggesting movie trailers shouldn’t show some the best bits.

          Reply
  31. Brig Bother Post author

    Cheerleader episode 5 is quite interesting, feels like Richard’s strongest episode yet, partly because he’s an interesting counterpoint to the contestants (more so than usual) but partly because he seemed to get involved a bit more than usual.

    Admittedly, they did require *a lot* of guidance.

    The Knight Corridor game felt intriguing although the Knight’s rules didn’t feel very clear, the portcullis having to be fully open or closed just felt like a rule for the sake of a rule. Another game that feels *almost* there, really.

    Reply
  32. Danny Kerner

    Probably more as a safety rule rather than a general rule in case it falls on them. Yeah i think Richard probably got a telling off in the ear by the producers telling the answer. The producers love an course. So there is one obstacle course per zone. The pipe wire in Industrial, Motherboard in Futuristic, Stone idol in Aztec & now knights corridor in Medieval. I do agree that the game designers used a template to come up with games. With Season 2 i do hope they run a competition to come up with game ideas. Winners get to see their game come to reality.

    Reply
    1. Will Tennant

      I’m going with safety rule as well on the knight’s corridor, but it seemed very bad as an obstacle game, there wasn’t anything there to make it work.

      The word association in Medieval this time was pretty poor, horse had multiple answers (including the one that was the answer after). Not against having red herrings but don’t have a red herring that’s an actual answer for the next one.

      I agree with this being one of Richard’s strongest episodes so far, sometimes you need a team that is terrible to show off how good he can actually be.

      Reply
      1. SamB

        Also, one of the answers in the word association game was ‘boxfish’? I really don’t know how anyone would be expected to get that.

        Reply
  33. Brig Bother Post author

    With thanks to the guy sourcing it, Cheerleader ep 5 1.1m (5.6%) INCLUDING +1, according to a DS post, which suggests the nerd bump didn’t last long.

    Reply
  34. Brig Bother Post author

    I’m just trying to think – have there been many 2:30 games? I can’t help but think you could shave off 30 seconds from quite a few of the three mins games, like the Kafka Telephones for example.

    Reply
  35. Danny Kerner

    Well there was someone either on here or elsewhere who has created a 2017 database website with all the games and info. Wished i saved it as it was looking quite good.

    Reply
  36. Danny Kerner

    To answer your question only 3 games so far have been set as 2:30. Lights out, Radioactive rock & Cannon wall

    Reply
      1. Mike Park

        Lights Out is ok to do at 2:30. Just be methodical.

        Heck if I can do it im sure others will later in the series

        Reply
    1. Danny Kerner

      Another few games has joined the list of the realm of 2:30. Sliding Bridges (down from 3:00), Pipe maze (up from 2:00) & Motherboard Run (up from 2:00).

      Plus the addition of a new game which i will call 4 way word search.

      This team has a strategy plan in place. Will it work you will soon see. Either before Friday in preview window or live on Friday.

      Reply
  37. Danny Kerner

    Only five more games are left to be revealed from the announced 41. I got a feeling game 41 might not be shown until the xmas special as i got a feeling its christmas themed.

    Reply
  38. Danny Kerner

    I have just noticed something as i watched the credits during the credits of the cheerleaders episode. Not only did they did a cheeky edit of cutting to the dome early, but also near the very end the door on the dome failed so all of the tokens blew out onto the floor.

    Reply
  39. Brig Bother Post author

    Nerd Crystal Maze ep 4, despite all the hype, actually DOWN on the week previous at 1.47m all-in (149k on +1, 373k +7), 31st for the week in A16-34 (435k).

    Although interestingly the Sunday afternoon repeat snuck into the C4 top 50, at 50.

    I note it’s been on Gogglebox for two weeks now, it’s not like C4 aren’t putting the effort into promoting it.

    I hope you’re not bored of the games, you’ve still got them for 11 weeks.

    Reply
  40. Brig Bother Post author

    Good team this coming week, likeable nerds. Quite like the new Tetris wordsearch game, although seems to be edited down to about twenty seconds.

    Reply
  41. Brig Bother Post author

    Crystal Maze all-in ratings round up!

    Cheerleader ep 5, 18th for week for Channel 4 with 1.42m (187k +1, 299k timeshift, 33rd for the week general in A16-34 423k).

    Down a bit more on last week. Goodness knows how it would be doing if people weren’t tuning in early for Gogglebox.

    Reply
    1. Chris M. Dickson

      I’m inclined to believe that the timeshift figures would probably be as good. Could there be a show that is purely sustained by its on-demand and timeshift? That’s the bet that Amazon Studios make with all their content, I suppose. Would a UK broadcaster be prepared to make it? Not yet, but the day may not be too far off.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Well BBC3 already exists, although guven the method of funding you’d have to class that as a subscription service a la Netflix anyway. It’d be very difficult for a commercial broadcaster to go the same way as timeshift viewers won’t have the same advertiser value as someone who watches live, so you’d need a lot more of them.

        Reply
        1. Chris M. Dickson

          I’d love to know how advertisers view on-demand viewers against broadcast ones. I like the theory that you may have sufficiently much information about an on-demand viewer that you can target the advertising towards them and/or run more advanced advertising (“click here to be taken to a web site”, “click to select your advert”, that sort of thing) and can thus charge more for one than for a broadcast viewer, but I have no hard evidence as to whether that theory has any validity or is just complete bobbins.

          Reply
  42. Brig Bother Post author

    This is interesting, next Friday’s is now apparently “the last in the series” even with eight episodes still to show.

    I’m sure it’s nothing to be concerned about, I’m told it does slot average.

    Reply
    1. David B

      I believe it was always the plan that it would have a little break, rather than 20 weeks solid.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Well this will be the second one.

        And when it comes back everyone will go “oh but all the games are the same”.

        Reply
          1. Danny Kerner

            Maybe they are doing this to make the series last longer. It will definately be back in Dec for the xmas special maybe that is when it returns for final 8. Two blocks of 8 seems logical. I kind of get the idea why they planned this although its not going to be good for the ratings unless they have a gogglebox block.

  43. JamesW

    So, this is the MIPCOM Promo, featuring sometime friend of the Bar Greg Scott on the Voiceover. It feels more like they’re marketing the recorded show, rather than bespoke versions, but maybe that’s just me?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Ha ha, I bloody love promo hyperbole, especially the very selective use of stats.

      “Bigger and better than ever!” in a show with half the set size of the original and not enough games.

      I can’t believe they’ve not used “not quite good enough, really – Bother’s Bar” as a quote. Or “commissioned off the back of a 4.5m special, not even getting 1.5m now”.

      Reply
    2. Jon

      I wouldn’t have realised that was Greg, had it not been pointed out.

      Think when they say ‘Channel defining ratings’ the main reason for that is curiosity of those with fond memories of the original a luxury they won’t have in other countries.

      In terms of international sales, rather than the success of the show at home is. Iit hasn’t changed enough. It’s not much more cinematic or big scale enough to appeal to an audience who aren’t aware of the original.

      Reply

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