I’d have loved to have seen this live myself and it’s filming in Salford all this week and some of next, but I can’t. Happily there are people who can be my eyes and ears, and today we have the lovely John Round who went to this afternoon’s first session and has told us all about it.
- Been a while since I’ve done this! But that’s the reality of everything getting shot in London, so when something new and Salford based turns up I’ll try and jump on it. (See what I did there…)
- I ended up spending the day with a very nice gentleman who I got chatting to in the queue who it turns out has been to pretty much every TV audience for every TV show ever!
- Expecting a radical change of design perhaps based on our international friends? Think again, although the Dream Factory is now a sort of mash up of the classic, Tron, The Chase and perhaps even Blockbusters (yeah I have no idea how this will look on TV but obviously it’s got lots of fancy lights that can change between Blue and Red), also the boxes whilst looking somewhat familiar seemed to have had a slight makeover inspired by a set designer who had obviously received far too many Ferrero Rocher over Christmas.
- Audience capacity quite intimate a bit like the original Dream Factory setup, perhaps 200 maximum? (Probably a good thing as there was by no means a crazy Gladiator style queue waiting to get in, in fact I would be surprised if anyone had got turned away in the end)
- Any long term fans of the show should know who was going to be on warm up duties, of course it was the one and only Mark Olver! He’s always good value and seemed right back at home resuming his 3,000 odd show streak
- Stephen Mulhern was also basically exactly as you would expect Stephen Mulhern to be, he just wanted the contestants to try and win as much money as possible but made sure they took their time before deciding to say ‘Deal’ or ‘No Deal’, was also more than happy to take some selfies with several audience super fans so that was nice
- The contestants are all strangers and only met up the night before, but they remain constant between the episodes and a newbie is introduced to replace the previous player – so essentially it’s just like the old days and it seems as if the selected player genuinely doesn’t know they’re going to be the player for the day until they are chosen.
- Before the game kicks off on camera there’s the usual box of boxes wheeled out and allocated via balls in a bag business, the same IA from Channel 4 is present to oversee proceedings
- Stephen does the intro bits and then a player is selected who makes their way to the table and attempts not to crash into the chair whilst doing so
- So far, so good…this is just classic DOND with a lick of paint and a presenter with significantly less facial hair!
- INTRODUCE THE GAME BOARD!
- Oh…they won’t be winning a quarter of a million quid then…the top prize has been slashed to £100,000 and as a result the red side of the board has been brutally altered, £1,000 – £2,000 – £3,000 – £4,000 – £5,000 – £7,500 – £10,000 – £25,000 – £50,000 – £75,000 – £100,000
- I guess that answers the question of which slot this is intended for.
- We learn a bit about the contestant, their family or mate in the audience is strategically shuffled around to be behind them and we have a little chat with them, then Stephen takes care of the usual housekeeping and we’re off!
- Usual 5 box opening before the dreaded call from The Banker, who made several audience members jump when he decided to ring!
- Although there is no ‘guess the offer’ and/or ‘offer button’ revival
- The Banker and Stephen have a bit of banter, the audience could hear him to a certain extent which I think they were trying to turn down a bit as the recording day went on.
- Eventually an offer is presented to the contestant who deliberates for a bit then Stephen poses the question, again pretty much business as usual.
- Next round is 3 boxes, they shove a cut to the ad break in around here.
- Bla bla bla, you know how the rest of DOND works…
- Well until you get to 3 box and The Banker decides to telephone with an offer! At first I thought this was just a one off but it seems this is a permanent fixture so make of that what you will!
- The game eventually gets wrapped up, Box 23 nowhere to be seen and Stephen invites us to tune in again ‘tomorrow’.
- We got to see 2 games being recorded, the first was a bit of a drag but they seemed to have fine tuned things a bit by the second and we got out of the studio by around 6pm.
- Overall I ended up leaving having enjoyed proceedings but feeling somewhat ‘meh’ about the reduced money format as it naturally affects the offers somewhat (hard to write too much else without spoiling games), it felt a bit like how The £1m Drop turned into The £100k Drop.
- They’re filming a lot more so with the bonus clues above surely it’s destined for the daytime slot although perhaps a few primetime celebrity specials will appear.
Thanks John. Really dislike the lack of quarter million, The outsize box lends a certain gravity to the offers throughout the show which I think this may well end up lacking and the big boxes are too evenly spaced out for interesting texture, also “who is going to be our one-tenth millionaire?” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it? It all feels a bit “daily Netherlands”.
I can live with the three-box offer, although I think it downplays the genius of the 5-to-2 round which was a properly hard decision and moment of tension the original provided. I am relatively happy with the otherwise played straightness of proceedings as neither the button or Box 23 were any good.
I’m not jumping for joy, but we’ll see how it comes across on television. Thanks!