Show Discussion: The Edge

By | March 16, 2015

bentonWeekdays, 2:15pm,
BBC1

Jolly actor Mark Benton invites four people to put their knowledge and bowling skill to the test in a show of brains and balls. The better they are at answering questions, the more favourable the conditions for bowling. The aim is to bowl as close to the edge of the lane as possible without going off the end.

Quite a fun idea, but I found it quite frustrating to watch in the audience – a game of accumulation which thwarts accumulating is a difficult watch for a viewer, it might have been better to eliminate the “danger zone” element completely. Still, your mileage may vary.

66 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Edge

  1. Alex S

    Like Brig said, danger zones are a bit unnecessary and just get in the way. Resetting the podiums in the middle of a round is frustrating as well.

    Final round feels to me that of all the ways you could make the game progressively easier, increasing the size of ‘the edge’ seems the most uninteresting. Much like if the endgame on Pointless worked in such a way where you had to give an answer with a score of less than ‘x’, rather than having a few attempts to get a pointless answer. I’d find it much more interesting to let them earn balls to roll down to hit the very edge or perhaps a similar mechanic to let them choose/earn a shorter lane to make the task easier.

    The gimmick is to have a shot of a ball landing just on the edge, to have the endgame won by landing the ball somewhere in the middle seems a a bit silly.

    Reply
    1. Gizensha

      Just got round to watching this.

      Quite enjoyed it, but I can see why it’s not getting the viewers, and I think they could have made better use of the whole thing. You’ve got buttons by the lanes already, why not just do ‘quick fire buzzer quiz where each correct answer earns a bowl’ rather than the ‘pick your lane’ business, then start with the player with the most bowls and alternate until you can’t in the bowling segments – increases the amount of bowling per show – The gimmick is severely underused here – Maybe play for an escalating jackpot (Which is reduced by the amount won from it, not reduced to 0 if, say, half of it’s won) similar to Pointless with Edges adding to the jackpot amount rather than a personal bank, and have scores from previous rounds count towards the current round. Certainly a lot to like here, but it just doesn’t feel fully baked.

      Also feels closer to shuffleboard than bowls for me, weirdly, which I don’t know if it’s a good thing [simplifies the format] or a bad thing [a bit of a wasted opportunity, maybe?]. The incrementing amount of answers required per round is cute, though.

      Resetting the podiums in the middle of a round is frustrating as well.

      Yes, this is the only show I can recall when, upon learning that there were more questions due to the resetting of the podiums after someone got in, that my reaction was “Padding.”

      Reply
  2. Clive of Legend

    I quite enjoyed it, but I really don’t get the gamble at the end. They really oughta just give them three tries and reduce the cash each time they miss.

    Reply
  3. Brig Bother Post author

    They don’t have to show these in any order, so the episode that went out today is likely to be on of the best ones.

    Reply
  4. Daniel Peake

    For me this falls into the “nice idea but not great execution” bracket, which 1000HB also has done (for me).

    Main thought: Not enough ball rolling. Needs more of it, as it’s mostly the point of the show.

    Also, instead of there being 20 scoring zones each about a ball width, there should be say 5 larger scoring zones over the same area. This way it would make danger zones much more dangerous, as at the moment they’re padding, annoying, and basically irrelevant. Yes, you’d get more ties, but then you’d be able to roll more balls down the lanes, which is the USP of the show!

    The 1-2-3-4 answer question mechanic was interesting. It felt a bit daunting towards the end, but I need to watch more of that type of questions before I see if I like it or not.

    This is a very small point, in terms of the lanes, I’m not entirely sure how fair it is to have four different lengths of lane. You get used to having one length then it gets changed up on you. I might have been more inclined to have four lanes of the same legnth with different numbers of danger zones.

    Certainly the show it trying to put more strategy into the game than is there – if you get points you either take the smallest lane or the same lane as last time as you’re likely used to it, and danger zone tactics aren’t hugely relevant.

    My last point is about the set. It’s very pretty, with lovely LEDs everywhere, but I’m getting fed up now of sets that are too dark. I felt the same was true about Ejector Seat. It frustrates me and I’m not sure why. Does anyone else agree with that?

