That’s Yer (Pi)Lot: Pressure Pad

By | March 12, 2013

Just got back from watching this being filmed at ITV Studios (Studio 1, TV geeks).

  • It’s a bit confusing what they were after, warm-up suggested they wanted a Saturday night style crowd, lots of other things pointing to an afternoon quiz slot.
  • The host is one man force of nature John Barrowman who was basically what you’d expect John Barrowman to be like for every minute of the three hours this took to film. Highly entertaining and can deliver an autocue, but not a natural quiz show host (for all his popularity if I heard him say “the time won’t begin until after I finish the question” one further time I might stab someone). About 60% of the audience consisted of Harry Enfield’s Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies so there’s a guaranteed audience there, but Barrowman hosting a daytime afternoon quiz seems like an odd career move. Also I don’t ever want to hear the word “pressure” in any context ever again thanks.
  • The prize is £2,000 PLUS a rolling jackpot. They kept the rolling jackpot hidden until the endgame for some reason, as it is you’re splitting any winnings amongst five people. Because yes! The game involves two teams of five, in each round one person from each team will perform a head to head with the loser leaving the game and everything coming down to the final round. It’s the most 12 Yard-ish format 12 Yard have done in some years.
  • The set is dominated by a 15ft diameter (I’d guess) circular screen on the floor, this is the Pressure Pad of the title. The two teams of contestants stand on platforms either side of the Pad about 6ft off the ground basically overlooking the games. The set is otherwise stark – blank panels with lights in between otherwise a black surround. Blue and pink are the two team colours, but that doesn’t mean one team is male and the other female, each team is mixed gender and have a pre-existing relationship.
  • OK so there are five games – for the first four the captain will choose one of their players to duel off. If you win you stay for the final, if you lose you’re off the show (not in the Eggheads style, literally off the set). The games are all quizzes that take place on… the Pressure Pad. Teammates watch, but the players selected to play the games can’t confer.
  • Game one is Radar. It’s a list quiz. A contestant stands either side of the Pressure Pad (I’m probably just going to call it the screen in future, because for all intents and purposes that’s what it is). A sonar-like hand moves clockwise round the pad, when it’s pointing in the contestant’s zone they have to give an answer before it leaves the zone. Giving a wrong answer or taking too long and you lose a life and a different question is asked. In each game each contestant has two lives, lose them both and lose the duel. Workmanlike but not what you’d call original and you get about five seconds thinking (read: dead air) time when really you want it speeding up as the game progresses, with big lists (tonight: Bond films and US States) this should not cause too much of an issue.
  • Game two is One Direction and wins the award for worst use of prop 2013. It’s an ordering quiz, you stand either side of the Pad and you see three answers and you simply have to put them in a correct order. Now seeing as it’s a walk on screen you’d think you’d have the contestant make a trail by walking across the answers in the desired order? Not a bit of it. The contestant will make their order (they have about 30 seconds to do it), Barrowman will repeat it back BUT THIS TIME with them lighting up (although with no visual indication of a sort of route) AND THEN they’ll go through the correct order by lighting each correct step visually, and drawing an arrow in between them even though it would be much quicker to have the contestant trace a route then go BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM you’re right/wrong. Each contestant faces a three part question, then a four part question, then a five part question until someone stuffs up and loses a life. AND THEN! AND THEN! THEY GO BACK TO A THREE PART QUESTION AND THEY DO THE ENTIRE WHOLE HUGELY BORING THING again. AND THEN A THIRD TIME. If someone stuffs up, the other player is not obliged to get their question right at that level, that part of the game has ended. Starting games alternates after each loss of life.
  • Never before have I wanted a contestant to lose so badly just to get the game over with.
  • Game three is Selector: Barrowman reads out a question such as “Who are these people better known as?” and eight names come up on the floor (like Marshall Mathers III, Pricilla White etc.).  Contestants take it in turn to choose and stand on an element (why they couldn’t do this in the last round is beyond me) and give the correct answer for that element (in these instances Eminem and Cilla Black). Therein lies a potentially quite interesting and fun game of forward thinking strategy. EXCEPT. EXCEPT. Once an element has been used it’s replaced with a new one, so the game effectively keeps going until you’re stumped by all eight elements. This game has the added cheer that nobody on the production realised that the hosts and contestants from their marks would be looking at everything upside down. Did no-one think to put some sort of overhead screen up? Again the question and the elements change after each life lost.
  • Game four is Borderline. A map of the UK gets a line drawn down it. A question is asked and you’re meant to stand on the segment that contains the right answer. After both people give a correct answer a further line is placed on the map to create a new segment. Repeat until someone stuffs up then (sigh) like round two the whole game starts again. This is not an awful idea for a game, but with about 30 seconds to decide on an answer and a removal of difficulty after a wrong answer it gets very dull and again I wanted someone to stuff up just to end it.
  • Game five is the Final played by the captains and with any team members left able to give advice from the bleachers. Each team races to answer four questions, the first has two choices, the second three, the third question four and finally the fourth question five possibilities. The team with the most team members goes first. In front of the Captain is a sort of brickwork on the screen with 2, 3, 4 and 5 bricks on each row and a big gold bar with £2000 on it in the middle. A question is asked and the two possibilities are shown, after taking the team’s advice the captain steps on a right answer. After some tension pausing, the team are told if it’s right or not – if it’s right they play on, if not then the wrong answer is removed and the other team get to start their race to the middle – if you get control again then you get the same question but you’ve eliminated one of the wrong answers. The first team to get the five-answer question correct wins the money. Frankly this could do with a thirty second time limit on giving answers. The questions are not gimmes by any means.
  • BUT THERE’S MORE because there’s also a rolling jackpot element. If you get all four questions right in one go you win the jackpot, starting at £1,000 and increasing by £1,000 a day. This is not represented on the gold bar graphic. This applies to both teams not just the team that goes first.
  • And that’s it really, rather small c conservative and two places I wished it was much better, or at least much less tedious. The rest is workmanlike but could be more interesting and fun, but it probably doesn’t matter what I think because I suspect John Barrowman brings in a reasonable audience regardless of the format.

6 thoughts on “That’s Yer (Pi)Lot: Pressure Pad

  1. sphil

    main game from friends like these meets eggheads with quizzing variety then. meh, there’s been better and worse

    Reply
  2. David B

    Bit of news for you: this year, OC will return late Spring. Eight teams will compete for the title. You’ll still need four wins to take the title, but the initial stages will be done on a ‘double knockout’ basis. You need two wins to qualify for the semis, but two losses mean you’re on the next (thought) train out of town.

    Reply
      1. David B

        In a couple of weeks – i.e. TOO SOON.

        And if that news wasn’t exciting enough, then we’re back for another series later in the year as well.

        Reply
  3. Weaver

    An audience of Lovely Wobbly Old Ladies and students? BBC1, 3pm, bang opposite Countdown. Channel 4’s format tweak to avoid an ad break at 14.58 makes a lot of sense, but the channel’s extended racing coverage will really hurt the regular schedule.

    From the description, it sounds as though this is a 30-minute game padded out to a longer slot. Would it benefit from an additional player, perhaps allowing each captain to play two people on one round?

    Reply
    1. Weaver

      When the series went to air in November, it was in the 3pm slot. Changes at Channel 4 meant it was no longer opposite Countdown.

      Reply

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