Show Discussion: Puzzling

By | June 21, 2023
Great to see the return of 2021’s HOTTEST host promo trend, the crossed arms, which looked like it was falling out of fashion for a bit.

Thursdays, 8pm, (8:15pm ep1)
Channel 5

Historian host Lucy Worsley invites six people to compete in rounds involving various aspects of puzzle solving (words, maths, lateral thinking, observation, memory – it’s like the Olympics OF THE MIND) starting off as two teams of three and then the winning team competing against each other to find the show’s winner.

Might seem like an unusual commission for Channel 5, but it is the sort of thing that you think might suit its current audience targets (slightly older and upmarket than other channels try for) quite well, they have form here – Eggheads does alright for them, they tried Britain’s Best Brain years and years ago, and what is this if not basically an upmarket version of Brainteaser? The obvious headline here is it’s Channel 5 trying to tap into Only Connect‘s audience, how successful they are at that remains to be seen. I’m hopeful but sceptical.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Puzzling

    1. David Major

      The presenter is more wooden than my wardrobe, and calling these ‘puzzles’ is very tenuous. I won’t be watching episode 2

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    My main issue with this is that I can’t see who it’s for really, what are puzzlers getting here they can’t get elsewhere? The questions are, in the main, neither hard or interesting enough to satisfy the sorts who like Only Connect, and there’s certainly no interesting takeaway even if you’ve got no idea, and neither do they come thick and fast at you like on something like Brainteaser, certainly up until Picture This and the final which changes things up by a) being quite fast and b) throwing ideas about to keep you on your toes. Words and lateral thinking felt interminable, the maths round is people literally talking through mental arithmetic on the television, and I certainly don’t think that igloo question was of a similar difficulty to the others.

    I thought the memory round would ramp up the points by having more connecting words as it went on, but no. I thought the set-up for the final would be a bit more interesting than one point per answer, plus the scores you started with for some reason, but no. Can’t decide if the random team distribution is a smart way to reel in someone too clever or a bit crass.

    Lucy Worsely sounds like Victoria Coren-Mitchell if you squint a bit. The rulebreaker round looked literally like working through a Connecting Wall. I appreciate that the theme sounded A Bit Pet Shop Boys.

    It’s not shouting massive hit, I don’t know who’s going to remember it’s on half the time.

    1. Jonathan

      Also it’s not the main thing but someone needs to answer that the time in the mirror will be the same time as it is not in the mirror, and it will just appear backwards

    2. Ben C

      Yeah the igloo one did stand out in that round as the hard one. I do like the rapid fire rounds (and looks like Reflection has had its revival from 1000 Heartbeats).

  2. Michael S Collins

    I don’t want to sound mean, but any decent ideas in there were obscured by how badly miscast Worsley is. Quizzes live or die on the host.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      And here we are, episode two dropped to 600k. That compares quite badly to what Jersey and Guernsey was getting in the slot previously, which was just over a million overnight.

      It might add loads in catch-up of course.

  3. Oliver

    I’ve grown to quite like this, and quite warmed to Lucy after a rough first episode, but find the calculation and memory rounds much too taxing to do at home so not much fun to watch. I think there’s a reason shows stick with lateral thinking or quiz questions.

    1. Crimsonshade

      I don’t even bother playing along with the calculations round most of the time. The numbers are often too big to wrap my head around, or I just can’t count as fast as the contestants do (and I’m pretty quick at counting).


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