Back to the Bar

August 2009

31st August 2009

Highly entertaining Only Connect final this evening (it's the Champion of Champions next week).

Oddly, and I don't know what it is, I've been finding I've been getting more of the answers week on week. Perhaps it's just getting used to the style of questions. Would have been lousy on the connecting wall though.

30th August 2009

Crash Course, then.

It desperately wants to be Wipeout But In Cars, but the actual reality is it's slightly more extreme than Beat the Boys on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, and slightly less amusing. Five couples down to one by way of giant shuffleboard, driving up onto a moving flatbed lorry as it deposits barrels on the road, drving under propped up cars and a final course.

Still, on the first episode crew members almost get killed twice, so that was quite exciting.

29th August 2009

Clip Boyard

Alright, quick update this weekend, it's Soufflerie, this time played in 1996.

What's on this evening? Well, The Cube is on from 8:15, it's the last day of 1 vs 100 Live on XBox Live where you could win a car and it's the season finale of Fort Boyard on France 2 and online hopefully sometime this evening. 

At a glance:
 Celebs on gameshows before they were famous, SamB's Boyfriend's Abstract Counting Challenge, The Cube, Rachel Riley, Crash Course isn't very good, Dragon's's Den on Pointless, Ant and Dec are doing a new show, En Toutes Lettres (surely Pasapabala isn't the same Alphabet Game Andrew O' Connor hosted?), Ratings Bear, don't go and see shows live, Karen Brady's the new Margret Mountford, new Scrapheap, Hollie Steele was on Britain's Got Talent ILLEGALLY, 13: Game of Death, For The Rest of Your Life and arguing over how much £130,000 really is, some boring sounding pilots you can get tickets from SRO from, Only Connect.

28th August 2009

The Krypton Factor's filming at The London Studios this year which is very handy, thanks very much.

But it's very early Friday morning, and you're just fascinated to know how my Thursday went, aren't you?

