By | August 19, 2022

Top find on the Discord last night, a Youtube vid with all the The Big Breakfast competition jingles up to 1996. Get Your Knobbly Nuts Out will always be my favourite I think (the best ones are when they have the jingle then a repeat with a dance breakdown), and More Tea Vicar is a design classic. You will never realise how many variants there are for Spot the Pudding.

Show Discussion: Moneybags

By | August 14, 2022

Series 2: Weekdays, C4

We’re just going to bump our original post from 7th November 2021 for series 2. Series two opens with a week of celebrity episodes and a playalong app. It has a new timeslot, it’s up against three weeks of repeats of Pointless and The Chase we understand. We also gather that contestants are eligible all week even after winning which might make the endgame a bit gamblier. Hopefully it’ll move the ratings needle this time round!

Series 1: Weekdays, C4,

With Channel 4 apparently declining to renew the much loved, if little actually watched, The Answer Trap, they’re making another bid for the 3pm timeslot with a show from Youngest Media, ex-Endemol people who helped devise The Million Pound Drop, Pointless et al. Frequently as annoying as Endemol were around the late 2000s, we do kind of miss the swagger that at least kept us engaged.

Certainly there’s little safe about this show – it’s the first time loose-ish cannon Craig Charles has hosted a quiz, there will £1m in play every week (which sounds like an emboldening of a point, but given all the players are there all week, doesn’t seem unfair) and it involves big physical props – a conveyor belt with lots of large bags going down it, each with answers the contestants may or may not want to grab. And a lovely minty green studio. It’ll probably be random-esque point shuffling nonsense, but in a world where nobody watches Channel 4 in the afternoons it’s nice to see an attempt at a bold statement. Of course, £1m in play each week is very different from £1m being given away each week, so it will be interesting to see how much actually gets won.

Interestingly, this first series will be up against the new series of Lingo, the first of which turned out to be surprisingly hot. Unsure what C4 will be hoping from this, at least as much as Countdown I expect.

Watched it? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Watching Telly: Le Maître du Jeu

By | August 11, 2022

Here’s some fun, FOTB Ryan Vickers went and saw the new Quebecoise version of Taskmaster being filmed and he’s written a report. Take it away Ryan:

Taping occurred on Friday, August 5th at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal.  We were let in early and I sat in the balcony (limited standing space was downstairs).  We saw two eps being taped starting around noon; finished up around 3:30 pm.  Taping went at a good clip; never really did it feel like drag at any point.

The panelists are Mehdi Bousaidan, Ève Côté, Christine Morency, Matthieu Pepper and Jo Cormier.  French-Canadian “petit Alex Horne” is Antoine Vézina; your Maître du Jeu is Louis Morissette.  I have to be honest; I didn’t know any of these names – it’s a bit of an odd thing in Canada where French and English sections of Canada have vastly different “star systems” as it were.

Anyway, onto the details:

Click for bigger
  • Early on in the taping the warm-up comedian Simon asked where people were from.  It turns out that I wasn’t the only person who had come far.  When I said I travelled from Toronto one of the players (Jo) piped up and cracked a joke in French wondering if the “Anglophone would understand any of it”; I responded in French saying that I’m a French teacher and know the show inside-out! This seemed to please him!
  • This then led Simon to explain that all games are taken from the 13 UK series.  I’m kind of on the fence about this – part of the fun of Taskmaster NZ is that there’s stuff that hasn’t played before.  My hope is that they’ll develop some homegrown games from Series 2 onwards.
  • The Taskmaster house as well as all of the “outside” games seem to have been taped at parc National du Mont-St-Bruno, just outside of Montreal.  In the games that I saw, there wasn’t anything that was done off property.
  • While I won’t spoil any games (they said pictures were fine but please don’t spoil so I definitely won’t) I will say it was interesting that a game that played on the UK version was adapted for a foreign version that I’ve seen that we then saw play out on LMDJ; it’s interesting to think that possible loopholes were closed depending on the wording of the adaptation of other versions.  I’ll share after that game airs.
  • Format fans: don’t worry – it’s the same format as the UK version (prize task, 3 filmed tasks, live task).  Due to spacing they just remove the panelists’ chairs and then replace for the finale.
  • Set: same thing pretty much (see attached picture)
  • Some stylistic changes – they are NOT seated in the same order for each episode.  Also, we were told we were seeing two episodes but they were NOT going to air in order (save for the last ep where they would declare the winner).  We saw episodes 7 and 8 – there were some references to certain performances earlier in the series so I’m wondering if maybe they just will air them in shooting order.  Cumulative scores across the series as a result were never mentioned; I’m thinking it will get dropped in during post.  Introductions done closest to the TM and then towards audience.
  • Antoine Vézina is PERFECT for the assistant role.  Humour is drole (he starred in the Quebecoise version of “The Office”) and thumbs up for him being nice enough to have a bit of a chat with me and grab a picture.

Overall, a solid adaptation (and worth the numerous hours it took me to get there by car, suburban train and subway)! Scheduled at this point to air Thursdays at 8 pm starting in mid-September.  Quick turn around time to be sure.

