Show Discussion: Big Heads

By | April 23, 2017

Sundays, 7pm,

Sunday nights are now “people in silly costumes doing physical tasks” nights with this at 7pm followed by the brilliant Wild Things at 8pm on Sky One.

Big Heads sees Jason Manford alongside Jenny Powell and Kriss Akabusi invite six eight people to don gigantic celebrity heads and battle each other over comedy physical games for prizes. Intriguingly it sounds as though the series has been set up as a tournament, with each episode’s winner going through to the final at the end of the series, in a way we’ve probably not seen since The Krypton Factor or something. It’s a fun idea anyway.

The question is does this have anything extra other than what it looks like on the surface? Wild Things has immense creativity with its games and feel and its comedy works on several levels. Total Wipeout brought proper physicality to the table. Meanwhile other recent physical shows have flopped rather – Can’t Touch This was a bit dull, Intervilles is not really a thing in France any more (there is a Chinese backed international version which I presume is The Biggest Gameshow In The World that’s watched by a few hundred thousand on Gulli) and is probably closest to what I suspect this is going to be. The people behind this are the same people behind Release the Hounds, which is a Bother’s Bar favourite, so we’ll see.

23 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Big Heads

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    I wasn’t expecting much going into this, but actually it’s the sort of pacey and loose format that I quite like that really they don’t make very much these days. Enjoyed the games, although the final two were probably the least fun. Thought Jason Manford hosted it well, although perhaps laboured a few of the gags too much – yes we got it the first time thanks. Jenny Powell clearly doing the heavy lifting in the commentary box. I was really impressed with the set. As a modern reimagining of It’s a Knockout I think it’s quite successful, although ask me again at the end of the series. It feels like a contemporary take on the sort of thing ITV did in the 90s. And a fever dream.

    The green room stuff was a bit rubbish though.

  2. Callum J

    I really enjoyed it, and I thought Jason Manford was a great host.

    I listen to Jason’s radio show, and apparently in episode two someone walks off after losing. Reaction online has been mostly positive, I think ITV have found their next big hit.

      1. CeleTheRef

        yep. Bonolis always stated that AUA! was tailored around the 60min 7PM slot and would not work well in primetime (which in Italy begins after 9pm and ends well after 11PM).

        For this reason, the format will be a celebrity 4-on-4 team battle, men vs women.

  3. Cliff

    Seems strange to put this on while a series of Wild Things is on air. I only watched the first game but thought it a poor alternative. I think the blank-faced costumes of Wild Things are much funnier; it seemed that you have to care about celebrity culture to find Big Heads amusing.

    Side note: are they going to run into trouble with their politician big heads now that we’re approaching a general election…?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      That’s actually quite an interesting question! I suppose there might be Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon heads.

      1. Callum J

        In the promotional material, I have seen a Putin head. Haven’t seen any others though.

      2. George F

        They’ll probably get away with it through parody. In the same way Newzoids does

    2. Weaver

      As I understand it, tighter restrictions only kick in when the Commons is dissolved on 3 May. Up to that point, politicians can be used on shows like Bigheads. After 3 May, references would have to be brief and neutral – a question on Fifteen-to-One would likely be OK, but a massive cut-out Theresa May would need to be balanced by a massive cut-out Jeremy Corbyn.

      There’s precedent for caution. Back in 2010, an episode of Mastermind was rescheduled to after polling day, because it contained a question about a cabinet member’s scandal.

    1. MrCT2U

      Yeah you will see me in that trailer. It’s a case of blink and you’ll miss! 😉

  4. Brig Bother Post author


    Not too bad, but not mindblowing. It’s almost a million up on 5 Gold Rings the week previous (although that started higher).

    Lots of positive reaction, the trend will be interesting.

    1. Brig Bother Post author


      Bank Holiday weekend. I admire it as a production but the novelty’s wearing off quite quickly for me – not helped by the games and gags being a virtual rerun of last week.

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    Right, now I’ve seen this I can’t unsee it – the SFX would suggest the studio audience are having a whale of a time, but if you watch them it’s like they’re just sitting there watching politely.

  6. Callum J

    Noticed that Alex (Putin) on today’s episode was on Coach Trip in 2016.

  7. Greg

    Wild Things has a certain charm about it and the majority of games are well thought out with a fantastic end game. I watched this for the first time last night and I found it a bit dull. I just did not connect with it in the same way I did Wild Things. Cant say I will watch again.

  8. Clive of Legend

    Episode 4 and they’ve started reusing celebs already. Hm.

  9. Brig Bother Post author

    Under 2m and barely 11% share last night. I can’t say I watched it.

    Fun idea that probably needed twice the budget to sustain it properly over the run, I suspect.

  10. Callum J

    Jason made a joke about it being repeated on Challenge in 2020.

    I can’t think of another game show that has referenced Challenge repeats before, I know Top Gear & Mock the Week have with their Dave repeats.

    1. Alex McMillan

      Only Connect once had VCM do an intro about Challenge TV running out of episodes of Takeshi’s Castle to rerun and showing OC instead


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