Show Discussion: The Price is Right

By | December 30, 2017

Saturday, 8pm,
Channel 4

Now this is interesting, it certainly feels rather out of place for a Saturday night on Channel 4. And the set looks horrifically garish. And I hate the logo and typeface.

But! I like Alan Carr and I like The Price is Right so tonight will be interesting. Clearly they won’t be playing it with a straight Leslie/Brucie bat so it will be interesting to see how much comedy – deliberate or otherwise – they put in it, we were always big fans of the overtly comic French version with Vincent Lagaf which proved that it can be done, and whilst it never really caught on I thought the Joe Pasquale version had some great form-playing gags in it occasionally.

The press blurb seems to suggest five games, so no idea how they’ve formatted that, if indeed that’s how it’s going to work. Let us know what you think in the comments.

31 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Price is Right

  1. David Howell

    Weird to see this on 4, to be honest.

    This is the first UK TPIR in the modern product placement era, yes? (Even Pasquale TPIR made a point of label-blurring the Asda labels for own brand goods either despite or because of Asda being the bumper sponsor. I forget how they handled everything else.)

    Cash has been king in game shows even on the BBC in this decade, so between that and product placement being A Thing it’s quite an interesting time for a TPIR revival.

  2. John R

    Not a format that suits an hour I’ve always felt, the Bruce era was fast paced and straight to the point so felt quite energised for the whole thing whereas the Pasquale hour was a bit of a bodge job to make the hour.

    The USA one is an hour I seem to remember but half an hour of that is adverts anyway!

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        They were, although they started doing hour versions for weekends which were effectively two episodes bolted back to back with the Showcase Showdown winners having a spin-off to determine who does the Showcase.

    1. Karen

      Me too, even if I was enjoying it the set is legitimately hurting my eyes to look at.

  3. Alex

    The progression for the US version of Pay The Rent is $1,000 – $5,000 – $10,000 – $100,000.
    Which, let’s be honest, is a much better ladder.

  4. nick g.

    honestly, so far, not too bad except that set can trigger epilepsy possibly! admitadely, i started watching at cliffhangers

  5. Cliff

    Alan Carr is fine – I’m not really sure who the perfect host is for this format, but he’s doing a good job.

    Yay Cliffhanger – hope it didn’t bring back too many frightening nightmares!

    I missed the name of the second game, but that and the third game didn’t really work. The second because it was too confusingly laid out, the third because of the purple/black colour scheme, which were almost impossible to distinguish between.

    Part three is about to start, with a classic game promised: Plinko?

  6. Cliff

    Maybe I’m taking it too seriously, but I’m not a fan of any game that asks you to guess the last digit of a 2- or 3-figure price. It honestly could be anything.

  7. Alex

    Also the number of people on Twitter who believed that Pay the Rent was rigged because picking the most expensive item at the top wasn’t an insta-win. My brain, augh.

    1. Greg

      I had to explain to my dad how that game could have been won. I guess the key was not putting the cheapest item at the bottom

  8. Brig Bother Post author

    I found that a bit weird – stylistically I pretty much hate it – the set, the graphics, the typeface, that hugely irritating fucking clanging bell going off every thirty seconds. As has been pointed out the wheel had an odd sense of inertia. £100 bonus prizes difficult to get excited about in 2017.

    But the content was largely decent – enjoyed seeing more recent US games turn up, and the set-ups were pretty good in the main, amused that people believe Pay the Rent is unwinnable because the strategy is counter-intuitive (hint: never never ever put the cheapest item at the bottom) although the gambles aren’t as good. Enjoyed the flying clock. Jury out on whether I like how Plinko works. Only having five contestants meant they didn’t need to play any of the quickie games which I approve of, even if a Massively Multiplayer Showcase Showdown felt rather silly (and what’s the point of colouring either side of the 100 if there’s no bonus spin?).

    So a weird one. Would probably watch again if it was a weekly prospect, would find it difficult to recommend as a daily one.

  9. Chris M. Dickson

    It’s almost as if Channel 4 seem to want to get a reputation for somewhat needless revivals, after 15-to-1 and now this. Some of you might also put The Crystal Maze in there; I think it’s a little better than that, but I wouldn’t argue too hard if you thought not.

    This was fundamentally competent, but little better than that, in a way that showed how good the other versions in the past really were to a point where we may not have properly appreciated them at the time. It had some funny moments; the funniest part was Alan declaring that a contestant had not spun enough on the wheel, only for the wheel to tick round once more at the very end. (Perhaps there was more to the building of a wheel and a pointer than you thought, Channel 4.) Second funniest bit was the sight gag of Gio Compario inside the car to illustrate the product placement. I quite liked the giant clock descending from the heavens, though being on Channel 4, this would have been the good place to do a Countdown gag if anybody ever were to do one. Other than that, the whole thing was remarkably straightforward, and less comedy-infused than even the Joe Pasquale versions. Alan Carr was OK but didn’t add much.