Side note: if you’re so inclined, I was interviewed by Lou Sanders and Jack Bernhardt for “Taskmaster The Peoples’ Podcast” episode number 17, Is there an Argument to Say Entrancingly? about my love of all things TM including the fact that I’ve played it with my students.  It was an absolute pleasure to become part of the Taskmaster Universe.

Thanks to Brig for letting me write this up!

Stool Pigeon August 2022: The Results

By | August 9, 2022

Right, eyes down look in. As ever, we cannot confirm the veracity of anything submitted but I think there’s likely a grain of truth in most of this, we’ve filtered out the ones that feel a bit attention-seeky – maybe I have turned down The Beatles who knows?

Micah Richards lined up as one of the presenters of the Gladiators revival

RE: Sheffield Arena – no-one’s approached over booking the site for Gladiators yet. If it was here, we don’t have the ceiling height of the NIA, so good luck getting the old games in.

We have heard mention of the ceiling height at Sheffield perhaps being an issue which is quite interesting. Nobody is going to want to watch a 20 foot Wall are they? Especially as it’s probably one of the easier events to translate from a safety perspective.

Heard ITV have axed TV Showdown with Paul Sinha

I’ve also heard rumours of this but I understand nothing officially confirmed. I do wonder if Saturday night was the best place for it, but there we are.

New Big Brother won’t have a custom-built house, it’ll be a regular house (albeit a really big one) rigged up with remote cameras. It’ll be in Manchester, so that it counts towards ITV’s regional quota.

I know there was a suggestion it was going to be filmed at Bovingdon Airfield a few days ago, I still think the rigging up of an existing house is more likely if we’re looking at an April/May timeframe. It’s basically how they do Love Island, and I think recent reboots of Big Brother on the continent have gone down this route. It also feels like a lot less of a risk if it turns out to be a massive flop.

A senior team member on programmes such as Pointless, Million Pound Drop and The Wall once told me “the key thing for any new format is you have to hope Bothers Bar likes it”.

Oh stop. What a pity we’re basically just trading on a name these days now that the light entertainment industry has imploded.

Moneybags fans might be interested to know that Alex Brooker was originally supposed to be the host, not Craig Charles.

Bother’s Bar Favourite Moneybags begins with a week of celebrity specials starting Monday at 5pm on Four. There’s going to be what sounds like a playalong app, although seeing as the last one Youngest Media gave us was Small Fortune which charged 99p for a life maybe temper your excitement for now.

A Belgian quiz format might be coming to a UK broadcaster. Sadly it’s Two To The Power Six which isn’t as good as De Slimste Mens but at least it’s something

That’s a pity but I can understand it as a choice with its regular rotating panel of celebs which is very “in”. I can’t say I’ve kept up with the format over the years, but here’s an explanation of an early series of it where we use the word “sophistiquiz” which just shows we used to be better ten years ago.

Naked Attraction to expand from 6 contestants to 7.

This is a bit of a non-story and it might not even be true (I thought Naked Attraction was five people – oh I suppose five plus picker), but I’m extremely entertained by the idea of trying to work out where they’d fit an extra round in. Feet only for all the internet foot fetishists?

Here’s the Spanish version of Lingo – other than the reduced stakes, the main difference is the endgame: they have 90 seconds to solve a 5-letter word for half the bank, then a 6-letter word for the full bank, then a puzzleword for double the bank…

I remember Spanish Lingo from the 90s when it seemed to have a peacock character as a mascot, for some reason.

There is apparently a casting call going around hinting at a possible German version of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Trying to figure out a Snatch Game pun for Punkt Punkt Punkt.

Ant and Dec’s Limitless Win to be stripped across one week in the new year – Millionaire style


Well there we are.

Escape Rooms of Horrible Death films – ranked!

By | August 5, 2022

Inspired by a Twitter comment earlier I’ve been asked what the best films in the burgeoning escape rooms of horrible death genre are.

Escape rooms are ripe for horror – they are confined spaces that by their very nature are difficult to escape threat from. But it’s likely they’ll also have puzzles and people doing things! What fun. Some of these are gruesome (Escape Room), some of these are closer to 15 certificates to be honest (Escape Room). But which are the best? We’ll update this list as we watch more of them.

  1. Cube
  2. Cube Zero
  3. Fermat’s Room
  4. Saw II, I guess
  5. Escape Room
  6. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
  7. Escape Room
  8. Escape Room: Quest of Fear
  9. Escape Room
  10. Play or Die
  11. Escape: Puzzle of Fear
  12. Cube 2: Hypercube

There’s a fair chance I’ve missed films I’ve actually watched here, so feel free to name others I might have missed off, I’m going to watch Escape Room: Quest of Fear over the weekend hopefully.

Edit: Watched Escape Room: Quest of Fear. It is a low budget affair, the gore effects are comical more than anything and the story and direction feel “a bit media studies”. However, it is intriguingly Russian and successfully captures a certain grittiness. An interesting entry, if not necessarily a great one.