Back to the Bar

August 2006

30th August 2006

"Are we ready to make sweet stock market mayhem?" "Awesome!" "Zing!"

In case you don't read the comments (and you really should that's where the best gossip is usually), David B has pointed out that Tom Winnifrithithith is basically doing Show Me The Money again, but on the cheap and on the internet and called Trading Places.

The advert is very very funny.


  • "Have I got news for you... I'M BACK!"
  • He's very clearly reading it off an idiot board that's just a little bit too small.
  • Several hints that the two glamourous assistants might get their kit off.
  • "And then there's the pussy... meet Kitosh, he's my cat, and he's already working on his first stock picks... surely you can do better than a cat?!"
  • "A good West Ham supporter..."
  • "Roll on October! See you then! Bye!"

It starts on October the 2nd on Stock Market TV.

We don't know how much money is being poured into this (about £20, I think), but we really liked Show Me The Money, so we have high(ish) hopes for this. Although we've got proper jobs so won't be able to watch it, obviously.


28th August 2006

Well done to Europe beating the US in the All*Star Cup celebrity golf tournament! What we particuarly found amusing about the European team was that everybody came from the British Isles, apart from Ruud Gullit. We have literally no idea what the final score was, because we didn't catrch the end and nobody is reporting on it, although we think Brucie got the winning putt, and we thrashed them, so that's alright then. We saw Alice Cooper do a super chip at one point. Er, and that's it.

Postcode Loterij Deal Or No Deal is a real mixed bag. On first viewing, we really didn't like it - we thought Beau van Ervin Dorens was very good at hosting (man, he so owns the studio), but we thought the set, music and graphics rather lacked. The worst thing of all was the Banker, who is possibly the most miserly of any version I think I've ever seen, but then somehow pulled a double-the-mean offer at five boxes, with four €500 or less boxes and €10,000 left.

Well, we watched the second episode today. We're rather more fond of the set and music now (we quite like the titles actually), but we still dislike the graphics and the bank is just ridiculous. We thought it might have been because of the Postcode Lottery element, but it looks like the prize pool for that isn't determined by what the player wins, but by the value of the final box opened before the offer-of-two. Shame, really.

Meanwhile, here's a, uh, very spiritual game of DoND from The Phillippines. Thanks to Steven for lerting us to it.


26th August 2006

Exciting! The new Deal or No Deal series begins on Monday, and the new commentary boxes have been put up in readiness - let's see if they'll get used.

And congratulations to Travis on scooping Dermot O' Leary as the host of 1 vs 100! We know someone who's taking part in the final run through, so even if we don't get a ticket we'll have some idea as to what it's going to be like, hopefully.

In other news, next weekend we're going to do a feature on the German show Extreme Activity for you.


22nd August 2006

Against All Odds...

Let Me Entertain You on BBC2 afternoons this is week is, in fact, pretty damn good.

If you've not been following, it's The Gong Show basically - the performers come on and do their turns for up to three minutes, earning £100 for every full minute they stay on stage augmented to £1,000 if they survive the full three. Everyone in the audience has a voting pad, when 50% of the audience wants them off, they're buzzed out. There's a clock and an audience counter on screen (this is particularly interesting, because you can see at what points it shoots up, and if it's a good act you find yourself willing everyone not to push their button).

And it's juuuuuust the wrong side of cozy so that cool people like me don't feel bad about watching it - in fact it's got a rather back-of-a-comedy club feel to it, it's got a feel that anything might happen. Others have pointed out that the production values aren't great - no, but that's exactly where a lot of the charm lies. And Brian Conley's hosting and we've always actually liked Brian Conley. Except when he insists on singing rather than being funny, obviously. We'd rather they'd have thought up a little bit more interesting regarding prizemoney, I don't know, £5 a second or something, but still.

And this is good, we've just noticed the lovely Jenny Turner just added this to regarding Deal or No Deal: "Other hosts who were in the frame before Noel said he'd do it include Les Dennis and Brian Conley, apparently. Conley told the Manchester Evening News that he missed out because Channel 4 and Endemol disagreed on the direction the show should take, saying that "Endemol wanted it to be like the French version, which was a lot more fun and light-hearted and not quite as serious as it has become."

We bloody love the French show and would absolutely have loved to see what a Conley fronted Deal or No Deal would have been like. This also lends credence to the idea that the theme tune was developed before other more major direction decisions were made. Perhaps we'll try and get an interview with The Hugill for the show's first birthday.


