Show Discussion: The Tournament

By | November 7, 2021

Weekdays, 2:15pm,

And so the BBC try out a new format in the apparently challenging post-Doctors slot, this one’s a quiz that’s been devised by the people behind QI and fronted by ex-football captain Alex Scott.

Despite its octagonal title card, our eight contestants will not be battling it out in mixed marshal arts, instead they will be taking on each other in quizzing duels based around a tug-of-war element. The last one standing could win a cash prize, but as yet I don’t actually know what that potential prize is. “Journalism!”

We know several people involved in divising it so we can appreciate the pedigree. We’re also digging the super-electronic set.

But is it an entertaining watch? Let us know in the comments.

31 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Tournament

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    From The Tournament press release, an interview with Alex Scott:

    If you could go on any quiz show (apart from The Tournament) as a contestant, what would it be and why?

    Although it’s super cheesy to say, I really do think what we’ve done with The Tournament makes me feel like I want to be contestant! It’s fun, it’s accessible, it’s different. It’s open to everyone.


  2. Cliff

    It’s alright, not something I’d watch every day but then I said that about Unbeatable and ended up watching most of those.

    Perhaps surprisingly, the most exciting battles are those where one contestant is way better than their opponent. More evenly matched rounds, where the “tug o’ war” stays in the middle, are comparatively dull.

    There are a couple of production aspects that seem done on the cheap, and not what you’d expect on a BBC One show: the plastic clatter of those buzzers before the sound effect is played, and lots of very bad sound editing with regards to contestant chat and Alex’s retakes.

  3. Andrew Sullivan

    First episode broadcast, so here’s the format run-down.

    8 contestants start the show and take part in an initial 8-question multi-choice quiz. This determines the leaderboard for the main game and how much each player is worth, from £10 for the worst-performing player to £500 for the best. Ties are broken by fastest time. The money scale in full is £10, £100, £150, £200, £250, £300, £350, £500.

    The player who performed the best chooses which of the other players to face in a head-to head and which category it’ll be on from a choice of 7, which are typical quiz fare (TV and Film, Sports and Games, Food and Drink, History, etc.). The 2 competitors then take their places on the main stage. Alex reveals which of the players is the favourite for the round, based on an assessment all the contestants took beforehand. The players then take part in a 2-minute quick-fire round, with correct answers pulling their opponent closer to the Red Zone and wrong answers throwing the question over. After the 2 minutes are up, whoever has more sections on their side of the board is the winner and takes their opponent’s money. If a player can pull the entire board to their side, it’s classed as a Knockout and that player receives a bonus as well as their opponent’s money. This is repeated until 4 players have been eliminated. All losing contestants are able to return on the next show.

    This process is then repeated in the semi-finals. No extra time, just 2 more 2-minute rounds to determine the 2 finalists.

    For the Final, each player is playing for whatever they accrued over the course of the game, the winnings are not combined, but their bank can be doubled if they score a Knockout.

    Overall, this is a very enjoyable show. It gets through a lot of questions in its 45-minute run-time. The ‘blue and yellow chevron’ motif reminds me a lot of the US version of Duel. I’ll be interested to hear what the rest of you think.

  4. Greg

    I have to say I didn’t warm to Alex Scott as host. She is not a natural gameshow host in my opinion. Also I was very put off by the necklace that kept shining in the light.

    As for the format it’s ok. There has been some really good BBC1 daytime formats in the last few years this has to be more down the bottom end rather than the top end.

    Can’t say I’ll be back for this one.

  5. Josh Reid

    It’s not the best. The format is okay but the presentation tries too hard to be serious. It’s a daytime BBC show attempting to be a primetime ITV. The head to head introduction graphics made me laugh with the whiplash-look-at-camera.

    Lovely bit of #HostInitatingTakeOff action by Scott, will give her that.

    Won’t be tuning in again in a hurry though.

  6. Oliver

    I liked the core game well enough, even if it was a bit too easy at times, but I really, really disliked the garish OTT 90s presentation, which too often reminded me of bad children’s/youth TV. The worst bits were the intros and the face-to-face “battle” graphics which made me groan laughing every time.

  7. Andrew Sullivan

    Thought I’d try a bit of amateurish number-crunching to give an idea of what the potential top prize could be.
    So, I gave the full gamut of figures that each player is worth after the initial 8-question quiz to determine the leaderboard, which were: £10, £100, £150, £200, £250, £300, £350, £500.

    Round 1
    £500 player picks £350 player. Winner goes up to £850
    £300 player picks £250 player. Winner goes up to £550
    £200 player picks £150 player. Winner goes up to £350
    £100 player plays £10 player. Winner goes up to £110

    £850 player picks £550 player. Winner goes up to £1,400
    £350 player plays £110 player. Winner goes up to £460.

    So the final prize pots are £1,400 to £460. There’s also the Knockout rule, which gives a bonus to anyone who manages it. There was only 1 Knockout in the entirety of the first episode and that was in the semi-finals, which gave a £500 bonus. I don’t know if that’s consistent through the whole game, but for the purposes of this, I’ll assume it is. So assuming that the first 2 games of the opening rounds both ended in a Knockout, that adds £1,000 to the pot, and a further £500 for the first semi-final with the 2 highest earners face each other, so there’s potentially £2,900 there. Alex mentioned that if the Final ends in a Knockout, then there’s the potential to double the pot in a ‘golden run’. No idea what that entails, since it didn’t happen, but if it’s a straight doubling of the pot, then my back-of-a-napkin maths comes to a potential top prize of £5,800. If anyone can expand on this or has another figure in mind, then feel free to show your working.

  8. Brekkie

    Alex Scott is quite good on this but the show is a chore. Very repetitive and just awkward things like the unnecessary battle cries and pre-recorded winner graphics. The main centre piece graphic just doesn’t work visually either as you can only see the state of play in the wide shots.

  9. Christopher McBride

    I didn’t think that we’d ever see a quasi-revival of “Seo do Seans” (sic, I can’t remember its exact spelling), the brilliant short-lived and definitely not remembered Irish language gameshow shown on TG4 in the late 90s, but definitely here for it. The theme tune’s great, reminds me of the one for the short-lived “Breakaway”. Plus top marks for a question about Bob Mortimer’s egg in the bath moment on “Would I Lie To You”.

    Thought it looked a bit odd that Alex didn’t face the contestants whilst asking the questions during the 1st round. One of those rotating podiums a la The Weakest Link wouldn’t have gone amiss. It also looks like there were quite a few post-production overdubs of Alex’s dialogue, although that could just be because it’s early in the run. I did like the look of the studio, but not a fan of the graphics to introduce the head-to-heads, and thought the introductions was far too cheesy for a gameshow like this.

    Agree it’s the sort of show I’d happily watch if there’s nothing much else on, but wouldn’t seek it out.

  10. Henry R

    I swear the older guy pressed his button first in one of the questions but it went to his opponent.

  11. Brig Bother Post author

    OK, well let’s be nice – I really like the show’s styling and font. There are lots of questions. Admittedly there could be more if there was a Brad hosting, but we’ve got Alex Scott who is lovely and enthusiastic but I think it’s fair to say not a natural quiz show host.

    The Tug of War element is not adding anything to be honest, it completely boils down to just who has got the most questions right (and if someone ever gets eight ahead that’s a KO), but the framing makes it extremely hard to read sometimes especially if it’s close. Basically it might work if was a moving floor above a swimming pool or something and they’re scrambling for dear life like in DERO – in daytime not so much.

    I think that sums the show up really – I don’t think there’s much wrong with the content per se, but it feels like everything they could have done in a needlessly awkward fashion they have done. Why is Alex reading out questions at the top of the show with he back to the contestants, only to have to then turn around to have some banter?