Watching Telly: Britain's Best Brain

  • I think some people got quite close, but I don't think anyone picked the jackpot couple of Jamie Theakston and Zoe Ball. For it is they!
  • We were let in to sit down from six. Recording started at seven, I got out about 10:40pm. So slick, then. Warm-up man is the guy who does The X Factor I gather, he wasn't very good. However Zoe Ball was absolutely charming to the audience between takes and probably could have done it all herself. Smashing. She's become quite mumsy, which seeing as she's a mother and four months pregnant isn't too surprising.
  • The set is three medium-ish circular stages connected together by a triangular thing. There are screens behind two of the stages, and the third stage houses a gyroscope, which is replaced by a balloon machine later on.
  • The game: five players compete in five tests to achieve the highest brain score. In each game there are 300 points to be won. It's like a Brainy Pentaphalon!
  • The first round is Calculation. Each contestant gets to sit in the "musical chair" - one of those orb style chairs. This one has two speakers built in. Out of one speaker, a series of numbers and mathematical operations will be barked at the contestant, whilst out of the other speaker irritating music will play (tonight: bad versions of silent film pieces). Whilst being distracted by those (which are on full blast for the audience), a series of 10 sums will flash up on the screen. These start of simple (12+6), by sum ten they're a little bit more challenging ( (5x7) -14 ). The big BBB rule is that the quicker you answer, the more you score. Now this round was the most unconvincing in this sense - the idea is that each sum is worth 30 points apiece, you have three seconds to answer each one. I'm assuming some sort of voice recognition is at work here, the problem is it didn't really work very well and in at least two cases completely ignored the contestant's response. Now if it can't get something as basic as that right, how can we trust it gets the timings right as well? And I'm assuming they stop the clock when they begin to say something rather than when they finish. I could hear the crew having a fit about all this behind my seat.
  • Round two is BBB's equivilent of the Fil Rouge - Co-Ordination. This game is played between rounds and before and after advert breaks so that each person gets a go. The contestant is strapped into the gyroscope. At the same time they're holding a wickedly cool digital egg timer - white lights on one end, blue lights on the other. When you turn the timer over, the white lights "drain" into the blue ones so they light up. Now, the object is wrestle with the timer whilst you're spinning so that it always points downwards, and all the blue lights up. In theory they're given 90 seconds for this. However, the scoring system for this game is not revealed, but corraborating the times the contestants were told they got and the points they were awarded (they don't find out until after everyone has had their go) suggests it takes 20 seconds for the "sand" to drain if the game was played perfectly, and your 300 point potential drops 1pt for every 0.2 seconds after that 20. This is more fun to watch than it might appear, although wheter you're saying that after the 40th time remains to be seen.
  • Memory. This is quite clever and probably the most successful round, and split into three parts. To begin, the five players are shown ten celebrities paired with ten objects. Two celebrities are flashed up, the players use their touch screens to select the associated objects. Repeat three times for 20 points each (like all questions on this show, this is the maximum pointage on offer for an instant response). Part two is different, the same ten objects are this time paired with sound effects. Four sound effects are played and they must choose the object for 25 points each. The third and final part is most difficult - four sound effects are played and the players must match them to the celebrity by way of the association with the object for 30 points each.
  • Recognition is five questions played in two parts, each question worth a potential 60 points each. The first three questions involve looking at a drawing on screen and selecting from the eight shapes beneath which three make up the drawing (there was a similar game on Brainbox Challenge). The final two are Spot the Difference, but with a twist. Rather than being side by side, the two pictures will flash between each other (for example, 6 frames of Pic1, 6 blank flames, 6 frames of Pic2, 6 blanks, repeat), the players point on their touch screen where the difference lies. This is much harder than it looks, and indeed the second one you will see was so difficult that even with it pointed out on screen the contestants, the audience and Ms Ball were hard pressed to work out what it was. I say the second one you will see because there was another technical error with more rather frantic shouting behind me with one question where the software didn't recognise the contestants (apparently correct) answers. So if any of tonights contestants miss the final by about 30 points, I think they can feel slightly aggreived.
  • The final round is Risk. It involves a giant rubber balloon, the contestants holding a button and the entire audience wearing ear defenders. The balloon starts filling with air. Eventually it will burst. The object is to hold your button down for as long as you think you can handle (each contestant can see precisely how many litres of air have been pumped in so far). Contestants score their proportion of 300 points depending on when they decided to let go compared to how much air the balloon took before bursting. When you let go, you get to run behind a perspex Safety Zone (largely for show, it's all big bang and confetti rather than properly dangerous). If you're still holding on when the balloon bursts then you score zero. Typically it will burst anywhere between 3,500 and 8,000 litres, contestants are told how much it's taken in previous episodes. This game starts off quite exciting, and then becomes boring whilst we wait for the balloon to actually burst.
  • Risk throws some of the problems the show has into perspective. It's an entertainment show, so the luck of how much the balloon will take I'm happy to let go, although doubtless others will see it as a flaw and that's fair enough really. The contestants were trying to psyche each other out. Now. If this was a game where the episodes had no real bearing on each other and effectively worked as a single-elimination knockout then with a bit of tweaking (let them psyche each other, but hide what they're actually doing) it would make a good end game. However, despite the fact that a winner is cheered and crowned (and not actually awarded anything), everyone's score is effectively independent from each other, and the grand final will be made up of the five best scores throughout the seven heats. So in theory, the grand final could be made up with five people from a single episode.
  • Now that's fine, although I think it might be handy if some sort of "5th place guideline" was given when the contestants get their end of round scores. But whilst we criticise The Krypton Factor for its highest scoring runner-up system, here that very same system would probably work really well.
  • I don't want to end too down on it, I think the format will come across on telly as a fairly solid 7/10 show from where I was sitting (just don't bother going to see it live yourself). It starts on Five in October.

26th August 2009


We're off to see Britain's Best Brain tomorrow so expect some kind of report, unless we don't make it, it's cancelled or we're not let in, in which case we'll just make everything up. Why not try and guess which it is?

At a glance:
 Wait For It's not all that good, quiz geek trivia, The Cube In Real Life, Justin Lee Collins plays Heads or Tails for Channel 5, Ricky Gervais does The Krypton Factor, Bill Bailey's Big Bird Watch, Shooting Stars, is the US getting Glucksritter? Win A Car on 1 vs 100, Britain's Best Brain, Ulrika-ka-ka's hosting BingoLotto, Millionaire's Million Dollar tourney, Paddy McGuinness does Take Me Out, Mastermind formatting, Pointless answers, Beat Ylvis, the Guardian writes about odd gameshows and somehow forgets Tipit.