20th August 2006

Comedy brummies

Basically, Australia's Celebrity Survivor: Vanuatu is hilarious.

The first thing to strike you is that the host doesn't sound very Australian, and appears to have a brummie accent. And that's because Ian "Dicko" Dickson is actually from Birmingham, and did a degree in politics at the University of Nottingham (it says here) - who went on to be a record producer and "nasty" judge in Australian Idol.

He's also tremendously stilted.

What of the celebrities? Well we haven't heard of any of them apart from Bobby out of Home and Away and Gabrielle Richens (who hosted our The Desert Forges), of course. There are 12 of them, and it appears to be filmed over 25 days. Actually it began with only 11, but an ex-SAS non-celebrity named Ben, recently back from Iraq, was given to the winners of the first immunity challenge. Celebrities earn Au$5,000 for charity for being there and the ultimate winner earns Au$100,000 for charity - that's about £40,000.

Production wise, it appears to share the same set the US version did, and yet they've nicked the UK logo and soundtrack.

We're slightly baffled by the Aussie ideal of basically, revealing everything that happens next week in the "next week" bits short of telling us who gets voted off. We remember watching and really enjoying Treasure Island back in the day, but the final was rather ruined by the entire episode being elided into one minute for the "next week" bit.

In other news, we're trying to get our head round Dutch Big Brother 6 which began on Friday, but whose first episode is tonight.

  • It looks like it's all indoors - there's no garden for the housemates to retire to.
  • It's a very nice house though.
  • Most of them are playing with some sort of partner.
  • Apparently Big Brother is going to talk to them as little as possible - "together alone" is the theme this year.
  • But he will contact them via a red telephone - the Big Brother hotline. When it rings, one of the housemates must pick it up and may be rewarded or punished.
  • Everyone appears to have been spotted with €30,000. However, and we're not quite sure how this works, if you get nominated or evicted, you have to give half your money to another contestant. We don't know if that means you get to keep the other half after eviction or what. The reason this is quite interesting is that there were rumours before BB7UK that something like this might have been happening here.


19th August 2006

It's all over!

Yes, Fantasy Big Brother reaches it's inevitable conclusion today. For the results, see the final Bother's Eye View of the series. Thanks to all involved. Look out for another Bother's Bar Happy Hour competition soon!

Apparently last night's final averaged 7.7m, peaking at 8.2m according to some people who think they've seen overnights on Digital Spy.

Now that FBB is over, we now have time to give over to making some new features. We've some interesting foreign shows to document in the next few weeks, although I'm taking next Saturday off so the first one will be a fortnight. What will it be?


18th August 2006

Statement from BB's creative director Philip Edgar Jones on Mediaguardian right now.

And we thought he used to be really good on Games World. :(

4.2m last night by the way. The final will obviously be a bit higher (I will be watching, for a start), but I'll be fascinated to find out just how much higher.

Thanks Christ for that.

Well, the mighty Big Brother 7 machine goes through its dying throes. One of Pete, Glyn, Nikki, Aisleyne, Jennie or Richard walks through the front doors £100,000 richer. Who will the winner be? It will be Endemol and Channel 4, because despite not bothering to watch the show in the last three weeks, I've still voted for Aisleyne to win. Twice (that's text 'Aisleyne' to 84444 or call 09011 32 33 14, calls and texts cost 50p + standard message rate, about 10p from each vote goes to charity, about 25p goes to Endemol/C4).

It wouldn't be so bad if they held their hands up and said "yes, OK, we made some mistakes, sorry." Instead, they appear to have complete contempt for the viewer who has made the neccessary time (and in many cases, money) investment, "you can't complain, it's for charity!!!!!" and "for goodness sake, it's only a gameshow!!!!" and this leaves a horrendous taste in the mouth. Perhaps they should donate all the phone takings from the entire series to charity, as a way of saying sorry? After all, you'd have to be pretty hard hearted to complain then wouldn't you?

This wasn't meant to happen! BB7 was meant to be the best one ever, using the amazing odd-numbered-series-are-the-best-ones rule. And yet we've become utterly bored with it - not through the fault of the housemates, but through the fault of the producers, who occasionally got it right but generally have been lousy. Ratings have been OK - normally you'd expect the ratings to increase throughout the series peaking on finals week, in fact it pulled in just 4.3m viewers on Tuesday night. Sure, great by C4 standards, but frankly pretty lousy by Big Brother standards when at the same point on BB5 (the last truly great Big Brother), you'd be seeing 5.5m-6m a night.

