Show Discussion: First and Last

By | January 4, 2020

Saturday, 8:15pm,

Here’s a format that’s been knocking around for absolute donkeys years, originally piloted with Justin Lee Collins about a decade ago for Channel 4 (IIRC), an unsuccessful run in Italy, another pilot with Lee Mack and finally, FINALLY the BBC have decided the time is right for First and Last with Jason Manford for primetime Saturday night viewing.

First and Last sees eleven players battling it out for a prize of up to £10,000 by playing a series of games, the golden rule is that you’re eliminated if you finish any game first or last.

Let’s hope the show is better than the mediocrity required of its contestants, I can’t help but feel the First and Last Series gag writes itself, but it’s got six episodes to prove its worthiness. Let us know what you think in the comments.

24 thoughts on “Show Discussion: First and Last

  1. Chris B

    I think I’m the only person who chose to watch this over Masked Singer, and you know I kind of enjoyed it. As ever will probably live or die on the variety of games and if they are changed up enough.

    Preferred the ones where it involved the contestants making a decision/action there in the studio rather than the pre-determined nature of the the marathon runners. Not sure the twist of the two person camel runners being fast truely worked as surely that was there as a double bluff to make you think they were the worst, but if they were the best then you’re out either way.

    Loved the hashtag game, felt a lot of fun, and laughed at the jumping out of the box game too. Maybe being nitpicking, but surely you can’t win a prize of “up to £10,000“ as its literally impossible to win the maximum. Not sure how else you could phrase it though.

    Not sure if Jason Manford worked totally as host – I do really like him but think the self depreciation needed to be dialed down by about 20%. Can see how Lee Mack would have worked.

    Would watch again if in, which is surely about as good as you can hope for on a Saturday night these days…?

    1. Chris B

      Oh, another thought. Seems to be on quite late for a proper family audience. Might just be me being a fuddy duddy though!

      1. Brandon

        It’s only on so late because the schedules were shuffled around quite last minute when ITV announced the confirmed time that The Masked Singer started.

  2. Clive Of Legend

    It was dumb, and it knew it was dumb which should have been annoying, but just this once it sorta worked. Jason Manford the perfect host for this kind of thing, has that sort of Ant & Dec quality of not feeling 100% rehearsed but still totally in control.

    Just a bit of a shame they only seem to have come up with 2.5 ideas for games, all with a real lack of scale or spectacle. The cardboard boxes were good for a bit of schadenfreude, knowing the first contestant you meet is in for a nasty surprise, but nothing else in the show had much tension or impact. And there must be a better way to meet the contestants, I realize you don’t want them to be a bunch of anonymous faces, but nine interviews in a row meant round two stretched on just a bit too long. I hope they’ve come up with some surprises for later in the series, but I’m not convinced.

    Music in the show was alright, but bared absolutely no resemblance to the theme tune in a way that really got my hackles up for no good reason. Set was also okay, feels like they missed an obvious visual gag, was fully expecting the First and Last podia to slide away into oblivion at the end of the round.

    I can understand why the other pilots may have been passed up, but overall I’d happily give it another watch. Though I liked Don’t Scare the Hare, so maybe don’t listen to me.

  3. JoshieF

    Okay, so I expected this to be absolutely terrible. My hopes were not high, at all. But actually, if you accept the show for what it is, it’s okay.

    The instagram hashtag game had good playalong factor, and I enjoyed guessing the ages of the audience. Also really like the endgame (love how blatant the production money saving tactics are), it builds good suspense as truly anybody could win until the final amount is revealed.

    Round 3, was awful. Both parts of it felt super arbitrary, ESPECIALLY the bringing in a potato part. I know the show loved to make fun of it’s budget, but come ON. This was the only part of the show I didn’t particularly enjoy, but it didn’t put too big a downer on proceedings.

    Overall, this was enjoyable. Will probably give it a second watch, and might stick with it for the whole series if the next episode is as enjoyable. No desire to see future series of it, but I think it can provide six episodes worth of entertainment.

  4. David B

    Generally liked this and it worked better as a format than I was expecting. However, it’s very numbers-heavy, and there was a lot of staring a whiteboards. As Clive says above, I was thinking there’d be more games with a physical element where the outcome was more self-evident. Maybe in future episodes?

    Final ‘how much do you want to win’ round is quite cleverly meta, but if you need a graphic to explain who’s won, it’s not obvious enough.

    Jason was good value. I just felt there was something missing in the overall polish, especially for a Saturday-night show. It’s missing a new musical stings or sfx in places, and there seemed to be quite a lot of shadows.