25th August 2009

It's Endemol day at Bother's Bar beginning with:

The Clipton Factor: Eliminator

Fun kids quiz that lasted two series beginning in 2003. Here's the opening and second half of the first ever team to play the game:

Is Pointless good, then?

Yeah, it's alright.

  • The show is hosted by Alexander Armstrong, ably assisted in seemingly a fit of vanity or cost-cutting Endemol exec and Total Wipeout script editor (according to our I-Spy Book of Endemol Employees) Richard Osman in the auxillary information role (15 points, by the way).
  • Five couples begin. For each question 100 people were given 100 seconds to name as many things as they could to fit into the given list. The object is for the players to find answers that fit which the fewest people gave.
  • The ultimate answer to give is one which nobody came up with - a Pointless answer - which Armstrong rather irritatingly refers to in noun form ("It's a Pointless!"). We bet he writes "would of" rather than "would have" as well. Not only do Pointless' do wonders for your score, they also add a lifechanging £250 to the jackpot which already begins at an astonishing £1,000. In fairness, £1,000 is also added to the jackpot every day, even if it has rolled over.
  • When the pairs are given the category they must decide which of them will go first and which will go second. Once decided the actual question is revealed with explanation given by Richard where necessary.
  • The five pairs are lined up, apparently drawn by lot. Each person gives their answer in turn. Between the contestants and the host is a screen with a large column representing the 100 people the question was asked to, and after the answer is given the column disappears to the sound of pizzicato strings revealing the amount of people who gave the answer. This is quite slow and happens quite a lot and is less tension building than I suspect they were hoping for. An answer which doesn't fit the list is given a large red cross and the pair are given 100 points.
  • Not all questions have Pointless answers. In fact it should be said that some questions seem better than others - can there really be obscure Cluedo elements or James Bond films?
  • Once each player has had a go, they swap places with their partner and they come back up the line in reverse order than before to give their answers. The pair with the highest combined score is eliminated, and a red bar is displayed on the column representing the "safe" zone that the team need to guarantee them a spot in the next round. If a pair can't be caught by any of the teams to follow, they still answer in hope of getting a Pointless answer and adding to the jackpot.
  • Armstrong's insistance on repeating what they're looking for before each answer reveal and going "It's correct!" when the column starts ticking down are quite irritating. He's very likable and quick witted, he just has some irritating habits.
  • Eliminated couples get to come back once for a chance to make the Pointless final. In the meantime Richard gives all the important facts and figures regarding low and high scoring answers. Repeat until two pairs remain.
  • The best performing of the two pairs gets to pick the category and whether to go first or second (why you'd want to go second when you'd have the full range of answers avaliable to you if you go first is beyond me). Pairs can now confer and will alternate giving answers to the same question. The object is not to go above 100 points total - both teams will give an equal amount of answers, and if both go over 100 on the same go then the team that goes over the least are the winners.
  • The winners go though to the Pointless final where they win the Pointless trophy and have a chance to win the jackpot. They're given a choice of three categories and when given the question and any resultant caveats, have one minute to come up with three answers. To win the jackpot, one of them must be a pointless answer. The dissolving column is even slower than usual here. If they don't come up with one than the trophy is all they take home and the jackpot is rolled over to the next show.
  • Yeah it's just a list quiz, but the second guessing the public's knowledge element so that all answers are not equal is an entertaining twist. Possibly surprisingly, because I'm unsure it will be a hit, we'd place it in the upper quartile of daytime quizzes in the last five years.

24th August 2009

Pointless with Alexander Armstrong...

...begins 4:30pm today on BBC2, but the new series of Deal or No Deal steals a march on it by starting at 4:15pm on C4. Endemol win either way. Marketing genius on so many levels.

We'll have some opinions later, in the meantime a comment box for yours. I'm going to have a lie down, because I feel awful.

Edit: opinions tomorrow.

At a glance:
The Krypton Factor's been recommissioned! Yay!, Total Wipeout's been axed in France, Pointless: is it bad or is it good? Can someone sort out David J Bodycombe's computer? Strictly Come Dancing, more Millionaire US. Richard Osman, Didn't They Do Well? TF1 imports a Japanese format, Survivor, Victoria Coren hates You Bet!, it's no wonder she never wins the Poker Premier League, maths and gameshows, gameshows and maths, BB is over (after series 11), The Big Food Fight, The Cube has 60 games, Davina Just Dance(s), Face of ITV 1998 Nick Weir, Wait For It.