Usually before the series begins, people in conversation will go on about how they're "not watching Big Brother," and people will often compete to show that they're not watching Big Brother the most. This year, it's the fans boasting to each other about how early they've switched it off. Now that can't be something to aim for, surely?

Basically, we want some humility. We want to be able to feel as though we can trust the programme again. And we want BB8 to be a properly amazing series. Because this year we've learnt that people will actually switch off if you throw enough crap at them.

16th August 2006

Credit where it's due, if Treasure Hunters was more consistently like episode 10 throughout it's entire run, with really excellent use of buildings and interesting clue devices, we'd be declaring it this year's best new show. It's definitely the live finale next week, as it turns out.

It looks like we're going off to watch an episode of 1 vs 100. How "exciting"!


15th August 2006

Hastily cobbled together US reality TV "opinions"

  • Treasure Hunters - it's the all-exciting live millions dollar finale this evening! What a pity the series as a whole never really flickered above "average" on the Great-o-meter. It's difficult to pinpoint where it went a bit wrong - the opening episode showed some kind of promise, but really the puzzles haven't been much fun. NO SPOILERS PLEASE.
  • Big Brother All Stars - and yet we've been really enjoying this, despite nobody in America doing the same. We spent most of Sunday catching up on the previous two weeks and we've found it quite good fun. We hope to catch up on yesteday's episode tomorrow. We're not sure we like the idea of the HOH Coup d'etat, as surely it's going to render the previous week completely pointless? We shall see. NO SPOILERS PLEASE.
  • Solitary - this is our favourite new format of 2006 so far, in honesty. Although it could have done with being one or two episodes shorter, so it's not perfect by any means.

In other US news, thanks to David for pointing out that Buzzerblog has the skinny on the all new US 1 vs 100. Apparently our version has a £250,000 top prize, so you can try and work out for yourself how it might work. And blimey, it looks like Fox aren't taking any chances with their frankly highly immature Show Me What You've Got logo.


12th August 2006

Hello! We're not dead or anything, we've spent most of the last week reading various internet fora and basically, getting depressed.

Hello ladies!The new Bother's Eye View will be up by, ooh, five-ish?

Ooh! Some news: this is Beau van Ervin Dorens who will be hosting the new daily Dutch Deal or No Deal. Thanks to Travis P for that.

:Last night we discovered that Linda de Mol has hosted a show in the UK - none other that The DJ Kat Show on Sky One, which we remember watching when were about ten. So there we are.


9th August 2006

Dale Winton's £8,160,000 adventure

No we're not joking.

