Show Discussion: The Weakest Link

By | December 17, 2021

Saturday, 6:10pm,
BBC1

No your eyes AREN’T deceiving you, The “The” is now officially part of the title again after twenty years in the wilderness, for no discernable reason.

Look, we wanted Judge Rinder to host. But we like Romesh and can understand why they’ve gone for mildly-pissed-off-uncle in this lighter, brighter The Weakest Link reboot, where eight celebrities will quiz and backstab their way to win up to £50,000 for charity.

Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of the rubbish US reboot DNA lurking in here – a poorly considered chain if the advert to go by (although I accept that having a bottom rung 1/30th of the top is quite generous, that’s just as well as you might as well bank after every answer which isn’t very entertaining is it?), having to push a button to bank (ooh the dynamicism) and we still don’t actually know if there’s a big-money two-player round before the head to head which is an absolutely useless format subtraction. And Christ I hope they’re not going to have to reveal who you voted for before the big reveal of who you voted for. And also by Christ please don’t be plodding with the questions, it IS meant to be quickfire.

I know it’s easy to fall into the trap of going “oh this doesn’t matter, it’s all about the comedy.” Except it’s the quiz that drives the comedy. It’s always been the quiz that drives the comedy. Once you’ve taken the piss out of someone’s job and accent, what are you going to take the piss out of when people making mistakes under pressure isn’t there?

Anyway fingers crossed that it’s good but can well believe it might be rubbish. Let us know what you think in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Weakest Link

  1. CliveOfLegend

    Pretty solid, I thought. Some nice aesthetic improvements without most of the American version’s irritating bits. Could do with much shorter questions, and Romesh could honestly stand to get a little bit meaner, but otherwise really fun.

    Reply
  2. Brig Bother Post author

    Just going to repeat a Tweet stream I just did, because I’m lazy and it’s late:

    1) Got to watch Weakest Link earlier and now I am free so I will say: 1) Happy it reverses some of the American “improvements” but 2) still felt like a sort of one-off ‘this’ll do’ charity special, 3) the graphics are *terrible*…

    …would it not have troubled the graphics department to make where they are in the chain a bit more readable, similar to how they might have done, say, 20 years ago? Also the placement of that clock. Urgh, who needs visual symmetry anyway, right?…

    … 4) The chains are pretty bad but they’re OK early on. It says something when over half your money is banked in the first rounds even when the potential later on is greater, but the lower chain values are weaker…

    5) Ultimately it needs to be funnier I think and that probably means less gentle to be honest. Ultimately: it could have been worse, take the damning with faint praise as you will.

    Reply
  3. Mart With An Y Not An I

    Yep. Agree with the clock. It’s almost been put bottom left as an afterthought.
    I thought I would have a problem with Romesh – but actually, he completly won me over after the voting reveal sequence for Round 2, when he made a direct reference for votes to Anton, after, he answered both questions correctly in that round. As the jib camera retreated to the back of the set, he said in a quizzicle voice “Really?”

    Trio of minor niggles from me.
    Not sure on the ‘voice of god’ change to female. I can see the logic, but not sure it fired on all cylinders.
    Would have been nice to have done something to update the theme music, stings and beds.
    It did get tiresome after every answer in the penalty shoot-out, that Romesh said “That is the correct answer” or “The correct answer is”

    Reply
  4. Brig Bother Post author

    4.7m for the opener. Very nice! Although it will be very interesting to see how it does without the Strictly final in future.

    Reply
  5. Brekkie

    Interesting to see in what way you think the chains are bad? For me there are usually rwo ways the show can have a problem which kind of conflict with each other. Either the early amounts are so small barely anything is won, or the jumps just don’t incentivise players to do anything more than bank very frequently, even after every question.

    I only saw the final round and they did terribly but having £250, £500 as the first two stages just felt like it was inviting contestants to bank after every answer. I do think the format might be better if rather than the collective amounts banked only the longest chain counted.

    Reply
  6. Tom F

    The late chains are bad, but the early ones are good. I liked the 5k chain where the first 3 steps go x-2.5x-5x like in the original, that’s the perfect risk/reward IMO. The HUD is really bad, (why do we need that spark effect for a wrong answer?), but I also really hated the old HUD and the red that one used.

    The tone is very different, and I think it has to be for 2021, (you could say the whole reason TWL got displaced by pointless was the tone). It reminds me of playing the board game edition with my family a bit. I think not having an antagonistic host is absolutely fine, and in fact not having the players be sparing with the host gives them more time to talk about the game and each other.

    Romesh reads the questions pretty fast, and does genuinely seem invested in the quiz and earning the money. I liked how he gave someone a dressing-down for hesitating too long. It felt like they really had faith in the format (for good reason!) and really wanted to steer clear from ironically hamming-up the thing people remember it for (in a way that Ayoade-maze didn’t).

    I’m really glad that there’s a £20k duo round, and that does seem enough of a jump to mostly disincentivise tactical voting (which seems in line with the vibe they’re going for). I’m amazed that, given the chain for the £20k round is unique, they show it as £10k then “double” it at the end of the round. The questions in the late game seemed a bit easier than I remember them being, which I think is quite nice. It feels plausible that we could see a max win in the last round.

    I really like the new music, and I like that they kept the stings for before and after the final rules explanation. I don’t think we needed full-sentence answer reveals for every question in the final.

    Reply
  7. Henry R

    I didn’t mind the chains. Nothing stood out to me as being too overblown, especially compared to the US version.

    Romesh started a little slow, but got into it by the end of round 2 and was in full flow by the end. I think he’s very suited to the role and a palate cleanser from Anne.

    Agree about the graphics. The cash ladder is hard to read and the screens they write their choices on was a little fuzzy too.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I’ve long said here that whether by luck or judgement, 4 = 20% as all the old chains did was the thing to aspire to – 90% of the game is played on those rungs, each jump is appreciable. In the latter half of the show 250/500/750/1000 is a pretty terrible chain, no reason not to bank after each question and if you do get a chain of four the money’s not worth shouting about either.

      It’s like saying 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/5,000 for the first half and then going 2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10,000 and going ‘yes this second half is more generous and makes for great telly’.

      Reply
  8. David

    The latest broadcast episode of It’ll Be Alright On The Night which was on ITV last week had a clip from Rolling In It where the coin went in to the “Roll Again” lane if you can believe such a thing is possible.

    Reply
  9. Philip

    It was very interesting to say the list.

    At first, I thought that from what I read that it would be 12 themed episodes as the first three that I saw advertised were The Strictly, Panto and Radio/Podcast Specials, but now that I have seen the 8 episodes that will be airing by the second week of 2022, it’s half themed eps and half eps with various guests with no theme. I don’t know what’s better.
    One thing that I have noticed is that in a way this is, in a way replacement for Celebrity Mastermind, which also taped in 2021 with an extended run of episodes. We have various episodes of Weakest Link leading up to the New Year, but have not seen any news or any episodes of Celebrity Mastermind leading up to or just after the New Year. Could Weakest link be an annual occurence?

    Reply
  10. Greg

    I was pleasantly surprised with this.

    I am not a big fan of Romesh but I thought he did an excellent job here. There has been some awful hosing choices of late but this one really worked for me.

    I also love the new set modern and suits the show well.

    I am also ok with the voiceover.

    However pushing a button to bank seems unnecessary. Just let them say bank. I know they had the button in the US remake but I just don’t think it is needed. I will certainly be watching this again

    Reply
  11. Brig Bother Post author

    I’m more amused that they have the button to bank but don’t use the button to reveal their vote… like they used to twenty years ago.

    Reply
  12. Philip

    I just found out that the new “Voice of God”, as it is referred to on this thread is none other than Julie Hesmondhalgh, who is best known for her role as Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street. That is pretty interesting

    Reply
    1. Simon F

      Her voice is quite distinctive. I picked up pretty quickly who it was without having seen anything about who was doing the voiceover beforehand

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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