22nd August 2009

The Cube, then.

  • Colin McFarlane as the cold evil electronic voice of The Cube is an inspired choice.
  • We like the money tree (£1k/£2k/£10k/£20k/£50k/£100k/£250k) - proper leaps in utility each time I think, which should make it more tempting to go on each time. I notice they've dropped the banking element from the pilot, I think that's fine.
  • I like the fact it felt like there was little messing around, straight into it no messing all killer no filler.
  • Everyone is spotted nine lives now, so they've dropped the irritating grid game from the pilot.
  • I had several people text me during the show saying they want to apply for next series.
  • Games translate quite well on screen actually, the "pick up 25 balls very quickly" game was more entertaining then really it should be.
  • I reckon you should be able to use your simplify before deciding to go for it for the first time and still be given the option to walk.
  • However, and this comes as a surprise to me, the slo-mo and spinny camera thing actually became surprisingly tiresome. Given that's the show's USP, that's not a brilliant sign.
  • I wonder how many different games it's got prepared?
  • And also, are the episodes going to be closed every week, or will there be rollover contestants? Removing elements of surprise with this show wouldn't be ideal.
  • So really, broadly positive then I think.

The Cube

Our thoughts on The Cube will appear here later this evening - a new comment box has been provided. It is on ITV1 at 8:30 (that's just after The X Factor).

To be honest, the format is fairly solid (which is handy seeing as it's set in a solid (one for all you maths nerds out there)), whether special effects can make fairly banal games quite exciting remains to be seen. Hopefully the first test each contestant gets won't be a cheap life gobbler. I'm not entirely sure Pip Schofield is the correct host for this on paper, but we'll see. We do want to like this, by the way, we're just hoping it comes across better on telly than it did sitting in the audience, which it probably should do.

Clip Boyard

Alright, on last week's episode they did a new version of the music for Souterrain innonde (the flooded underground). Like much of this series' new takes on old tunes, I quite like it, although it falls into the habit of keeping the atmosphere up at the absence of the melody of the old piece.

So this being said, this week I thought I'd put up a playing with the full (as far as we know) proggy noodling tune from it. This is a bit of a classic adventure, enjoy.


This week's Secret of Fort Boyard is rated R18. I'm paraphrasing these from Google translate, so I hope I'm getting all the information across...

Form a Couple: The show started working properly with an element of opposition with the hosts. When the show first started, with Laffont and Marie Talon acting in an equal role, there was something missing. But Laffont and Sophie Davant who joined for the second half of the filming schedule immediately had a chemistry. It was decided that the female hosts would have the role of coach-contestants (which suited Sophie's character brilliantly), and they would lead the team against the Master of the Fort, in this instance Patrice, in roles that are opposing but complimentary. The roles have basically stayed the same ever since.

However, this chemistry went beyond filming, and Patrice and Sophie had a game they'd play that the viewers didn't know about called "Chatte-couilles" - Pussy-balls. The object was to surprise each other by touching each other below the belt and a scoring system was put in place where more points were scored the less obvious it was. It got to a point where they were starting to play it whilst filming in front of the cameras (so if you ever see one of them suddenly smile or laugh, you now know why!) Most of the crew found it quite funny, but Jacques Antoine thought it eventually crossed the line and asked Laffont to stop. What would the newspapers say? In the end, according to Patrice's notes, Sophie was the winner.

And happy 69th Patrice Laffont for yesterday!

Just a quick note: The X Factor starts this evening, Fantasy X Factor returns with bigger prizemoney than ever - £60, £25, £10 and £5 prizes on offer, that's £20 more total than last year. Lifechanging and recession-busting sums of cash, full details will go up sometime between now and when the final 12 are revealed.

At a glance:
No-one likes the new X Factor auditions, The Cube: is it bad or is it good?, Millionaire US spoilers.

20th August 2009

Regis and the Bear UPDATE

I think Regis will escape Ratings Bear. I also think the ratings have proved inconclusive. Yes Americans, it's held up better than I was expecting (although 7m is probably less than people were hoping). But yes Americans, I think the overall trend by the end will be downwards, so whilst we're both right, the important thing is I'm right.