  • It's 2:30, we've just got back from seeing Show Me What You've Got. ITV1 may as well give up with For The Rest Of Your Life, I think.
  • The set is, in fact, the same set as FTROYL, but rotated 30 degrees clockwise. With the big videowall on in the north-east of the studio, the north-west face is now taken up by a two-level stage with six large monitors on each one. These will be manned by Carl and Charlotte.
  • Good call on the music they use whilst waiting for the audience to settle - Richard X, Goldfrapp and Rachel Stevens. Well done, whoever sorted that out.
  • Junior Simpson is back on warm up, with the same gags from Sunday but rotated 30 degrees clockwise.
  • And your host is... Dale Winton! Bloody marvellous.
  • It's got a viewer phone in with a £5,000 top prize. It's also going to be stripped daily for an hour, although it wasn't revealed how long the series was going to be. It's also only going to have two ad breaks in, of five minutes each.
  • The game then: to begin with, the single contestant has ten perspex cubes - five embossed with a '+' symbol, five with a '-' symbol.
  • On the gameboard are 12 cash amounts: 2x£0, 1x£250, 1x£500... all the way up in £250 increments to 1x£2,500.
  • The player must use each cube once. When they've decided whether they want to add or subtract the next amount, they pick from one of the twelve numbers on the bank of monitors. In front of each monitor is a scroll. The associated model picks up the scroll, and when asked to "show me what you've got", they unfurl it to reveal one of the casha mounts on the gameboard. This is then added or subtracted to the player's balance. This continues until they've used up all their cubes.
  • If they're in the red then they're dead - bring on the next contestant. If, though, they have something to play with they go onto round two.
  • This time the + and - have been replaced by 5 x's and 5/'s. The scrolls have now been changed - there are now 2x1, 3x2, 3x3, 3x4 and 1x5. These will act as multipliers or dividers in the next round.
  • The player is given one half of a question, they then choose one of three mystery endings, for example, the first half of the question might be "what country do you associate the dish...", option A might be "coq au vin", option B "carbonara" and option C "burger and chips" or something. If they don't like the option they've picked, they can change it - but only once per question.
  • The actual questions are not multiple choice.
  • After they've locked in their answer, the other two options are quickly explored.
  • Before the player gets to see if their answer is correct, they must choose a scroll. The number written on it will determine what the bank is multiplied by or divided by. If the player's answer is correct, it's multiplied. If wrong, it's divided. This uses up one of their five multipliers or five dividers. When they've run out of one operation, it's game over and you win what you're left with. You can't quit halfway through - you must play the game out.
  • The game works Millionaire style - new games will start and it will straddle.
  • The opening quck description of the game is fairly awful - it could do with being far more snappy. I'd think about dropping it completely and letting it be explained as it's played, to be honest.
  • The questions are far, far too easy really. It's almost like ITV are just chucking money away for the sake of it - if you get past round one (and your odds are probably 50/50, or something), you'd have to be a complete moron to go away with something that isn't at least life enhancing.
  • Also, they've got the emphasis on the point of reveal wrong. In picking the scroll before they reveal the answer, they place the excitement on the answer itself. We reckon this is wrong. We think they should reveal the answer and then pick the scroll - that would be much more exciting really - how much better would it seem if they get a question wrong and then find out they're only dividing by one? Or how much crueller and more fun would it seem for them to get a question right, only to find out that it's worthless? Tonight we had one answer that was completely worthless because we already knew she had picked a '1'. That's just a complete waste of television.
  • They refer to "the perfect game" at too many points. After pretty much every question, they player is told how much they could win if they were to play the perfect game from that point. Gosh, they're giving away big money and they want to show it regularly - it's padding when it's done too often, as it felt like tonight.
  • This was the first recording. The first contestant took two-and-a-half hours to film, mainly because of computer faults. By the time they had finished the episode and had to do pick-ups, most of the studio audience had left leaving those of us who went for the full experience and the crew to provide the clapping. However, when a clearly tired Winton left the stage after about half an hour of pick-ups exclaiming "no Tom, I'm not going on television looking like this!" I took that as my cue to leave because I had a train to catch. Which was a shame, as I'd have liked to have stayed until the end. We love Dale here at Bother's Bar, we think he's a proper celeb who was really great with the audience and is all the better for it.
  • Also - and it will interesting to see how it's edited - the second contestant claims to be a massive Eurovision fan. Dale is also a bit of an afficionado and tests him, but he's a bit rubbish so Winton offers him more chances, whilst all the time the floor manager is looking increasingly annoyed at him because she's been signalling for him to wrap up and get on with it for the best part of 90 seconds. We thought it was great, obviously.
  • I think Dick de Rijk was there. I should have asked him for an autograph, that would have surprised him.
  • Basically, I would have marked FTROYL 6/10, but really I'm going to have to downgrade it to 4/10 so I can be happy in giving SMWYG a rock solid 8/10. Despite its flaws, it was really enjoyable to watch - we could be happy with this being a hit.

Production companies! Do you want "brilliant" "criticism" of your new shows, like this? Contact us and promise to cover expenses, and we're at your beck and call. But we're fat and ugly, so don't expect too many camera shots.

And Richard Arnold for Take It Or Leave It? Wow, you're really pushing the boat out, Challenge!


7th August 2006

World Exclusive!!!!!1
For The Rest Of Your Life (ITV1)

