Watching Telly: DOND On Tour


Alexandra Palace

Well we all know what Deal Or No Deal is so I won’t furnish you with those details. You’re probably aware that the show has been axed but it’s being allowed a two-week farewell tour series to cap the show off.

Now in the show’s 11-year history I never got to the Dream Factory to see an episode being filmed live, so when I heard last week that they were filming an episode in London at Alexandra Palace I leapt at the chance. In a joke on Facebook I compared going to see it at this late stage the TV equivalent of going to see Hear’Say after one of them had left but I’m really glad I went. The whole thing feels like the sort of thing they should have done years ago, especially as the live ones did so well.

  • It sounds like the idea behind this is that the game is so simple you can take the game anywhere, and so far I gather that they’ve filmed an episode in a biodome at The Eden Project, the Trafford Centre, on board The Flying Scotsman and coming soon in an apparent television first (except a gameshow in mid-air has actually been done before) during a flight on a Boeing 747.
  • As such the sets are rather more minimalist – each box opener gets a perspex plinth to rest their box on. The board is hysterically low tech – the cash amounts are written on paddles which a member of the audience collared into doing it spins round to remove them, looking not unlike a sort of jackpot game you used to get on quiz TV channels. Atop that is a large-ish monitor for close ups of the contestant’s photos and the like, it would have been nice if it showed the boxes being opened but never mind.
  • The contestants on this tour are people who were waiting on the wings the last time the show was filmed 18 months ago. They bring along friends and family to open the boxes, a few of the boxes are given over to people who work at the place Deal has decended upon.
  • The game is Classic DOND – no button, no Box 23. We always thought Box 23 was rubbish anyway. The show is all about finding a contestant’s pain point and watching them agonising over a decision (this was a great game today incidentally, gripping stuff), Box 23 rarely provided this.
  • The audience were in the round. There were about 400 people packed in the Palm Court.
  • Today’s recording was about three hours and for most of us we were standing throughout. They did put a limited number of seats in for the older folk (of which there were many), I did wonder if we were going to have a Pensioner Rebellion when the audience guy announced it was going to be a standing show (they probably should have made this clearer on the application). There wasn’t much stopping once they started. I have newfound respect for contestants who were filming three or four episodes a day back in the day, that’s a lot of time on your feet!
  • Mark Olver’s a really good warm-up. To be honest it’s quite nice going to see a warm-up and not know exactly what jokes are about to come out.
  • Props to the sound guy who spent the first twenty minutes of the recording panicking behind me when he couldn’t get some clip mics on the pre-selected board turners working properly only for Noel to go and choose somebody completely different and already stood near the board anyway. Who probably hadn’t yet signed a release form.
  • Noel’s brilliant. Regardless of some of his nuttier opinions in real life, there really are few people who can sell a show like this, who can build up the drama and just react and go along with wherever the game happens to go. I’d be fascinated to know how much is pre-prepared, the contestant today picked her brother who suggested he could do a better job than Noel. So Noel lets him do it for about five minutes whilst coaching him, but after the break makes him wear a Noel-esque wig that just happened to be in his suit. I want to believe someone on the production was quick thinking enough to arrange that during a break.
  • Anyway I think the show’s definitely going out with a bang. Doing the show in unusual never-been-done-before places is such a Noel Edmonds way of going about it, as such the campaign for the titles for these shows to be a shot for shot recreation of The Noel Edmonds Saturday Roadshow begins here:


  1. Brig Bother says:

    Oh, and they made a gag that they hoped the quarter mill wouldn’t be won as there was no confetti cannon. Noel did follow it up with “we do have a contingency, though.”

  2. Mister Al says:

    “Mark Olver’s a really good warm-up. To be honest it’s quite nice going to see a warm-up and not know exactly what jokes are about to come out.”

    As somebody who sat in the Bristol audience for 322 games, I find this statement ironic.

    • Brig Bother says:

      Oh dear! I’ve only seen him a handful of times before (certainly compared to the regular London ones whose jokes I can list). It’s mainly shouting at people but he does it with a certain charm.

      • Mister Al says:

        I wasn’t having a go at Mr Olver there. I even enjoyed it when I was the person he was shouting at. He was always the best of the warm-ups I saw in Bristol, but when he’s standing in front of ten different audiences every week he’s going to repeat the odd routine now and then. Like calling me a sad nerd, for example (in a friendly way, of course).

        • Brig Bother says:

          I’m not sure I can imagine him being *actually* nasty about someone.

          Although he’s the only warm-up I’ve seen to actively tell people off if they’ve got their phone out. They just leave that to security at The London Studios.

  3. Brig Bother says:

    Actually another thing I noticed that I didn’t know was usual or not, each box had an LED strip light underneath the number. Has this always been the case?