18th August 2009

The Clipton Factor: Families At War

Right, so we've got The Cube starting Saturday night on ITV1 after The X Factor (and hey! If The X Factor's back, then that means that Bother's Bar's Unofficial Fantasy X Factor League is back soon as well). And we've got the new series of Shooting Stars with Vic and Bob starting soon. If only there was some way to combine the two...

Well there is! The winning family from Families At War got to play one of the greatest gameshow endgame ideas ever: The Cubiscus. This is from the 1998 broadcast pilot.


At a glance:
Eliminator, The Cubiscus, Charlie Brooker comments on Total Wipeout on You Have Been Watching, For The Rest of Your Life exactly as boring as you remember, If you didn't see Bingolotto last time it was on then rejoice! You've been given a reprieve, references unlikely to be got by anyone outside the 26-32 age range and even then pretty slim. Shooting Stars, Big Brother US is doing quite well, someone's stolen the Steal pilot, Glenn Hugill wins the Ashes, Celebrity Biscuit Game, Gary's mum is THE ONE, see The Cube being built, what's it like auditioning for The X Factor? CPL (the new old Celador) are rumoured to be doing a new game, let's hope it's as good or better than The Colour of Money.

17th August 2009

Thanks to David for pointing out that they're trying to hype up The Body from The Cube (starting Saturday) as the new Stig. I can't help but think driving very fast and with skill: cool, bouncing a ball into a tube/stopping a clock between 9.5 and 10.5 seconds: much less cool.

If you'd like a reminder of how it works, out review of the pilot recording with Justin Lee Collins is right here.

Now it's properly exciting!

In lieu of actual news, we've done another Millionaire US ratings graph updated with Sunday's 7m rating, but this time it also includes the completely arbitrary opinion of Ratings Bear:

He's on his way down! Quick! Time for a big ratings leap, Bouncing Regis! Or Ratings Bear will eat you!

(You don't get this on

15th August 2009

Clip Boyard

We'll have another Secret of Fort Boyard late on this evening, in the meantime, it's time for this week's clip. It got a mention on the Watchtower in the sidebar this week, so here's the second and best remembered version of The Alchemist, the game where instead of turning lead into gold, right, they turn water into keys. Yes.


You might notice it's out favourite Team Bosio in colour! We've had a good laugh, but felt it was fair to point they did win sometimes.

As he has been doing for a while, friend of the Bar Cosser has been sending me details of some of the secrets of Fort Boyard. and here comes another one now:

A Boa Amongst Tigers: It is fairly well known that Cendrine Dominguez has a phobia of snakes. The producer thought it would be a fun idea if a four foot boa was placed on the wooden platform the team would run across as they go from challenge to challenge, she'd stop and they'd probably run into the back of her, comedy would ensue. What actually happened was she was so scared she let out a huge scream which scared the snake. Unfortunately, it fell into the Treasure Room with all the tigers. The tigers, of course, want to eat the snake. Monique tries her hardest to keep them away and force them into their cage with her whip, meanwhile Guy Demazure (the watching animal wrangler) leapt down an entire flight of stairs and broke his ankle rushing to the scene. Happily, Monique wasn't attacked by the excited tigers and the snake was safe. The contestants were stunned at the speed everything happened, not to mention the resonant noise! It's moments like these we see that these tigeresses are not sweet little pussies, in an unforseen situation like this they resumed their wild aggressive nature. It was a lesson learnt from the new director who wanted to film some fantastic ideas, that small mistakes could turn into anything!

At a glance:
Brig and G-Male get into the mob on 1 vs 100 on XBox Live! A set is built and gets broken in Cambridge, local resident and gameshow enthusiast Brig Bother has no idea where. Voice of Wheel of Fortune Steve Hamilton dies, Pointless is up against Noel from next Monday, The People's Quiz sells abroad to the surprise of everybody, Patrice Laffont's Liste Gigante titles, Quebec does international formats, as long as we're all aware that the Eurovision really is a song contest and has nothing to do with politics whatsoever, Only Connect.

14th August 2009

Follow the bouncing Reege


We don't use graphics packages very often. On night five, Regis FLEW INTO ORBIT with a whopping 8.4m viewers. Have I written it off too soon? It's all so exciting.

13th August 2009

It's an advert! It's content! It's an advert and content! It's Advertcontent!


I came across your website and would like to send you a link to our Radio Station  to check it out.

We are the newest thing on the Game Show Network and stream live M-F (10am- 2pm) PST [That's 6pm - 10pm BST right now - Brig].  Our four hours of live stream are revolved around playing games.