      1. David B

        Not necessarily. It could be something like ‘build a tower’ which you could fail because either (a) you’re not very good at it, or (b) you’re good at it but you delibereately slowed down too much and ‘sandbagged’, letting everyone else overtake you, or (c) the tower fell down at an inopportune moment. I presume they tested things like this and perhaps the results weren’t as interesting as it potentially sounds. But I do find the current ideas rather static.

      2. Cliff

        Good trashy fun. I probably wouldn’t watch it again if it wasn’t for how good Jason Manford is hosting it. He’s basically doing a Les Dawson on Blankety Blank.

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    Urgh, wasn’t feeling this at all. Looks cheap, felt cheap, Clive’s comment about the games lacking any sort of scale or spectacle is bang on – it just wasn’t all that compelling. Which is sort of a shame because the games seem to work on paper, in reality that hashtag round needed to be much snappier and the whole thing could have done with more interesting reveals really. At no point does it feel Saturday night.

    Manford actually pretty good and one day, I reckon, he’ll get a show that gels with his talent, but yes, the “look I know it’s shit” schtick gets old quite quickly, and like when Richard Ayoade does it on The Crystal Maze the audience just ends up agreeing and turning it off.

  6. Brandon

    It’s just hit me what this reminds me of – feels like Fluke! Especially the potato weighing round.

    1. Matt Clemson

      You’re not the only one who walked away thinking of Fluke, and I think it’s down that avenue that I enjoyed it; the real test in my eyes will be how long the creativity lasts. In particular I can’t help but think that having so many animated intros for games suggest they’ll be reused, and while I enjoyed the potato-weighing [i]once[/i] – largely because of the juxtaposition of the inherent silliness of the idea getting lots of ceremony tied to it – I fear we might well be seeing it or something very similar each week.

  7. William Stephen

    Question. If everyone wrote down £10,000, or if two people wrote £10,000 what would happen?

  8. Kniwt

    Exceeded my low expectations; entertaining enough to watch on a Sunday morning whilst trying to wake up enough to do anything productive.

    Fun fact: Connor the supercomputer has worked behind the scenes on several series of Taskmaster, including “prop creation and building, including the tasks that the comic reads prior to each task.” (Not that I looked Connor up or anything, but yeah.)

  9. Chris M. Dickson

    This would be a very decent one-off; I hope gags in future weeks can be sufficiently different to keep us coming back. for I fear we’ve seen all there is to see. Jason Manford was an excellent fit. The final round was probably the weakest and the only one where the not-especially-fast pace felt like it dragged; I’d like to have seen something a bit more physical and silly, like contestants scooping as many or as few coins and/or notes and/or prizes as they wanted from a bin, or contestants choosing when to stop a Bong-Game-style conveyor. Quite liked the theme tune, too.

    There’s definitely a place for this gentle, guileless, easy-come-easy-go end-of-the-pier fun, and it’s early on a Saturday evening.

  10. Chris M. Dickson

    The end of the show is perhaps the part with most play-along-at-home value. Do you remember how much you were thinking at that time that you’d choose? I was quite tempted by the “straight down the line £5,000” argument, but I do think there’s scope for implicit silent collusion between the three contestants that picking (e.g.) £7,000 – £8,000 – £9,000 is better than picking £3,000 – £5,000 – £7,000, so the figure I had in mind if I had a single shot at playing this would be a round £7,000. If I ever get the chance to play this, feel free to use this information against me.

    Based on my expectations for new shows from a typical year, this feels like being far from Hall of Shame territory, but it would be a bad year that saw this needing a Hall of Fame vote.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yeah I reckon the sweet spot will be somewhere between £6,660 and £7,000. Given enough time it’ll probably be solvable, or at least all the bids will converge around that area.

      1. Brandon

        If it gets a second series, a good tactic might be to use the average of all the bids from the second series.

  11. Brekkie

    Watched this earlier having had my expectations lowered by some of the early reviews but must say I quite enjoyed it. Jason Manford helps – he’s quite an underrated host really but carries most shows he does well. (I guess his ITV show with the kids has been axed). Most the games you could sort of play along with at home, and I thought the divided twist at the end was quite original and trickier than it first appears. Might not be in the spirit of the show but having them all asked what they’d spend their money on in front of each other before they wrote down the answer might enduce a bit of bluffing in the end game. Also feel it’s an end game which might not work for series 2, though they can worry about that if it happens.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.