  • Crikey, £22.50 for a one day travel card from Cambridge? I remember when you could get one of those and still have enough change for some chips and some pop (i.e. £17.50)
  • Anyway, it's precisely 2am now, but rather than go to bed, you're probably itching to know how this works. So I'll tell you.
  • The set is a half-dismantled Poker Face, the main stage is a giant circular platform. On this platform are 14 tiles numbered 1-14 spread haphazardly around the platform, in no particular order (although the layout is symmetrical down the middle). Next to each tile is what immediately looks like a raised buzzer. But it's not, as you will come to see.
  • Junior Simpson is the warm up man! I wondered where he got to. Not very hard, but still.
  • The first couple is bought out. I idea is given that the show could concievably straddle, as it's possible for a couple to crap out at any point in the show. Tonight's one seemed to take a whole show, however.
  • To begin, Bradley Walsh (who is completely amiable and even mildly likable here. At one point he says "no! We need the aston up really," which I can only imagine to be a cold and calculated attempt to curry favour with the sorts of people who hang out at TV Ark, but I digress) gets the couple to pick two of three envelopes. Inside each envelope is an amount of cash - all three envelopes add up to £300. For the sake of describing the game, we'll assume the pair of them have managed a total of £200. This is the starting stake.
  • In Round One, the aim is to try and increase the starting stake as much as possible. On the floor are 14 tiles. 10 of them will light up white - these are good. 4 of them will light up red - these are bad. One person in the couple has all the power - they will decide which tiles their partner should step on, and at which point the pair will cut and run.
  • When a number has been picked, the other partner walks over to the tile. Bradly asks them to "hover their hand" over the buzzer thing. What now becomes apparent is that it's not a buzzer, it's a big lid thing. The contestant flips the top up to reveal a white ball or a red ball - their positions have been randomly determined before the show.
  • If it's a white ball - great. They get their starting stake added on to whatever money they have at the moment (i.e. £200 becomes £400 becomes £600 becomes £800 etc.) You can quit at any point past £600, provided you've just hit a white ball.
  • If you hit one of the four red balls however, then your money goes down by your starting stake, and you MUST play on (thusly you could start a "domino effect" of hitting several red balls). If you eliminate all four red balls from the game - you are dead. If your prizemoney goes into minus figures - you are dead. If you don't have at least £600 by the time you've eliminated the last white ball - you are dead (I'm not sure if that last one's mathematically possible, thinking about it). The money and the balls remaining is shown on the big videowall at the back of the set.
  • The money they quit on is their stake for Round Two. Two new tiles are uncovered (so there are a total of sixteen now). The balls are randomly replaced (using the excellent method of drawing balls from a bag, and having two other people crowd around the podia so nobody can see them).
  • In Round two, the contestants change positions. The person picking the tiles in round one will now pick the tiles in round two whilst walking the board. Their partner is hidden away in The Pod where they can't hear or see anything in the studio. They do have access to various statistics so they can follow the game from a priviledge position, but won't know when the person on the board has finished. Inside the pod, they must decide independently whether to stop or go, and whichever player sticks first determines what they're leaving with.
  • Instead of money, in round two they play for time. 1,2,3,6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5, 10, 15, 25 years and For The Rest Of Their Life (which seems to be 40 years). They will recieve the money they won in round one each month for the length of time they win in round 2. This time, revealing white balls sends them one step up the Life Ladder, whereas uncovering red balls sends them down. There are 12 whites and 4 reds, so conceiveably you could hit one red and still make it to the top. Everyone was pretty unclear what happened if you laid into two reds straightaway. Again, eliminating all four reds means they leave with nothing, UNLESS the player inside the pod had the sense to stick before that happened - bearing in mind that once again, if a red is hit, neither player can elect to stick.
  • At the end of the game, we see what the player in the pod did at each level via a quick clip. They have two buttons and a screen giving them information, "play" or "stay".
  • All the money quoted is in terms of total prize over the course of the length of time they win. Basically it's like a reverse loan but with Endemol living off the interest.
  • It's not as good as Deal or No Deal, Deal has varying levels of pleasure and pain it can dish out when it wants, here there's not really much of a blank canvas you can paint on. It's all pretty much down the line.
  • There's a viewers competition incidentally.
  • I might have enjoyed it more if I didn't get a headache halfway through the recording.
  • Basically, in the last week Endemol have ruined Big Brother and given me a headache. Show Me What You've Got had better be bloody amazing, frankly.
  • Now I'm going to bed.


5th August 2006

Endemol: Useless cretinous morons

Worst Big Brother twist EVER. I almost don't mind if Pete wins it now, seeing as it's just as much a waste of our last three months either way.


2nd August 2006

Great theme tunes that outline the game of our time.

Chain Letters!

Give Us A Clue!

And now, sing along if you know the words:

"It starts with a word there's a 'G' underneath, you guess the word 'game' and you're right, the word 'game' starts a chain, get your letter take your guess, make a chain get some cash. It's guys against girls now... on Chain Reaction." (.mp3 300k)

Viewers! You can do better than this. Why not come yup with your own Chain Reaction theme song? It's just Lucky Ladders after all. Oh, this is for the all new Chain Reaction on GSN by the way. Thanks to a regular reader for sending this in.