These games have been adapted from Board Games. We are based out of Santa Monica, Ca.

Thought I’d write to spread the word a bit. We are open to participants world wide. The only requirement is that they be 21 yrs or older to play.

Tune in and give us a listen!"

12th August 2009

The Clipton Factor: Le Bigdil

Because we love him, here's some more Vincent Lagaf' (why the apostrophe?) in Le Bigdil from 2002 - a very French take on Let's Make a Deal. We did a feature on this a few years ago.


In other news, after a pretty unremarkable start, Millionaire seems to be crashing (down to 5.9m last night. That's only slightly more than it gets in the UK.). The big surprise is that no-one apparently saw it coming. So I'm intrigued Americans, what were you expecting it to offer that you thought people wanted to see? Just curious.

At a glance:
Millionaire US ratings, what's the futre hold for Deal or No Deal?, Rocky Horror's back in town!, no-one yet has an answer to the question "is SyFy recomissioning Estate of Panic or Cha$e?", stupid people on Smarter, THERE'S A THE COLOUR OF MONEY ELECTRONIC GAME OUT!!! 1vs 100 on XBox Live, Tim makes a brilliant suggestion regarding Ratings Bear.

11th August 2009

Sorry everyone, tonight's clip with the ever awesome Vincent Lagaf' has been postponed until tomorrow.

However! It looks like we've got not one, not none, not three but TWO! recordings to go to in the next month, so fun and excitement will be had by all.

In the meantime, if you've an XBox 360, why not spend actual real cash money buying your Avatar a giant cotton bud and pretending to be a Gladiator, like I have done and am not proud of? Ahem.

10th August 2009

Shark Tank

So, the US version of Dragon's' Den started last night in the US, produced by Mark Burnett.

Things it does better than our version:

  • Restraint on the voiceover for the hard of comprehension.

Things it does worse:

  • Do we really need a VT package on the prospective entreprenuers?
  • The pacing's a bit off so some of the impact is lost to the drama - the massive studio doesn't help here either.

As to the Sharks, Kevin O'Leary I'm aware of from the Canadian version and from a UK documentary on international versions of the show, and I have to say he's a brilliant comic creation. Unfortunately I think he's a bit too overpowering on this sort of panel and I grew quite tired of his money based aphorisms. Robert Herjavec and Barbra Corcoran seemed like good sharks, although he did the "ooh, this is a really tough one" thing a bit too much. The other two sharks may as well have not been there.

Not too awful then really.

Very probably time for a new comment box. Millionaire begins it's tenth birthday celebrations in the US (Do you see Big Brother? Etc.) it's tenth birthday is actually next Sunday on the 16th. I reckon it will draw decent viewers on the first night and by the end of the 11 episode run it will be lucky to be getting 50% of that. WILL I BE RIGHT (yes) or WILL I BE WRONG (am I ever?)? We'll find out in a fortnight.

We approve of the graphics package though, certainly.

At a glance:
Stefan Raab does Andrew Lloyd Webber, Millionaire US, Ratings Bear dissects Saturday night, more double stealing on Golden Balls. There's another Big 7 coming, Only Connect judged to be quite hard, Only Connect judges judged, University Challenge now apparently so easy the answers can be guessed, is Millionaire US good or is it not good? The Whole 19 Yards comes to ITV, Beat the Star cost *how much*? Against the Odds with Graham Norton, are the BBC remaking The Big Ticket? Bingolotto returns to the surprise of apparently everyone.

9th August 2009

Some secrets of Fort Boyard

The original intention was to do a few of these, but the person telling us them suggested I do them on a weekly basis (very probably as a companion to Clip Boyard), which I do think is a quite good idea. But as it's you lot, I'll do two this week:

  • Brits Abroad: The intention was to make a 1:4 size version of the Fort at Elstree Studios for a pilot. To this end, a British team including the English set designer and his assistant meet up with the French team on the boat to the Fort. For some reason, the English designer is carrying a long wooden box, which the French team thought was just a measuring instrument. When they reach the fort, the British expressed their admiration for the beauty of the place. However, whilst Jacques Antoine and Jean-Pierre Mitrecey were explaining to the Brits about the fort layout, the work that had been done and still needed doing (including the wooden flooring crossing the fort at the first level), JP spots that the British set designer sneak off with his wooden box up the stairs to the terrace. Intrigued, JP follows. Could they be about to play some musical instruments? That would be beautiful! Of course, as it turns out JP was surprised to see that inside the box was a Union Jack, and in flying the flag the British had symbollically taken possession of the Fort, an eccentric symbollic act of revenge. They were happy to take the flag down afterwards, because the whole thing was done for a bet. When the production company bought the fort, they had to honour a promise dating back to the nineteenth century - that no Englishman should be able to hoist the Union Jack on top of Fort Boyard.
  • Americans Abroad: In 1991, the US decided to go and shoot a pilot. But this came with conditions. They wanted the use of a helicopter - fine. But that was not all! They also wanted several thousand cans of Coke. But not just any old Coke, it had to be Diet Coke. Unfortunately they didn't sell Diet Coke in France at the time - just Coke Light - so they went to the trouble of contacting the Belgian arm of the Coca Cola Company who were happy to supply. So the large amount of coke arrives, and it meticulously laid out on the terrace. As is usual, the US team are invited to lunch where they drink all the wine and ignore the Coke completely. The third requirement were seperate toilets for the hosts. Feeling mischevious, the techincal crew built them on the platform, where the camera people could monitor their comings and goings with hilarious effect. The episode was broadcast opposite the Super Bowl, and therefore it was no real surprise that it didn't do very well.

7th August 2009

Rain stopped play

Right chaps, I'm afraid no updates until Sunday because I'm very busy this weekend. That means, yes, no Clip Boyard this week, the first week it's had off in over two years (don't worry! There's at least 100 episodes still to go!).

However as something for Boyard fans to look forward to, a friend of the Bar has been furiously translating amusing stories from Jean-Pierre Mitrecey's book Les Secrets de Fort Boyard. Discover how and where they intended to make the British pilot (we'd kill to see any footage of this) and what those naughty Brits did when doing a recce, what the Americans were really like and how a practical joke aimed at Cendrine Dominguez whilst filming ended with dire consequences. And maybe more!


At a glance:
Korean Boyard, Coach Trip is recommissioned, ITV are doing cryptic advertising for The Cube (pity the show is a bit average if the pilot is anything to go by really), I Survived a Japanese Finale and the editing of, Carte Aux Tresors on Wednesday afternoons on TV5 about 1ish (according to TV5 they are indeed from 2008, Alex), For The Rest Of Your Life gets burnt off (and can only see white lights), Big Tall Ginger Spencer, 15m Velcro Hurdles off of Guesstimation, I should like to point out that if anyone makes it big from Accumulate, I broke you, yeah?, Ratings Bear lays the smack, just who exactly is going to host Britain's Biggest Brain? More sterling work from the ITV's Viewer Competition department.

5th August 2009

It's a fun evening in Americaland

All-Star Wipeout AND the two-hour finale of I Survived a Japanese Gameshow. We're pulling for Cathy to win, because through amazing use of skill and flip-flopping between teams, I don't think she's lost a game yet.

Does anyone know what's happening with the British version of the Big in Japan format?

4th August 2009

Panic Attack Series 2

Well basically they've sped up the second round and they've completely borked the final and the graphics.

So to win anything you have to get at least three of the final six answers - OK fair enough - but the original idea where they had to leave the game before the time ran out was quite good (or would have been quite good if the clock was hidden a la Split Second, or if people didn't hint for them to push the button) - now it's a cash clock and to win anything you've either got to get all six answers on your own (worth £10,000 whatever the clock's at) or in a completely arbitrary fashion select someone else to give a correct answer, splitting whatever's left (that's last answer isn't worth any money for no discernable reason, unless it's the final answer) if they're right or losing the lot if they're wrong.

Really it would have been much better if they kept the winner and the cash clock and just let them bail out once they've got three answers correct, giving them the opportunity to lose it all by being rubbish, lose it all by being greedy, win something for being OK or even win lots of money by being very good.

Also Round one isn't very well explained, they sort of play it and then things happen and new viewers would have to guess.

I thought the first series was OK - not as brilliant as a lot of other people reckon, but already quite a bit better than the second one.

The Clipton Factor: Remote Control

Right, we're in a campaigning mood right now. We think it's a shame that of the however many series it was on in the UK, only one two minute clip of Remote Control with Tony Wilson has shown up on Youtube.