    The games were well-selected; nice to see three classics and two new-to-the-UK games. The prizes were OK; I was hoping that the fact that this was a one-off meant that they would push the boat out, but they really didn’t. (The cash prizes being £100 felt cheap, and seeing what happened on Plinko in that rare circumstance was satisfying from a theoretical standpoint but not a practical one.) They were at least sufficiently modern-feeling to get away with it. I would have underbid by just over £5,000 on the showcase; perhaps there was some spending-money thrown in on the holiday (there usually is, for good reasons…) that was edited out?

    Having five people playing the Big Wheel made me wonder what the chance of a tie on 100 was during the ad break, but at the time I thought it wouldn’t be high enough to make me calculate it. Ha.

    A few minutes with a spreadsheet and some fairly ugly text manipulation suggests that the chance of no players getting 100 is just under 59.9%, exactly one player getting 100 is 32.4% and the chance of a tie on 100 must therefore be nearly 8%. Considering that’s the chance of just a tie on 100, the chance of a tie overall might be – and this is a guess rather than a calculation, because you would have to start some modelling about the numbers on which players will choose to spin again or not which will get really tedious when there are five players rather than three – maybe a third or a bit more. Perhaps this is why Big Wheel games with more than three players are so rare.

    Other than that, very much what Brig said. I can take or leave (but mostly leave) the set. The producers had not learnt the value of clever and consistent sound effect design from previous versions. The music was not a highlight, but not as bad as the Pasquale version.

    I’m reminded more of last Christmas’ one-off Blankety Blank revival than anything else. I thought that that had five really good gags that worked tremendously as a one-off but which wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t be tried on a regular weekly show, and happily there hasn’t been a BB revival. This wasn’t bad as such, but in the same way, I hope it doesn’t lead to a full revival… at least, in its current form.

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      Inevitably, I’ve been doing some combinatorics.

      Making some potentially iffy (but I can’t work out how they’re iffy) assumptions, I calculate the probability of there being a tie (of 2 or more players) in a 3-player game being 11.7%. The real-world probability according to this statistics archive seems to be 11.9%, so any assumptions I have made seem to be reasonable in practice. Using an extended version of this logic, I get the probability of there being a tie (of 2 or more players) in a 5-player game being 20.9%. Whether this higher frequency is desirable in terms of exciting television is a matter of opinion.

      In conclusion, my initial guess of “maybe a third or a bit more” wasn’t very good, and maths is the most fun thing to do when you’re off shift and on your own between Christmas and New Year.

  10. gyroscope

    The American version of this show is outstanding. I love how Drew Carey has built on Bob Barker’s version and it does so much right. Why they’ve chosen to deviate from it so much I can’t understand – its not as if what they’ve replaced it with is particularly edgy / funny / ironic / typical channel 4.

    Why on earth haven’t they used THE theme tune? The bland non descript theme they’ve used adds no ooomph to it at all! The Brucie version recognised remixed the the well. I wasn’t keen how the announcer didn’t call the players down, poor Alan having to bellow it!

    The set and logo are bizarre – who are channel 4 aiming this at? – The props also sometimes left a lot to be desired – the paddles in bonkers couldn’t be seen very well as it was black against black. The plinko board getting stuck (like the German version).

    Young, beautiful, glamourous models replaced by.. well I’m too polite to say..

    Didn’t like how they showed us the price on the screen during Beat the Clock

    If the wheel doesn’t have to go all the way around once – can you just pull the wheel onto the next section, if you want that number? Also having to watch 5 people spinning made the whole showcase seem longer than was welcome.

    However, its not all negative.. I thought Alan Carr did a *really* good job. I read an interview with him earlier in the week and he seems to have a genuine love and respect for the format. It wasn’t all about him, and he let the format shine rather than turn it all into ‘channel 4 yoof’ jokes. I liked how they’d brought on some of the more modern games from the American version! Would love to see Hot Seat make an appearance. The audience were worked up to a fever and there was a good energy about it all .- something I thought the Joe Pasquale version failed miserably at!

    It certainly has more right than the new German version, which I really wanted to like, but just didn’t seem to get the atmosphere right. Will be interesting if it goes any further – I’m not quite sure what Channel 4 are thinking.

    1. Danny Kerner

      In my eyes it’s done enough for a one series run of 6-10 weekly episodes. Props need to be adjusted if used again. Plinko needs springed pins as that jam issue kinda forces a blackmailed win. Also the gamble aspect needs to be revived. All or nothing, but I guess channel 4 thought it was too harsh. SFX needs to be reviewed as it did get a bit annoying. The set will need to be looked into as how that past a Strobe test I do not know. Logo I’m hoping is a placeholder for the real one when it returns & finally that wheel did feel cheaply made.

