Show Discussion: Richard Osman’s House of Games

By | September 3, 2017

Weekdays, 6pm,
BBC2

Richard Osman displaces Eggheads, as is his wont, and invites four celebrities into his House of Games where each night they will play games and quizzes in the hope of leaving on Friday the overall winner. It’s the unofficial celebrity reversioning of QD: The Master Game some of us have waited 26 years for.

Going by the clips they’ll be some of us playing “spot the round homage” and hopefully they’ve got the balance of gameplay to banter about right. It sounds like the “audience” is sweetened crew laughter, which is a pity because this feels like the sort of thing where an actual audience might lift it a bit, but we’ll see.

Looking forward to it at any rate, if you watch it leave your thoughts in the comments.

62 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Richard Osman’s House of Games

      1. George F

        Didn’t James Martin bring back Ready Steady with his ‘The Box’ a few years back?

        Reply
  1. Dan

    Taskmaster is back 13th September. If dave keeps up the trend of releasing first episodes one week early should be seeing it on wednesday 6th September.

    Reply
  2. Arun

    First impressions of this show are:
    1. This looks like a quizzy Taskmaster, even down to the point of a “daily prize” and an “overall prize”.
    2. This could really do with an audience in the same way Cheap Cheap Cheap does.
    Overall, could be very good if done well. Quite a lot of it is down to if I like the celebrities. So far, looking good.

    Reply
    1. Arun

      Goodness, the Taskmaster references are so immense, the scoreboard even comes up with the people’s faces. Wow. I’m still really enjoying this though.

      Reply
      1. Greg

        This was right up my street, really enjoyed it. All the games were well thought out, great range of celeb personalities. The show has some good comedy moments and a nice pace and flow to the rounds, ill be back tomorrow for sure.

        Reply
      2. Chris M. Dickson

        Taskmaster varies between consistently good and occasionally spectacular and has been easily getting a Golden Five vote from me for the last couple of years. I have a suspicion that it punches above its weight in terms of being influential (I can see the comparisons here, also in the forthcoming The Button, and perhaps a more general Horne-and-Key revival) and wonder whether it’s because it’s such a generic format that it’s so easy to draw comparisons or because it does even better with industry types than it does with the public at large. If it’s the latter, did the special episode played by TV executives at Edinburgh have much to do with it?

        Unrelatedly: the Bar has had this particular WordPress Theme for years and I’ve only just spotted that there’s a tiny little 🙂 smiley face in the bottom left corner of the page. How inobservant of me!

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          Is there? I can’t see it, I think it means a low level hack server end. I’ll run my anti-malware script.

          I’ve been meaning to update from Eximus for a while, I’ve yet to find anything that keeps the same sort of feel.

          Reply
          1. Chris M. Dickson

            It’s just two dots for eyes and a parenthesis for a mouth, no background – I hadn’t realised that putting the emoticon in would be translated into something with a yellow face here. It’s even more amusing if you hadn’t spotted it for all these years, and makes me feel less bad about me not having done so!

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            It’s something that has occasionally shown up in the mobile theme but not in the desktop one. Had no idea it meant malware until I asked about it on Twitter.

            HOWEVER, the good news is that I might just have found a newer theme with a similar sort of layout which I will have a playabout with and hopefully will be a bit more secure – Eximus hasn’t changed since 2011!

          3. Brig Bother Post author

            Turns out it’s the WordPress Stats Smiley! Which is annoying as there’s a piece of malware that looks exactly like it. Ah well. I’ve hidden now anyway.

  3. Cliff

    Well, it’s got the similar jovial but gentle feel as Debatable, but without any real contestant and cash prize, it feels a little… erm… pointless.

    Pleasant enough viewing, but by no means essential.

    Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        This seems like quite an odd time to release it as SdS given they’re about to relaunch with a proper antagonist.

        Still though.

        Reply
  4. Alex McMillan

    The last round was essentially Smush, wasn’t it? Hoping we get more quiz show *homages* throughout the run

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      And Is It Me? The Trivia Murder Party vs I’m The Answer mash-up we’ve all been waiting for (*).

