How It Works: Gameshow Edition

By | October 14, 2018

This is interesting, FOTB James Wallace who we posted a thing about sometime ago has gone live with his new blog, Mr Babbage’s Lock Up, which looks at the technology behind the technology of various bits of gameshow equipment and related things. Go and have a look, right now various interesting articles about things like the graphics from Catchphrase and how the displays on Family Fortunes (i.e. Mr Babbage) worked.

In other news, @davemadeatweet has revealed that Dave Made a Maze, a film that looks set to get straight to the heart of Bother’s Bar’s Film Club, is getting a UK release in January.

Remember! It’s BBGNXII: Champigion of Champignons on Saturday night! Jackbox 5 releases on most platforms on Wednesday.

Finally a big thanks to everyone who has left a tip over the last month, much appreciated. If you’re buying anything from, doing it via the link on the sidebar (or here) gives us a small cut.

18 thoughts on “How It Works: Gameshow Edition

  1. Lee

    Me and my mum were talking about Tenable and the fact the questions they ask are very random topics.

    She thinks that the teams are given a set of 10 lists they might ask before the show so they can research. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I don’t think so, but I suspect they’ll try and find a list that plays to one of their strengths.

      Actually Alex and Laura will know for sure.

      As we’ve always said, sometimes something will be a list of ten and you can use it and increasingly it’s going to be slightly off kilter as all the obvious questions get used up.

      1. Alex McMillan

        Hello there! So yes, there is some fun behind the scenes quirk to this. The team weren’t given any indication as to what the questions would be like prior to going into studio, however during the application and audition, the crew are trying to get an idea of the sort of thing your team is likely to know “a bit” about, as to avoid lists where the contestant can’t even hazard a guess.

        When we went into studio, as the captain, I was called aside and given a brief description to what each question would entail (other than my own and the final), so it our case, I knew the questions would be about, it order: Children’s Books, the United States, Countdown, and UK politics. Not enough to preempt the question (usually), plus we’re all mic’d at this point so I can’t slip intel to people about the topics, but this is done to allow me to get an idea in my head as to who I should save for later questions (for example, I knew not to let Stuart go up for the earlier questions because he was the one who knew the most about UK Politics).

        So yes, the questions packs are tailored somewhat to the team, but it’s smartly done to avoid dead air! Me and Laura might cover this stuff more on a future HIWOT.

        Other fun facts: The studio Tenable is filmed in is the same space as Taskmaster, and Warwick is one of the nicest telly folk I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

        1. Alex McMillan

          Bonus thing I just remembered: we had a key word the team would use if they wanted me to use the overrule but didn’t want to burn a nominate. If needs be, they were to answer “Sinead O’Connor”, regardless of the question, and I’d overrule. This was unfortunately never used.

    1. Nico W.

      It is the first time it will be called Survivior, but we hade two attempts at it as Expedition Robinson in 2000 on RTL II and in 2007 on Prosieben. The first I can’t recall (well, I was six and watched a lot of telly, but hardly any RTL II), but the Prosieben version was a huge flop. At some point they changed its slot from primetime (I think it was aired mid-week) to weekend mornings with two episodes airing back to back, or one on Saturday and one on Sunday, I don’t remember the details. I liked watching it in that slot, but no one else did and it’s a bit expensive for that.
      And as I tweeted: Vox is the most interesting channel in Germany right now. They are very brave in their decisions and almost all of them have paid off in the last five years. So I am pretty sure they can make it a success and if it is a huge success they might try De Mol as we know a German production company has bought the rights to a German version some years ago and tried to sell it. Also the Belgian company owning the format entirely has founded a production company in Germany a few weeks ago – so if the other company doesn’t have the rights anymore they might have a go at it.
      Well while I am here I can also tell you my favourite move by Vox:
      Close to christmas some years ago they aired a pilot for Kitchen Impossible where two chefs travel to two locations around the world each and taste a dish typical for the cuisine there. They will try to cook it by just having eaten the dish once and without any info at all. Then customers/members of the restaurant/family they visit will judge their dish and the best chef wins. It was a flop back then, quite a big one even, but the boss of programming chose to air it again in another slot and it was so popular that time round, they commissioned a full series. And another one. And another. And everybody I know loves the show, even if they don’t have any interest in cooking shows at all. You should really try to watch it somewhere! It has even sold to France at MIP this week and other countries are having talks about it. But it’s this combination of great programs and the trust in them that lets Vox’s ratings rise quite a good bit.

  2. Brandon

    I know someone who had something to do with the software used on Millionaire (can’t remember exactly what he did) and apparently if you use 50:50 after asking the audience on the same question, the wrong option it will keep is the one with the highest votes. He’s not too sure if he’s remembered correctly, but he can definitely remember that the Ask the Audience keypads used to go wrong a lot.

  3. Brig Bother Post author

    The big question: what is Chris Goss up to these days? I saw his name on some credits recently-ish, but I can’t remember the show or anything.

      1. David B

        Yep, that’s him. Very much still in the business, but with more of a global outlook these days.

  4. David B

    Quite a lot of telly to keep on top of at the moment:
    – Family Cooking Showdown has had a monumental reboot, including a complete recast, new graphics, more families and a stripped format. It’s quite the change.
    – For Facts Sake has some nice ideas in it, but the sound dub is REALLY irritating.
    – If you haven’t seen Bob Mortimer’s Chris Rhea story at the end , it’s worth the price of admission.

    1. Des Elmes

      And, of course, there have been more changes on Mastermind – which, not for the first time, feel like changes for change’s sake.

      I’ve never thought it was necessary to re-record the theme tune, or to have the outside border of the score box gradually turn blue during the final seconds of the round, accompanied by a burst of the theme. And I still haven’t warmed to these two changes, either.

      As for these latest changes? Each contestant walks onto the set for their specialist subject round, again accompanied by a burst of the theme, then walks off again when the round is over. Then, heading into the general knowledge rounds, all four contestants walk back onto the set together and take their seats in contestants’ row, and their scores are displayed on screen – but John doesn’t read them out, instead pointing out that each contestant knows their own score but not their opponents’ scores.

      Again, I don’t see any real need for these changes – and again, I can’t see myself warming to them at any point in the near future. Needless to say, they’ve not proved popular on social media.

      Of course, Mastermind going out to competitive tender means that there’s the possibility of the next series not being produced by BBC Studios. And if it isn’t, it’ll be interesting to see what the new company does…

      1. Brandon

        I’m not normally that annoyed by changes to shows, not compared to most people on here anyway, but these changes really stand out because they somehow make Mastermind look tacky.


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