    Reply
    1. Crimsonshade

      I have to admit, I actually don’t like the look of the set at all. I think it’s too distracting… somehow the overuse of LED lighting and large poles representing the starting areas make it look all too busy in my eyes. I’m also not sure a dark set really suits a bowling-based game as the traditional environments you’d play bowling on are not typically dark.

      Reply
        1. Crimsonshade

          I actually do have a bowling alley nearby here which offers glow bowling. It occurred to me as I was writing that comment that it’s an exception, but I’m not convinced it actually is the same kind of beast.

          Reply
  5. David B

    Interesting one, this. There’s a lot to like in how it’s been done on a technical point of view.

    But the fact that they have to cut away from the rolls to avoid giving away the strength of the throw too soon is a bit of a killer.

    Lord knows why they reset the podia after each lane choice – seems a bit weird, and makes the viewer wait a bit too long before they actually get on with the bowling. In fact, I’d have made them do one bowl at the start of the show to win a small head start in the quiz round, a la the Supermarket Sweep ‘mini sweep’.

    While the 1,2,3,4 answers thing gives it a point of difference, it makes a bit of an unnecessary rod for the back. Good luck finding 4-answer questions in series 5.

    I think the Edge is too small to make it worth going for, tactically. I’d have been tempted to make it 2 or 3 times larger so that it becomes a viable target – especially in the second or third round.

    Reply
    1. Crimsonshade

      Hell, we’re told they practice on the lanes before the show in order to allow them to get a feel for their ideal lane lengths and how powerful they should bowl; maybe we can just have the practices as part of the actual televised show and incorporate your suggestions into it.

      Reply
  6. Little Timmy

    Another great idea, badly calibrated.

    You have so many resources to play with – balls, lane length, cash spaces, cash values, Edge size – you could offer a whole choice of rewards in exchange for right answers, and end up with quite an intriguing resource management game which always resulted in a totally different outcome each episode (e.g. someone with 8 balls and a regular lane playing someone with 1 ball, a massive lane, but a single target on the end). Instead we just have to sit through a lot of questions most of which have no tangible effect on the outcome, and this seems a waste.

    (And to be honest after the 689th Marc Sylvan orchestra hit, I was watching on mute. I’ll repeat: please get someone else to do game show music, it’s been eight-and-a-half years since In the Grid and he’s still copying and pasting it.)

    At the very least, if you’re going to make the Edge that impossibly tiny, put a few more license fees on it to make it worth the gamble!

    Reply
  7. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

    I had to record the first episode as my volunteering work doesn’t finish until 2, so I don’t get home in time to see it.

    Overall, I actually quite enjoyed this. The round structure is pretty clever, with the number of answers required scaling up as the rounds go on. I don’t really have a problem with the Danger Zones as it adds an element of strategy into the game, especially so in the third round where you can move it about to hinder your opponent as much as you can, pretty much forcing them to go for The Edge in some cases.

    It’s a middle-of-the-road show for me. There ARE certainly better shows out there, but there are MUCH worse out there as well. It might get a few votes in the Hall of Fame, but it’s still early in the year yet.

    Reply
  8. Dave M

    Most of the gripes I have have already been mentioned, but I did want to point out that having a player be eliminated after rolling a grand total of one (1) ball set off my “bit of a wasted journey” alarm. Certainly there must be away to get all the contestants rolling a bit more often?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I forgot I said this post-recording, but the first round certainly feels like a lot of quiz for not much reward.

      Reply
  9. Wrong Guess!

    Didn’t mind the show – thought the final game would have benefitted from only one slot added per right answer rather than two.

    Not a fan of the set though, felt like the leftovers from Reflex.

    Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        If I seemed a bit surprised on Twitter yesterday when that twelve year old bloke got eight correct in the final, today’s was much closer to what I expected – a score of one.

        Reply
  10. John R

    Was it just me or did the whole show have a feeling of ‘The Link’?!

    Probably the same production company, I haven’t checked, but even the host looks a bit like Mark Williams!

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Not sure it this, The Link filmed in Glasgow and this was at BBC Elstree, prod companies tend to stick to the same places.

      Reply
    2. Crimsonshade

      Funnily enough I was just discussing this show with my mother, who described the host as coming across to her as “feeling like a poor imitation of Mark Williams without any of the joviality”. She feels the show as a whole has a lack of warmth which will likely deter viewers over time; and I’m inclined to agree.