      I liked it, it was pleasant and I thought the questions were very witty in the main (I chuckled at many of them). Although it’s also not an awful lot we haven’t seen before in various different guises with various different people but done to a good standard.

      I hope there are enough different rounds to sustain interest, as we’re well aware by now with shows based around lots of different minigames, you constantly have to throw new ideas at people, or at the very least rotate them evenly enough, to keep interest up. Given the credit list I expect there will be enough to hold interest for three weeks or at least they should know better.

      Although the questions for Rhyme Time were quite clever, I felt it outstayed its welcome by one or two questions. Distinctly Average was a bit slow. I really liked Broken Karaoke, a smart and original idea. Is It Me? and Jellyvision’s Smush were fine and I appreciated the funny answers in the later.

      I quite liked the naff branded prizes. I quite liked the low key wit shown throughout.

      I quite liked it and I’ll continue to watch BUT it’s not quite compelling enough to be a must-watch. It lacks a certain element of surprise and could really do with a proper audience.

      (*) I will say they’ve been quite smart here. I love Trivia Murder Party to death but watching people less gamey than us trying to get their head around that it’s effectively two or three different true or false questions, when they’re usually conditioned to pick one right answer from a list is quite a hard thing to grasp, sadly.

      Reply
      1. Matt Clemson

        I read something elsewhere that suggested around ~20 games; you will get repeats within a week, but not many, and you will get fresh games into week 2.

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I think that’s *probably* fine for three week’s worth, especially if Smush Answer Smash is always the end game, but you’d need a lot more than that for a full run I expect.

          Reply
      2. Brig Bother Post author

        I also liked the low-key gag of Richard having his unpowered laptop on his desk, for the fans. Also the dartboard with Osman’s face on it as a prize.

        Reply
  5. Andrew Sullivan

    Something else coming back. Series 2 of The Boss starts next Monday at 2:15.

    Only change I’m aware of is that the opening speed round to determine the first Boss has gone, it will now be picked at random.

    Reply
  6. Kniwt

    Lots of voice-over Richard added/fixed in post-production, just a bit too obvious in the tonality. First example is in the second question.

    Reply
  7. Matt C

    Per Overnights.tv on Twitter:

    “#houseofgames, presented by @richardosman, made a decent start on BBC2 at 6pm with 1.1m/7.2% @endemolshine”

    Reply
  8. Callum J

    Just finished watching the new series of Top Class. Slight format change with the addition of two rounds:

    “Lightning round” was a puzzle, this week’s were crosswords finding colours and pet animals.

    “Mystery round” could be about anything. This week’s was about farm animals.

    Great hosting from Susan, as always.

    Reply
  9. Brig Bother Post author

    Second episode also decent.

    My favourite round was Build Your Own Question – one person picks one category of four, second person picks a category from a different four and then a question featuring both categories comes up. So 16 combinations, and we get the questions for four, but it does lead you to wonder how the others combine.

    Reply
    1. Cheesebiscuits

      While interesting it feels like it would do better with each person picking their categories indiviually. It feels weird that one “team member” can just back off the other’s knowledge and take the point for themselves too. It would also allow us eight questions allowing us to see how they combine more.

      My favourite round was What’s In a Name? With the double point scoring oppurtunities. It could benefit from a “Hive Minds” approach though with multiple answers but only one in their name.

      Reply
  10. Marc

    I suppose that instead of “5 Gold Rings”, you might call “Put Your Finger On It” “4 Colored Diamonds”. 🙂

    Reply
    1. George F

      I”m guessing the diamonds are just keeping with the style with the show

      Plus, FGR isn’t exactly super original. They’re both pretty much spot the ball.

      Reply
  11. Matt Clemson

    Well, it appears they’ve been watching Schlag den Raab for ideas as well.

    Reply
  12. George F

    Still really liking this. The rounds today, with the sums and the letters revealing the words are probably two of my favourites so far. Each game gets your brain working in a different way that is keeping it fresh, when you consider there isn’t actually much to play for.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I liked Z-A, I thought Dim Sum was a neat idea that was a bit dull to watch, quite thankful they limited it to one each. I enjoyed The Rich List, and suspect naming it that was a bit of a gag (that’s the format title for Who Dares Wins). Kept expecting Richard to list Pointless answers. Mouse of Games a funny idea but I found it outstayed its welcome a bit.

