The Dark Zone

By | November 30, 2018

Big Brother‘s second house. The X Factor Twitter Wheel. The X Factor Jukebox.

There are many examples of idea in TV that are bigged up and dropped quite quickly, either they don’t work, viewers don’t like it or both.

And so we come to Run the Risk‘s Dark Zone, replacing the show’s big race finale during the year comic and puppeteer John Ecclestone was given the reigns of the show. It’s a bit like Funhouse, but without any indication of scale and being rather difficult to follow. It’s probably no surprise that when Bobby Davro took over the following year they went back to being a big race, and making it more inflatable and gungier than before.

19 thoughts on “The Dark Zone

  1. SamB

    I remember when they brought in The Dark Zone, it seemed so cool and fun as a concept, but you couldn’t see half the things they were doing, and it was somehow completely divorced from the concept of the rest of the show.

    A good idea for a different show, basically.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Mmm, largely agree with that, not much wrong as a concept but fails to convincingly sell itself.

      It’s a *little bit* Super Round.

  2. Tom F

    Some random ones that sprang to mind:

    Taskmaster S1 had a task in a shopping centre that involved harassing the public.

    Early Only Connect did a special episode that was a walls tournament.

    The multiple-choices with “at least one wrong and at least one pointless” on Pointless.

    The posting-money-in-envelopes from WIDM 2014.

    1. Brandon

      I remember that thing from early Taskmaster. If I remember correctly, one of the contestants lied and said they were doing it for charity, are we thinking of the same thing?

  3. Alex McMillan

    Bamber’s “Pass The Baton” from University Challenge springs to mind

    1. Brandon

      I think no-one understood that but him, not even all of the contestants.

      1. Des Elmes

        Plus it was the second part of each first-round contest (the first part using the traditional starter format), and it didn’t feature in the later rounds.

        Sure would like to see it in action on YouTube, though – it would make a welcome change from new episodes being uploaded almost as soon as they are broadcast.

        As regards the Krypton Super Round – while I agree that it didn’t work, the Kryptic Rings and the computer challenge are still things I wish I could try out. And nothing against Simon Evans whatsoever, but I can’t help but enjoy watching his error and subsequent disqualification…

          1. 'Mr Babbage'

            I’ve been trying to write about the super round for the site, and I ‘think’ I get the Kryptic Rings. Each player has their own maze, with the first junction being their colour code, then round that image clockwise for the colour/character pairing. It only seems to matter for the last junction though, as there seems to be a long way through, but only one valid exit. That could be garbage though, as there’s so little left in the edit it’s near impossible to follow.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            I always thought because the numbers/letters were in a ring, the maze basically had one correct circular path all the contestants took by following the code (which is more difficult because it goes up/down/about) which would dump them at an exit someone else started from. Following wrong paths leads to dead ends and/or ultimately the wrong exit.

            BTW if you dropped the quotes Mr Babbage I won’t need to pre-approve your posts.

  4. John Round

    Remember that time when the producers of I’m A Celebrity paid £600k to sign up Noel Edmonds?! That worked out well…

    1. Chris M. Dickson

      That’s hilarious, especially when compared to his experience seven years previously. To have pulled off the double appearance on one show had notorious consequences; achieving the double-double is Frank Abagnale calibre. It’s tempting to wonder (and maybe research) if both Jekyll and Hyde appeared on any other shows.

      This was news to me, but there’s a The Krypton Factor Facebook page which had spotted it seven years ago!

  5. Mr Babbage

    Well, didn’t know that, I guess it’s because the pseudonymous nature of my existence throws the spam filter. I’ll remember that going forward. As for the round itself, they’re clearly entering and exiting at different points, but I could easily believe that some parts of it are shared since it’s so relatively small. The fact that it’s so confusing with the video out there probably says volumes about how bad an idea it was.

    1. Des Elmes

      By the looks of things, each contestant’s entry point was marked with their colour on the floor, while their exit point was also marked with their colour but on a covered-up circular board inside the rings – they had to lift up the cover to make sure that this was their exit point before leaving.

      And on the floor below each exit point was a letter, to be used for logging in for the computer challenge.

      Not sure whether or not that’s made things any simpler.

      1. Mr Babbage

        I’ve spent literally hours going through this of an evening, and I think I finally have a handle on it – entry and exit points are marked with colours, everything else with the numbers or figures that are potentially in the code (so each junction is surrounded by many symbols, all seemingly without player colours). If you go from your entry point and use the junction (vertical or horizontal) that corresponds to each part of the code in turn, that route is the shortest to your designated exit – not the only route you understand, but the shortest. There are a couple of dead ends in there, but mostly just splitting a ring in half so you could work out that you needed to be on the other side. I guess guide arrows in this case are effectively making it plain to the contestant that one junction is right, so they don’t have to remember as much of the code.

        The main reason it is so hard to work out seems to be that the director is frantically cutting away any time the ring structure wobbles due to the movement of the contestants, its a rickety thing all told, but then again , the whole concept of the round seems to be pretty shaky if what I’ve read is true about repeated pauses for technical faults and the like. Not a surprise it didn’t return for the reboot.


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