So I’ve just got back from watching this in Farnborough (note to potential audience members – this is very pedestrian unfriendly albeit not impossible, I advise you to take a torch or be prepared to book a taxi especially for the end of the evening – walk or take the shuttle bus to the car park, continue to Gate B, turn right and follow the road to win your freedom. This is a format in itself). But what is it like? There are no results spoilers here so don’t worry, although if you don’t want to know what the challenges are like then come back and read this after it’s gone out.
- The show is set in the FIVE Exhibition Centre in Farnborough. It’s a big ol’ aircraft hangar basically. The stage is raised diagonally across the middle of the floor – at one end is a big screen which splits to act as doors, at the other end is some grandstand seating for friends and family and lucky audience members. The rest of the audience are standing either side of the stage, and they are standing for the whole recording – about three hours tonight.
- Around the stage are various banners with the show’s compass logo on it. On the stage are various adventury/aeronautical props – cargo boxes, propellers, ropes and the like. The contestants have their own podiums along the right of the stage with pictures of their other halves on them, and on the floor in the middle are some grid markings (I presume, I couldn’t actually see it from my vantage point).
- And Emma Willis is our genial host, with Reggie Yates doing the OB bits.
- Right so the basic premise is pretty good – ten couples (not necessarily romantically linked) compete to win the £100,000 prize. One of each couple stays at home whilst the other half will compete in adventure challenges in Morocco (for it is there). The three worst performers each week get on the plane back home, and their partners must compete in a quiz to earn the ticket back to Morocco. Each week one or two couples are eliminated until the last one left wins the money.
- The show is recorded in real time (so it’s baffling it’s not live really) – the challenges are filmed during the week, the losers fly back on Friday night, compete in the quiz on Saturday and the winners fly back out that night. The halves don’t have any contact with each other except for a fleeting couple of minutes in the studio, so tearful reunions are expected.
- Out in Morocco the adventurers all face a team challenge – the group is split into two teams, the winners automatically stay on the show, the losers face a Survival Challenge.
- It is fair to point out that the videos we got to see were rough cuts and there are all sorts of questions about how the entire thing is going to edit together, so please bear that in mind.
- This week it’s exploring the Marketplace of Fes. The teams have been invited to a party at the Palace but they have to pick up some things along the way. They have a map, a wheelbarrow and a phrasebook. Their first job is to pick up as many oranges as they can carry, in the event of a tie the amount of oranges will determine the winner. The other things to pick up all have a sort of mini-task involved – it might be a very specific rug, or they’ll have to negotiate buying slippers. This isn’t a race, but it probably ought to be. It’s not the most interesting or original task in honesty.
- There are quite a lot of filmed interjections regarding home and personal life, and fairly often the tape will be stopped and Emma will have a chat with the partners in the studio. It feels a little bit like it could do with more action and less reaction, but as I say it might edit well.
- The partners of the winning team in the studio are all sent packing for the evening, we will see them next week after a brief video message from their adventure partner.
- The losing team now face the Survival Challenge, and the bottom three will fly back to the UK. This week a rather spectacularly shot challenge in a cave above a 260ft drop. Simply, they must walk along a very ricketty-looking bridge then jump off and grab onto a trapeze and hang on for as long as possible, until the inevitable, a not-260ft drop attached to a safety rope. Not an original challenge, but some spectacular filmography here so it can have a pass.
- Once the film of all four contestants have been played, the losing three are introduced one-by-one back through the doors into the studio. They’re still kept apart from their partner, and will remain so until after the quiz.
- The quiz. There are five lights on the floor leading up to the departure gate – a runway of sorts. Every time a player gets a question correct, they move one step forward. Every time they get a question wrong, the opposing players get to take a step forward. Whatsmore the best-worst performer on the Survival Challenge gets a two step headstart, the next player a one-step headstart and the outright loser no headstart, whatsmore this will be the order of play. The adventurer chooses the category of questions for their partner – four to choose from – and they will continue to get questions on those categories until they get to the Departure Gate. Once they get to the Departure Gate they will get a question on Morocco and/or something tangentally related to things the adventurers have been up to. A correct answer on the Departure Gate means you’re getting back on the plane.
- All questions are three-option multiple choice. Most of them aren’t too difficult I thought, but there is the occasional stumper.
- Tonight was especially exciting as there was a double
evictionelimination so the quiz worked slightly differently – the first two people to get three spaces then fought it out in a straight race for the line, whoever didn’t make it to space three is out there and then.
- Winners get a brief chance to hug their partner, then straight out back to be shown getting on a plane – literally (you can see it on your way in just outside the hangar, although whether this is actually the plane they use to fly them back is doubtful).
- I really want to like it but I think it’s got its work cut out in the edit to make it watchable – the tasks aren’t all that original, the quiz rather slow and a bit hackneyed and the one thing I can almost guarantee people will say is that “there’s too much chat.” BUT the conceit is quite nice and it’s well filmed and I quite like the logo, and if I’m hard on it it’s because I’m an adventure game nut and want them all to be brilliant, so.
Edit: A few more things whilst I remember:
- The casting is diverse, there’s a wide range of ages and ethnicities not only in the question-answerers but especially so in the adventurers. It positively encourages have-a-go heroes.
- There were a couple of times where they had to stop chatting because a plane flew overhead. These bits will almost certainly be edited out, but it might be worth keeping one or two instances in to reiterate they’re in a real hangar, for ambience.
- It sounds like they’re going to go big on behind-the-scenes stuff and extra clips on the website, so there’s that.