  11. David B

    Is it me, or was there a really weird slow-mo effect applied to the wheel, to make it look like it was slowing down more than it really was?

    1. John R

      The picture on my TV was really funny during that part, they seemed to be combining a couple of different shots into one to make Alan appear closer to the wheel than he actually was.

  12. MrCT2u

    Interesting revival of TPIR to say the least.


    * Nice seeing Alan Carr announcing the contestants to “Come on Down” like they did in the Leslie Crowther era.
    * Usage of the same win sound effect used in the Bob Warman era of TPIR when a contestant has won a 1 bid game (That sound effect was used in the Warman era when a contestant won a floor game or the showcase) and nice to pay a bit of homage to two previous incarnations of the show
    * For what you could regard as the PILOT show, I thought the prizes were pretty damn decent and certainly aiming the show towards a prime time slot if it gets a full series.
    * Using some of the games on the American version could have the potential to work on this version.


    * Set and theme music was awful.
    * US style Plinko I feel won’t cut the mustard as with UK Plinko you had that element of jeopardy which made the game work and if gets a full series I would make it 1 chip free to start, win up to 4 more chips, Have cash slots ranging from £0-£250-£500-£1,000 and whatever the contestant wins they can take the money or gamble it all on 1 more chip going into a win slot (double their money up to £10,000 which was the value of most of the Car prizes of Plinko in the Forsyth era) or a lose slot (lose everything)
    * The big wheel looked like it was made from a bit of sticky back plastic and should be £1,000 bonus for hitting 100 in 1 or 2 spins and not a piffly £100 (or keep the bonus at £100 and throw in a bonus spin for say a Car or £5,000)
    * Showcase could have been a bit more glitzy and could have given away a decent car like a BMW or an Alfa Romeo that would give it a bit of wow factor.

    Overall it has potential so I would give it a respectable 7.5/10

  13. Cliff

    Something that never bugged me about the showcase when I was younger and less well travelled, but:

    When they say “A holiday to Dubai in this luxury hotel for 4 people”… is there small print that the contestant is allowed to examine? Because you’d need to know: are the flights economy, premium economy, business or first class? And are the rooms standard, executive, suites or penthouses? Not having that information makes it impossible to guess the price.

    1. Mart With A Y Not An I

      Wasn’t the basic details covered off in the voice-over, though?
      You may have missed it with all the shouting from the braying hordes in the cheapseats, but I’m sure there was some sort of basic description later on. For flights, I’m sure I’ve heard something along the lines of “you and three friends will be flown in business class by Air Airlines to Zambooboo Island to enjoy 6 days of, etc etc”

      Likewise with the hotels, it’s normally mentioned if it’s all inclusive or not – and usually, if not, a then a helpful ‘bonus’ cash sum as spending money would have then been included in the showcase.

  14. gyroscope

    Other news: RTL finally seem to be showing ‘The Big Bounce’ at the end of January. Also, ‘The Wall’ and ‘500 – Die Quiz Arena’ to return next summer.

  15. Will Tennant

    US Format is still imo the best format going for TPIR for a hour slot.

    Was great to see Bonkers and Pay the Rent, but with only a 5k win max knowing how hard the game is, the Risk/Reward should be £10k as there’s normally only 1 or 2 solutions max that can make it work.

    Plinko having multiple prizes is a nice twist which the US version did do for a Plinko special once. The big gamble that Brucie had was probably still the best but if you have a £5000 slot and then say go for this car might make it very very interesting.

    5 People spinning the wheel is kind of stupid, maybe having 2 wheel spins and then 2 showcases like America would make it more competitive. On top of that having the coloured sections for 5/100/15 is pointless unless they’re doing the bonus spin for hitting 100.

    Not to mention if you think the price higher than anyone else’s bid, just bid £1 more!! Likewise if you think it’s under, just bid £1!

    What annoyed me most was the fact that the jump cuts to the audience never looked to be in real time, it was so badly edited.

  16. TheLupineOne

    Bruce’s Price Is Right was top among the game shows I grew up with as a child (that and the Crystal Maze!), so it was great to see it back. Alan Carr may not have been as good as Brucie, or indeed Joe Pasquale, but still, The Price Is Right! Hopefully this gets commissioned for a full series, would love to see what other recent games from the USA they can bring over here.

    Also, my guess for the Showcase was exactly the same as the winning contestant’s! I’ve always wanted to go sandboarding… and now 1.94 million people know that sandboarding is a thing that exists!

  17. Jussey

    I would love to be able to get a copy of this to see it for myself but i live outside the UK and i can’t find it anywhere
    can anyone help me out?


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