      Wednesday has probably been my favourite day so far.

      Reply
  13. Nico W.

    It’s the first show I watch everyday (with the dark arts) in a very long time. I love it and I’m intrigued to see how it will feel with another bunch of celebs next week. Does anyone know how it’s rating?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      The only number I’ve seen is 1.1m on Monday, which would be slightly above what Eggheads has been getting.

      One number not a trend, etc.

      Reply
      1. Phil P

        Had over 1m on Monday and Tuesday, dropped to 920k on Wed, then back up to over 1m on Thursday.

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          Thanks.

          Looking at the last four weeks of Eggheads on BARB, this would compare favourably, albeit not by a gamechanging amount – that tends to bounce between 900k and 1m with the occasional 1m+ day.

          I’d prefer to watch HoG over Eggheads, but I also respect Egghead’s longevity.

          Reply
    2. David B

      It seems a hit from the feedback we have. It’s an interesting commission, though. If RO is too busy to do new Two Tribes, it’s not like they’re going to be about to crank out hundreds of this either.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest “being too busy to do Two Tribes” is probably a bit of spin.

        RO is absolutely an asset to broadcasting, but I’d be wary of taking everything said at face value.

        Reply
        1. Luke

          Suspect it boils down to “other things are much more fun to do”. With a side of “thinking of career durability” and “these are a bit quicker to crank out”.

          (USUAL CAVEAT: I cannot read the mind of Richard Osman, nor have I ever been able to. That would be weird.)

          That said, note to the commissioner of BBC Two: You’ve got a proven format with Two Tribes. Ore Oduba doesn’t have a good permanent gig at the moment. Maybe worth a punt?

          Per the iPlayer TV guide, next week’s guests are Angela Scanlon, Clive Myrie, Sara Pascoe and Rick Edwards. Particularly interested by the Clive Myrie booking.

          Reply
          1. Luke

            I think it’s also a show that would benefit from short runs – rather like Taskmaster. Pop up for max 25 episodes twice a year rather than Eggheads-level blanketing of the schedule.

            (And it would also pair quite nicely with Christmas University Challenge, if the BBC Two commissioner is still reading. I’ll take my fee by PayPal, thanks.)

  14. Nico W.

    Just a question that popped up in my head: In germany you tend to record three episodes à 45 minutes of a quiz on one day. So do they record all the episodes of one week on one day (since it’s “just” 30 minutes) or do they record them on two days? I mean I couldn’t focus on quiz questions for an entire day if it was recorded on one day. But could you record two weeks on two days since Richard just a really great host who could pull it off with the celebs recording 3 eps of their week on one and 2 eps on another day?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I don’t think recording five eps of a half hour show is that unrealistic (in fact they film five 45 minute eps of Countdown in a day as standard IIRC), they’d probably film two eps as a ‘quick turnaround’ (i.e. change clothes, get straight on with it.). It’s probably something like film episode, break, two more, dinner break, two more, go home.

      As a paid celebrity contestant I expect you just suck it up and get on with it – it’s only a day, and it’s not hugely demanding.

      Apparently back in the 70s and 80s filming ten episodes of things a day was fairly usual!

      Reply
      1. Nico W.

        Wow that’s rather nice. I don’t know I really like efficient things like this. Thanks for the answer, you’re right it’s not such a heavy quiz.

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I think it’d be harder if there are a lot of props, but this is literally a screen, some chairs and some iPad Pros.

          Countdown’s great fun to watch live, they try and record it as live, so you don’t see Rachel hurriedly putting words up and take the letters down to hand to a production assistant whilst the scores get recapped.

          Reply
  15. Andrew Sullivan

    Well, I’ve been watching all week and I’m really liking this. I like the different games that have been showing up, even though there were some repeats. I think my favourite so far, other than Answer Smash, is Broken Karaoke.