      Reply
    3. Delano

      The Link is a trio effort by STV, BBC Scotland and Linkee TV, The Edge is a 100% BBC production. Close, but not there…

      Reply
  11. Greg

    I am not sure how to feel about this one, i don’t hate it but then again i did fall asleep watching it first time round and had to try again later.

    It does some things i like, i am a fan of the question mechanic of having to give 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 answers in each round. The hosing was good but not sure how i am going to enjoy the cheesy catchphrases after hearing them again and again. The set is nice and i did like the overall presentation.

    However as some have pointed out i do not know why after a contestant released their ball why the others had to be reset, to me that is just preventing them getting to the money shot and the point of the show.

    I would also liked to have seen higher amounts on the longer lanes to throw a bit more strategy into the mix, rather than just lets pick the shortest lane available.

    I can’t say ill make an effort to watch but if i am in and its on ill not turn it off.

    Reply
  12. Paul B

    823,000 (12.3%) for TX1. Down about a third on slot average. More ratings to follow.

    Reply
  13. Paul B

    Bargain Hunt 2.1 (34%)
    The Edge 0.8 (12%)
    Pointless 3.7 (26%)

    Two Tribes 1.2 (7%)
    Eggheads 1.1 (6%)
    University Challenge 2.6 (12%)
    Only Connect 2.1 (9%)

    Rinder 1.3 (19%)
    Dickinson’s Real Deal 1.1 (15%)
    1,000 Heartbeats 1.3 (14%)
    The Chase 3.1 (23%)

    Countdown 0.5 (7%)
    Deal or No Deal 0.5 (7%)
    Come Dine With Me 0.8 (8%)
    Four in a Bed 0.8 (7%)
    Coach Trip 0.7 (5%)

    Reply
    1. David Howell

      Looks like The Edge carried straight to slip and it’s gone first ball.

      Oh, wrong traditional British summer sport.

      1KHB unfazed by losing its TP lead-in, comes in at the same mediocre rating. ITV could move TP back to 4 and have 1KHB step in in relief. Hammocking doesn’t work in 2015!

      Reply
  14. Mart With A Y Not An I

    Well, I’ll give it a 7/10. Just.
    I would disagree with the comment about the set being too dark. It needs to be, if you have a four colour contrast playing surface. Having a bright pastel coloured backdrop would detract from bowling lanes, by reducing their visual impact.

    I like the clever sound effect of the ball running up the money ladder on the lanes, but hate the way it just falls off the end with very little drama, bar a sound effect and red slow flash lighting. Quick cut to 3 replays with doomed ball at slow motion.
    And the same overdub of the audience ‘oooh’ effects (which was sounded like the same ‘overacted’ one that some warm-ups gets you to do during a recording break)

    Still not sure on the host. No doubt he is nice chap, but there is still too much obvious delivered scripted banter written on the autocue (which is strange for a Mark as an accomplished actor) and it does feel that he was booked on the back of his run as the stereotypical ‘jolly fat one’ in Strictly 2013, and the world has moved on a bit since then.

    Biggest issue I have is the final round. Simply the wrong format, and feels tagged on as the last idea the development team had before pitching the show.

    Here’s my idea.
    For example, say the jackpot being played for is £4,000.

    All 4 lanes are in play. You would have a fairly low money ladder increase upto three quarters up, then higher steps in values to the edge. The jackpot being played for is split 4 ways, and put on the last ‘zone’ before the edge on each lane.

    The contestant has the lanes to bowl one ball on each and stop it on a cash amount, with the aim to accumulatively add up to the £4,000 jackpor.

    The only way to win the full jackpot amount is if the contestant lands the ball in any edge zone, or put the ball in the £1,000 zone four consecutive times.

    Conversely, bowl one ball off the lane, zero, but so there is something still to play for, the last zone amounts on the remaining lanes are recalculated to still add up to £4,000.

    Bowl the second time off the lane – Game Over. Win zip. Exit is over there. Clear off.

    However, I know what you are saying “Blimey, give them a chance” so to make things a bit easier, I’d introduce a ‘rangefinder’ mechanic similar the The Price Is Right does for the showcase.

    To do this, 60 seconds of rapid fire questions before the bowlage. Every correct answer ‘wins’ £100 to the ‘under’ allowance.

    Contestant answers 10 questions correctly so their range is £1000.

    To win some money (expect after nailing one in the zone), after bowling the four balls, the amounts added up would be between £3,000 – £4,000. Anything lower than £3,000 or over £4,000 and it’s the looser music sting that booms out.

    Doing it this way would allow a bit of suspense to build up in the final round, which does seem to be rather lacking.
    It also removes some of the ‘all or nothing’ gamble element. Plus it adds a bit of skill rather than throw and hope, and allow a second chance if the first bowl goes tits up to the proceedings…

    And, crucially, a tiny bit more bowling in the show about bowling which is the shows USP hook.

    Reply
  15. Kniwt

    OK, I’m already more than tired of hearing “Let’s roll” on every single bowl. It’s 14 years on now, but that phrase still resonates somewhat uncomfortably for some.

    I agree: So glad to see that the BBC have found another use for the Reflex set.

    Reply
  16. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

    If I could make one slight change to this, it would be in the endgame. Instead of giving the player the choice of how many balls they want to go for, have it so they have 3 attempts come what may and will win the whole amount for 1 ball, half for 2 balls and a third for 3 balls. It would be gutting if you went for, say, 2 balls and managed it on your first go, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I KNOW it’s to add the jeopardy element to it, much like the higher and lower offers on The Chase but that’s just me.

    Reply
    1. David B

      If there’s one thing this format gets right, it’s the end game.

      Very few people will play it perfectly – winning on their last ball. If they don’t take enough balls, they lose everything. If they take too many, they win less than they could have.

      As well as providing jeopardy, both of these things reduce the money payout required.

      Reply
  17. Davey

    I would rate this show 5/10 at best, and that’s for the set and lighting… the rest is rubbish.

    The script is most annoying part… they say the word edge about 700 times a show… yawn!

    Reply
  18. Alex McMillan

    Fun little side note: the “times run out” noise in The Edge is the same as one of the tribes buzzer noises in “Two Tribes”

    Reply
    1. Crimsonshade

      Glad someone other than me has noticed this! I’ve noticed the show re-using sound effects from a number of game shows before it – which isn’t a bad thing per se – but that one to me struck me as the one example of a sound being used for a purpose it simply doesn’t suit.

      Reply
  19. Paul B

    Down to somewhere between 700 and 750,000 for TX3 (on my phone I only get ratings to one decimal place). 1,000 Heartbeats also a season low of 1.1m.

    Reply
    1. David B

      Wow, that’s really harsh. I know it’s unbalanced as a show, but they’ve had some decent results and apart from a slow first act I quite like watching it.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’m enjoying watching it more than I was anticipating, but there are a lot of empty calories in it.

        Remember the golden rule, it’s not enough to have a decent format, you have to make it palatable for the audience. There’s a reasonable amount to put people off here.

        Reply
  20. Brig Bother Post author

    I’m amused that when they go through the missed questions in the final they don’t bother giving four possible correct answers.

    Reply
  21. BigBen

    What do you all think of this as an idea? (Particularly those of you who know about budgeting and backstage goings on in the production world).

    Have ‘The Edge’ as a rolling jackpot starting at £1,000 and increasing by £500 every round in everything except the final – it’s such a tiny target it might only be hit once every 4/5 shows, so it will become a very significant reward eventually and a target worth aiming for. As it is, in round 1, there’s no great incentive to take a risk and aim for it at £1,000 when you could get £900 with less risk of busting. This will boost the appearance of the prizes but might not actually have a huge impact on the show’s budget for the following reasons:

    1. Since banked money doesn’t contribute to who stays and who goes, it is perfectly possible someone might continue rolling hard after getting a large amount and bust out or underperform in a later round.

    2. The jackpot is won so infrequently that at this rate they could seemingly offer £50,000 and not break the bank!

    Thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think it would be a very strange event to offer £50k in round one, have it won, then have a £1k jackpot for round two and a bit more for three and then have no payoff if you get knocked out before the final…

      Reply
          1. Brig Bother Post author

            I would suggest that’s different as the million wedge is always there, and hasn’t been building up for days on end. Also it doesn’t contribute to a player’s score.

  22. Daniel H

    The Edge hit on the blue lane today.
    2 out of 8 winners in the endgame I believe thus far.

    Reply
  23. Daniel H

    15 shows in and for the first time (correct me if I’m wrong) somebody has hit a danger zone scoring them £1 rather than £950 and costing them a place in the head to head

    5 wins from 15 overall thus far, I think

    Reply
      1. Daniel H

        No – it wasn’t – particularly as it was such a good roll in the first place – only one space off The Edge. She would have been through easily otherwise.

        And although the danger zones do force people to play more/less cautiously it must say something when it’s taken 15 shows for someone to land on one.

        Reply
        1. David B

          There’s two ways of looking at that. One is that the zones are too narrow to worry about hitting. The other is that players are doing well to avoid them. I’m in the first camp.

          This thing about rolling for £1 to keep you in the game is proving to be a bit of a tension killer.

          Reply
          1. Brig Bother Post author

            Yep, it’s ‘stuff that looks like strategy but isn’t really, ‘which I pointed out ages ago!

            Really it shouldn’t be hard to work out *implications* of things in playtesting.

          2. Little Timmy

            They need to be 3 spaces long to be even remotely worth wasting breath on explaining. Even then I’m not convinced.

            Considering the pathetic size of the Edge until the endgame where all of a sudden it’s unfathomably long, why they can’t shoehorn in some quiz element of being able to increase one’s Edge size in the main game (in lieu of one quiz point) is totally beyond me.

          3. Daniel H

            Yes – would probably have been better to have The Pound Zone as another £0 area or give people more than one roll in the first round as at the minute if someone rolls it off the end (err… I mean over The Edge) you can pretty much just drop the ball on the lane to go through

          4. Daniel Peake

            Hence my suggestion ages ago of fewer (but bigger) scoring zones. It’s really frustrating having to sit through “where would you like to place this irrelevant zone”.

          5. David B

            Exactly. You just have to do the math. If you were trying to hit it deliberately, your chance would be 5% so the probability of hitting it by accident must be less than that.

  24. Daniel H

    Final stats after all 25 shows:

    Edge hit 3 times in main game play

    Endgame won 7 times, I believe (can’t exactly remember but not sure any of those were off the 1 attempt difficulty setting as most people went for 2 or 3 balls)

    Reply
    1. David B

      Thanks for that. As a whole, it was calibrated pretty well. It was just a shame that they were typically bowling for a few hundred pounds with three balls rather than something a bit more meaty. If your win rate is less than 25%, you want to be celebrating more than £693, even for BBC daytime.

      The standard of skill was not as low as Brig had trailed, although there were some rounds where very low scores managed to win (once, a round 2 where £2 won!). There did seem to be a lot of over-adjustment so it must be quite hard to find the right kind of strength.

      Unlike Bullseye or even Tipping Point, the quiz and the game seem like two unrelated parts that hardly interact and that’s made even worse by doing them in two different parts of the studio.

      It’s clear that the Danger Zones were not big enough to be worth the attention they got. I’d have considered making the penalty a physical bollard that you had to bowl around so that you had to bounce off the side of the lanes maybe, making more use of the width of the lane. Bowling in a straight line without knocking anything down doesn’t seem like a bunch of fun.

      The decision to make the £1 zone start at your feet seems a bad one and often sapped the life out of round 1. I know that’s part of the danger of going first but…

      All that said, I liked the production values here far more than The Link.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I think ultimately The Edge’s big problem is that it feels like too much effort for not enough reward – both as a player and a viewer, and whilst failure in something like Tipping Point increases tension, because it means it’s going to payout bigger when it does payout, here it’s just frustrating.

        Would agree re: The Link.

        Reply
  25. Paul B

    Full series ratings:

    17/04 780,000
    16/04 620,000
    15/04 756,000
    14/04 623,000
    13/04 697,000
    10/04 885,000
    09/04 883,000
    08/04 907,000
    07/04 943,000
    06/04 1,140,000
    03/04 1,374,000
    02/04 987,000
    01/04 1,088,000
    31/03 1,098,000
    30/03 1,165,000
    27/03 829,000
    26/03 853,000
    25/03 790,000
    24/03 755,000
    23/03 895,000
    20/03 818,000
    19/03 793,000
    18/03 702,000
    17/03 870,000
    16/03 823.000

    Reply

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