    • Daniel H says:

      The boxes on the show are lit by lights in the desk so maybe to mimic that but if you mean they’re stuck to the box then I think that’s new.

      I presume they box openers didn’t operate the lights at all as they do have lights on the front of the desks these days to indicate whether the wingers would have dealt.

      • Brig Bother says:

        Yes, stuck to the box. Some of them weren’t working. I can’t imagine them being strong enough as uplights by the looks of them but I’m not a cameraman.

        No Deal buttons today, although Noel did do a sweep down the wings like it was 2005. All we were missing was a speed round.

  4. John R says:

    How did they decide on which ten of the remaining ‘wingers’ got to play the On Tour shows?

  5. Brig Bother says:

    I should add this in the main body but I’m in bed now: the contestant has a free pick of all 22 boxes. It looks like the box openers still draw to see which boxes they get. Swaps still offered.

  6. John R says:

    How long do SRO generally take to get back to you? Applied for a ticket for Blackpool yesterday evening and not heard anything yet (Show is on Monday so not much of a window!)

    • Brig Bother says:

      Depends how subscribed they are. You may yet hear back this evening, but a day or two sounds about right.

      In my experience re: Ally Pally: applied Wednesday afternoon, got ticket drop through Thursday at 1am, but I also had a priority note on my file. I would imagine if you don’t hear by tomorrow afternoon you’ve been unlucky.

      • John R says:

        According to my email client, the ticket came through at 3:54am so there you go

        • Simon says:

          Same here. Just trying to work how early I need to be there before the time they say they will be there from (I don’t have a priority ticket).

          Mind you if I get there too early, there are certainly more boring places to be hanging around that Blackpool promenade.

          • John R says:

            We will still be there from 2.15pm but the studio doors will now open at 4.15pm and close at 4.45pm. We expect the recording to finish by 8.00pm.

            Please reply to confirm that you have received this email and we will email a replacement ticket with the updated times.

            …That’s annoying really, as it is cutting my last train a bit fine! Although I suppose it is Blackpool so worst case scenario is you can get a bed for the night for about 99p anyway

  7. John R says:

    Just on the way back from Blackpool

    The pilgrims sat in the ballroom (about 600!) but all the actual gameplay was taking place at the top of the tower in a very narrow space so we got a video link and Mark Olver. Noel did pop down to say hello!

    Other than that it was basically just standard Deal, lots of retakes as it is very hard to move around Noel the contestant and a camera at the top of Blackpool Tower!

    Anyway the plan is the ballroom pilgrims get asked for advice on the offers so Mark Olver may be about to make a rare Deal on screen appearance

    Sadly I had to leave just before 2 box due to last train constraints so even I’m a bit in the dark until December / January

    • Brig Bother says:

      Interesting! At least you got to sit down.

      • John R says:

        How could I miss the most important bit – one of the advantages to being in the Tower ballroom was the well placed bar (and toilets) at the back, sadly the beer wasn’t paid for courtesy of The Banker but apparently the teas and coffees might have been on the house

        Also I now have a stick of Deal rock to munch on as The Banker did one of his little ‘games’ in the first round. I can’t help wondering what would have happened to all the rock otherwise though?!

        The funniest part of the whole thing was *minor spoiler warning* after the contestant dealt for the proveout he went straight for the box he said they were keeping until the end cue Noel having to explain the whole ‘play on as if you were in live play’ crazy how after 11 years a contestant doesn’t grasp that idea!

        Apparently they had rigged the lights up on the actual tower so they turned red or blue depending on each box contents, be nice to see that on the actual TV. Some very funny banter with Noel and The Banker too, it really does work quite well outside of Bristol but is quite a pain to set up and record, unlike the well oiled machine of 3 shows a day in the dream factory!

      • Simon says:

        I did up my count of missing my train because a DOND filming overran to 2 (the first was Dale’s £100k win). Thankfully I had an inkling that a 30 minute gap between the stated end of filming and my last train was cutting it a bit fine, so had stuck a few overnight things in my bag) – plus if you can’t find a spare hotel room in Blackpool on a Monday night the day after the Illuminations finish, you’re not really looking.

  8. For the sake of organisation, I’ll scroll back to the last DoND-themed post…

    Today I went for a birthday dinner featuring, as another guest, a prominent University Challenger and a current collaborator of the estimable Mr. B. We discussed said guest’s quiz show involvement in his university quiz days. He was on one of the first dozen or so episodes of The Weakest Link and said that, when they were auditioning long before the show began, he asked the production staff who the host would be. They said “At the moment we think it might be Noel Edmonds”.

    A thought-experiment we pondered: what would a world be like where Noel Edmonds “got” The Weakest Link… and Anne Robinson hosted Deal or No Deal?

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