    I wonder if this kind of thing would work as well with regular people, as I think I wouldn’t mind a go at this.

    Reply
  16. David B

    Hmm, really disappointed how this wraps up the week. I thought they were competing through the week to take through a score to start Friday’s show. But the way it works here with Friday simply being worth double points, given that the winner gets 8 and the loser is guaranteed 2, there was no way for either Clara or Anneka to win overall today.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yeah, I noticed Clara had no chance as well and wondered if they might go down the carry-points-over thing, although obviously it would muck up the daily competition they’ve got going.

      Clara would have probably won the week if she just pushed her buzzer rather than attempt to slap it each time.

      Reply
      1. David B

        But if you’re giving away the cup on Friday, do they really need to have the daily prize too? Seems unnecessary.

        Reply
        1. George F

          I’m guessing daily prizes give the players who are falling away and can’t win overall, the incentive to carry on trying to win a daily prize.

          Reply
          1. David B

            I get that, but if you did it my way, you don’t need a daily prize AND everyone still has a chance of winning the whole week. Make the final Answer Smush, er, Smash worth double points for a grand finale, if you like.

          2. George F

            Surely having only Answer Smash worth double points would only benefit the players who are good at that round though, no?

            If one player has been awful at that round all week whilst others have destroyed it, then they’re just going to lose by more points come the end of the show if it’s double points too.

  17. Chris M. Dickson

    The most interesting thing in the BBC 2 6pm slot since at least Two Tribes, and it’s probably more interesting than that as well. It’s a little bit low-octane and safe to be spectacular – I’d say that the best quiz rounds on Schlag den Raab can be a bit more imaginative than the ones here, or maybe I’m just confusing them with the ones on Schlag den Brig – but I think that that may be by design; while we generally like mini-game shows for their pace and for the feeling that if you don’t like something then at least you’ll have something else, I think they could have had a few rounds that involved physical props and standing up. (The buzzer plinths were a bit wobbly at times, which looks cheap.)

    I liked the shows which followed a definite structure of individual question round – pair round – puzzly round – tablet round – Answer Smash more than the ones where the pair round and the tablet round happened to be the same round, as fun as the Distinctly Average round was. The individual games were broadly decent to very decent; it’s tempting to imagine that the game material came from Richard Osman’s Accumulated Big Book O’ “this sounded interesting but was at best a round of a show” ideas, and I kind of want the show to have been called Richard Osman’s Variety Bucket. Repeating rounds, other than Answer Smash, within a week seemed to smack a little bit of not quite taking the premise to its logical conclusion. The music was a generic B effort at best.

    I do have A Long-Standing Thynge for Anneka Rice, but she didn’t add very much to the episode, singular, of QI on which she appeared and that might have been a good clue that this would be a format where she could not play to her considerable strengths, he said tactfully. The other three contestants were great. In a situation like this, I’m almost tempted to wonder whether it might be possible to try to proactively include material where there’s some on which you know every contestant can shine at some point.

    Lots of nice touches and Osman hosted the game well while creating a compelling atmosphere. I watched all five episodes through catch-up at various points and will probably make the effort for future weeks, at least where I’m pretty sure I’m looking forward to some of the contestants. Hurrah!

    Reply
  18. Brig Bother Post author

    This declined a little bit in week two about 10%, although three episodes were just over a million.

    Unexpected side-effect: Eggheads pushed to half six beat it on three nights, and not the same nights HoG broke a mill either.

    Reply
  19. Chris M. Dickson

    I watched and enjoyed the first week, then enjoyed the second week slightly less from the lack of surprises, though the contestants were easily good enough. Were later weeks particularly good compared to the first couple, or was it really just more of the same?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      My arc was quite similar. As I’m not home until half seven generally And I found myself less inclined to watch it as the same games came up – always an issue with this sort of format – and really the contestants all need to be of similar ability. I think not rotating games properly is a bad thing – much better to leave them wanting more than ‘oh no, not this again’.

      I like the show – good writing, happy that it’s coming back, but not enough to go out of my way to actually watch it at this juncture.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *