Show Discussion: The Finish Line

By | August 20, 2023

Weekdays, 4:30pm

New quiz from the makers of The Chase, contestants try and win up to £5,000 in a quiz version of those donkey-derby machines you get in funfairs (you know the sort, where you roll the ball in the hole and your donkey goes along a track) only this time the contestants are in chariots and you have to get questions right to propel yourself forward. Hopefully they’ve nailed the kinetic energy.

Really lovely idea (also crucially, easy to explain to others as “that show with the moving chairs”) – hopefully there’s little a bit more to it than one correct answer = one space but perhaps that’ll be enough, who knows. Capital Radio breakfast show and Broman‘s voiceover Roman Kemp is a new face for quizzing, although it sounds like Saturday morning legend Sarah Greene will be asking the questions.

We pointed out ages ago that it’s basically the *exact opposite* of Andi Peters chair-a-thon Ejector Seat which was a neat idea that didn’t quite nail the execution. Fingers crossed this will nail the execution.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

25 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Finish Line

  1. Alex B

    This has The Chase blood so should be somewhat decent – Sarah Greene’s a trusted broadcaster/presenter though as the ‘sidekick’ and with Roman taking his first host role, time will tell as to whether those roles are better reversed.

    FWIW, I enjoyed Ejector Seat (having said that, though, I was only 9 when it aired and I just enjoyed the chairs tipping backwards, not a clue who Andi Peters) – naturally I’ll be comparing this to that.

    Also, this is a small thing but I’m glad there’s a clear jackpot for the show that’s been identified (£5000) – it gives the show a bit of cleanliness to it and it seemingly won’t be giving out whatever every show (*cough* The Tournament, *cough* Unbeatable).

    I’m going in with hopes for at least a 7/10 show.

  2. Alex B

    That felt very Potato.

    The show struck me as a combo of Winning Combination with the fast-paced questions, Ejector Seat with the head-to-head round and Rebound with the final round.

    Roman surprised me with his hosting abilities and I think him and Sarah work quite well together. I really like the way their duties are somewhat split; Roman oversees the game as a whole, asks questions for the main game and handles the ‘tell us about you’ bits, whilst Sarah does a fine job at explaining the rules for each round and feels like the head of the puzzle rounds to determine which line each contestant goes in.

    It’s refreshing to have an all-or-nothing BBC daytime quiz show for once. That final, though – if they’re not showing a winner in show one that doesn’t fill me with great hope for lots of wins across the series.

    6.5/10 – decent format; will please fans of Lots Of Questions though I’d have it down as ‘if nothing else is on’ TV.

    1. Brekkie

      Sarah’s role feels a bit Pointless, in both senses. Roman Kemp was very good – more seasoned hosts have come unstuck in a quiz show role.

      Thought it was too heavy on the “qualifiers” at the expense of the main crux of the show. The final round of beating the floir is something we’ve seen on a few shows lately, and the choice of first episode indicates how most will pan out.

  3. Clive

    Aw, I really wanted to like this more than I did.

    Lovely set, question writing used the pairs round’s scope for gag answers well, but utterly devoid of urgency or tension. And yeah, for a show all about races, it spent far too much time faffing about with seeding and not enough on actually racing. I don’t the idea of a sort of reverse chess clock quiz is reverse merit, but it needs something else to push it beyond “fine if I’m really bored”.

    1. Oliver

      Feel exactly the same – I wanted to like it more than I did. It was fine, fun to play along with, but pretty unremarkable and the qualifying really dragged on, especially at the start.

      I really liked Ejector Seat back in the day and thought it was much better executed.

      1. Oliver

        Also, there was something generally off about the pacing but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. The show just felt slow despite having plenty of questions and content to fill an hour.

  4. Daniel

    I think the format has a whole lot of potential to do well but i didn’t understand why the podiums kept moving while Roman was giving questions to the other contestants how i think it should work is when someone get’s a question right they should say in play till they get a question incorrect then move onto the next contestant not keep them moving forward while other contestants are answering their questions bit unfair suppose the point of the qualifiers is the person that does the best goes first and has an advantage over the others because they get asked the first question so in away i can see the point but think the format needs adjusting slightly to make it work also didn’t see the point of having several intro chats with the contestants we only need to know about each contestant once not after every round so yeah the waffling was getting on a bit. The First qualifier was a bit like In With A Shout naming the pictures or even Picture Slam even though that show hasn’t aired yet! Nice to see the BBC trying out something different was a refreshing change to ITV shows like The Chase and Tipping Point! Think the show is more suited for prime-time tv or a later slot the set design screams saturday night but the format is defo a daytime style it’s no ejector seat but would watch again. Come on BBC let us see Picture Slam your copycat version of ITV’s In With A Shout we’ll be the judge of that then!

  5. Josh Reid

    It’s definitely a nice show. I think it struggled with pacing a bit and it felt repetitive at places with the qualification round taking up a good chunk of the show. An issue with the final round is that there isn’t much room to improve if you’re right behind the red bar (as shown on today’s show) because they’re running at the same speed and not one slightly faster/slower than the other.