Well in a pointless attempt to try and get a bit more up there, I thought for the second and final week of Ken Ober season we'd put an entire episode of the the US show up. This is from season three of five I believe, and features special guest Bob Eubanks from The Newlywed Game et al.

Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here. It's an amusing and subtly witty show that helped the careers of Colin Quinn, Adam Sandler and Dennis Leary amongst others.

The UK show was a bit less based on old TV shows and featured such comedy luminaries as Phil Cornwell, Frank Sidebottom, Caroline Aherne and John Thompson. The UK show ran from '91 (which is about when the US show ended) to '94 (according to Wikipedia) or '92 (according to The saddest thing is, according to a conversation I had recently (TOP RESEARCH), no original tapes exist. So if you know someone who has some Remote Control UK on a tape somewhere, tell them that Youtube is their friend.

...And the other reason I've put the whole episode up is because I might be too busy to do a Clip Boyard this weekend, sorry. But we might have some very interesting and intriguing Boyard related stuff to come over the next week to make up for it, you'll just have to wait and see.

David, is there a concious decision to do fewer logic questions in this series of Only Connect?

At a glance:
 The US version of Remote Control would be better with Frank Sidebottom, University Challenge players on Only Connect, puzzly questions on Only Connect, Panic Attack, Los Ultimos 20 Metros can't settle on a format, GNN is ten years old, Scrapheap Challenge minus the scrapheap, Knowitalls gets another positive review, is Gyles Brandreth a bit creepy on Knowitalls? Whodunnit? I Survived a Japanese Finale, Agent Sick gets his own Countdown Conundrum, would you like to crash computers for Cat and Mouse? Britain's Best Brain.

1st August 2009

Clip Boyard

From 1991, here's Patrice Laffont and Sophie Davant (who both appear in tonight's Old Hosts special episode on France 2) with the most successful team ever - it's about €37,000.


Los Ultimos 20 Metros

Currently being hawked around the US as The Whole 19 Yards by Endemol, a Spanish version already exists and can be watched on the Antena 3 site.

We're watching it now so will have an opinion later, but it seems to be one round from Die 100,000 Mark Show writ large - lots of items appear on a screen, when a contestant works out the connection they run to hit a buzzer, the problem being there's 20m of obstacles between them and the buzzer. They're much less wacky than the ones on Wipeout.

Right then, watched it.

  • The show begins with five contestants.
  • Before each round, the contestants play a game to put money into the bank which is won by one of them at the end of the show. Each player in turn stands in front of a large screen. A sequence of words and pictures flashes up each a hint to something. When they think they know what it is, they buzz in and give their answer - the fewer hints, the more money is added (beginning with €1,000, then €500, €300, €200, €100 and finally €50, except in the final round where it starts at €2,000).
  • Once everyone's had a go, it's time for the main bit - the elimination race.
  • Another series of hints flash up on computer screens. When the contestant knows what links them, they run to hit the buzzer which is twenty metres away. Between the screens and the buzzer are a number of demanding physical obstacles (they might have to build a ladder then pull themselves down the other side of a wall whilst connected to a weight, for example, or they might be wearing parachutes with 100mph winds blowing against them, that sort of thing). The first person to hit gets to answer, if they're correct then they're through to the next round. But it's important for everyone else to keep going, because if they're wrong the next person will get a chance to answer.
  • When someone goes through, everyone else returns to the start and they race again. In round one, the course was made slightly easier each time. Keep playing until one person is left, they're eliminated.
  • Round two is slightly different in the episode I saw, they faced off two by two with the losers facing off against each other.
  • That really is all there is to it. When it first started I thought it would work quite well as a Saturday night sort of thing, but I found round two of the episode I saw fairly tedious (traversing a course wearing flip flops). But it picked up towards the end - it took about 45 minutes to complete the first two rounds and less then twenty to complete the last two.
  • The prizemoney feels quite low, €16,000 is the maximum, about €3,500 will be the average I think.
  • The music sounded very similar to Deal or No Deal US. The host looked a bit like Patrick Kielty.

At a glance:
Silly clues on Los Ultimos 20 Metros, Fort Boyard trivia, Power of Ten UK, references to sexual acts, Dick de Rijk leaves Endemol, Millionaire's back in the US, some arguing over the nature of celebrity, Michael Underwood on The Crystal Maze, Knowitalls is the sleeper hit of the year, apparently.