    Not sure I see this taking off to be honest. Sorry people who have worked on it that I know!

    1. Oliver R

      A superfluous swimming pool being found in the studio at that hour on this channel once more, following a break of over a quarter of a century, is just what the universe has been crying out for. Alas it’s not to be, it seems.

  12. Mark A

    Just watching the first two episodes on iplayr and… Did they just repeat the first episode Twice?!

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      There are some shows where I can understand having contestants on twice if they lose – an episode of Pointless is only 6-7 questions and a final so they might have just been unlucky. Somebody who loses in a buzzer quiz is unlikely to suddenly be competitive the next episode, I suspect.

      1. David

        I think it might be COVID partly as well nowadays- having players play more than once means fewer people have to be there for any given taping session..

  13. Brekkie

    Yes, using the same contestants is a pet hate of mine and makes it feel like repeat after repeat. It’s why Cash Trapped was so awful IMO, it didn’t help Lightning and I don’t think it’ll help here. Moneybags might get away with it only using 6 of the 10 per show but it still feels like a cost saving measure. Fair play though to Winning Combination for having nine new contestants per show.

    1. Crimsonshade

      I suspect this is to make the show feel more “quickfire” early on; but it is somewhat jarring that the number of questions you answer correctly has no (direct) bearing on your determined value.

      Personally, if I had produced this show, I would have done something like “each question is worth between £10 and £100; correct answers add money to your personal bank based on speed of response; wrong answers add nothing.” You’d get more interesting outcomes as the money totals would be different each time and every question would have at least some value, rather than it being straight-up “number of right answers”. (If anyone remembers the WiiWare game “TV Show King”, that’s exactly the mechanic I’m thinking of.)

  14. Magnus Torkelsen

    Certainly the best BBC daytime format I’ve seen in a while but that wasn’t particularly difficult to do.

    The Fastest Finger First round at the start (for lack of a better name) was too Millionaire Hot Seat-y for my liking, but it feels much more suited to this show than it does to that one.

    Onto the actual show: the graphics – love them. Dramatic, but cheekily so. I like this font, and I like the design of the question graphics. But the head-to-head graphics feel very cheesy. Seemingly, I’m with the majority on that one. Music’s great though, and the set design feels like The Weakest Link mixed with Jerry Springer’s Greed twenty years ago or so. A combination I didn’t know I needed.

    The problem I have with the tug of war minigame is that the interesting parts come when one player’s out in front- will they get a KO or not: when they’re close together it’s not as tense. They’ve invented a mechanism to destroy all the known laws of game shows. Good on them.

    It’s something I’d tune into if there was nothing else on, but I wouldn’t make a point of doing so. I look forward to Moneybags myself. 6/10.

  15. Alex Richards

    Fonts are Rexlia for the logo/clock and Exo for the rest. Both are free. You’re welcome.

  16. Brig Bother Post author

    Wk 1 figs: 0.84/0.71/0.53/0.66/0.85

    A general uplift for everything on Friday I note, but not a great trend otherwise.

  17. Joey Clarke

    Well, The Golden run finally happened and it looked underwhelming.
    Won’t be watching again.

  18. David

    Well I saw the 20 episodes so far (I think there are 30 scheduled)- and here’s some stats for what it’s worth:

    -In terms of rankings after the first round
    1st place-In final 10 times, won 4 times
    2nd place-In final 12 times, won 7 times
    3rd place-In final 5 times, won 3 times
    4th place-In final 4 times, won 2 times
    5th place-In final 1 time, won 1 time
    6th place- In final 5 times, won 2 times
    7th place-In final 2 times, won 1 time
    8th place-In final 1 time, won 0 times

    There have been 39 knockouts-
    28 in the first round matches
    9 in the semi finals
    2 in the final (and the Golden Run has been won both times)

    19 out of 20 episodes have had at least 1 knockout, the most in a episode has been 5.


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