    Lovely soundtrack and studio though and kudos to whoever got Roman to do #HostHoldingAQuestionCard even though they don’t use question cards in the show!

  6. Brig Bother Post author

    This really was the exact opposite of Ejector Seat to the point where the winners should have been catapulted into Sarah’s desk when they reached the Finish Line. I think similar to EJ it’s just not aggressive enough – you go to a funfair, the donkey derby’s fun and exciting, here I wasn’t entirely sure if standing behind a moving desk was more exciting and entertaining than standing behind a stationary one and that’s a real problem, if a show with this sort of mechanic isn’t crying out for you to want to have a go it’s failed a bit, and after one episode the jury’s out – I think the whole thing could do with a bit more manic energy throughout, if there’s a show that demands something a bit less Tron in its set and soundtrack it’s this one!

    I don’t think starting off with such a lengthy qualifier helps it – I understand why it’s there, but if there’s one show where you ought to be getting to the main attraction as quickly as possible it’s this one – the first race doesn’t start until 12m 45s in – there’s delayed gratification and there’s putting off your audience, especially when the payoff isn’t quite worth the price of admission. I think the races are OK, I certainly wouldn’t say “thrilling”, it’s less donkey derby and more watching some sailboats slowly come in.

    It looks the final is calibrated for about one winner a week – it looks like you get a 25 second start so my gut says you’ll need to get 10-12 correct before you get five wrong which feels tough but doable. Visually it might look a bit better if you could “pull away” from the line although I don’t know how the maths would work out for that. You’d think they’d open the series with something a bit closer.

    Roman was good, Sarah felt a bit unnecessary to be honest, which is quite sad.

    I will happily watch another to confirm my feelings, but it’s not shouting “afternoon treat off” quite yet.

  7. Brig Bother Post author

    Perhaps they should start with a buzzer quiz, questions rotating 1, 2 and 3 steps down the track with the Finish Line at 9 points.

    If you’re thinking ‘isn’t that just the first round of Questions Pour Un Champion?’ award yourself a Shiny. It would feel a bit more Donkey Derby though!

  8. Brekkie

    It’s the sort of series where I hope it gets a second series to iron out some of the issues. I thought at first the opening qualifier was something there that could be cut for the show to go into 30 minute repeats, but then they did it again and again rather than just ranking each round based on the result of the previous round. The trouble is you cut the qualifiers and you need to pad it much more – and I thought the contestant chatter here was about right. Perhaps the main races could get away with being 50% longer or so, but without it getting too repetitive I’m not sure how you fix it other than shortening the show.

    It does at least look like they’ll have a new set of contestants every day. Too many BBC shows lately rely on bringing people back day after day.

  9. Chris

    I love that the podiums just keep moving whilst the other players answer – it puts pressure to answer quickly. I feel they could expand the races to be a series of races with first over the line each time going through and the rest resetting; would remove the lengthy process of qualification. It’s as if the show starts all over again each round.

    I don’t mind the presenting style. The Finale needs revisiting. Since the podiums move the same pace as the “red area” then it’s just a game of don’t get x number of questions wrong. It would be nice if the podiums sped up non-linearly, resetting to a bare pace for a wrong answer. It would provide more of a dynamic “race”.

  10. Stephen

    I spent the whole time thinking Roman was standing very close to the contestants during the qualifiers – it looks like he’s got a podium behind him that’s he decided to stand in front of? That said, were I on The Finish Line I’d be standing as close as possible to him! Sarah didn’t get much to do, but is better being in the room than as a faceless voice – this isn’t a Xander/Richard pairing for the ages, but they get to bounce off each other to lend a bit of comfy humanity to the show.

    I found the finale to be surprisingly tense, with the creeping red catching up – not that we got to enjoy that tension for too long. The questions were decent, well delivered and the qualifying rounds added nice levels of variety.

    Having recently rewatched Ant & Dec’s SNT sabotage of The Chase, I can’t help but feel that the moving podiums would be ripe for sending haywire, though there’s probably more likely to be a blooper reel of them failing to move at all.

  11. Brig Bother Post author

    Watching the second one live would not be disappointed if this got a second chance – I think Roman is really good, really natural with the contestants, I don’t know if I’d call the races exciting, but when it comes down to one question being answered incorrectly it can be quite tense.

    Probably would have led with episode two, really.

    1. Daniel

      I thought episode two was better than episode one. Loved Cornelius he was really fun character up for a laugh about the fact that he looks like David Attenborough, finally i’m getting the gist of the format after episode two always takes a bit of time to get the hang of what’s going on when they bring new shows out but surprisingly i’m beginning to enjoy the show more now and I now kind of understand why the podiums keep moving while other contestants are asked a question to make them hurry up putting the pressure on to make the other contestants trip up to stop them in their tracks to get to the end. Such a tense final today too you have to be so so quick to beat that red thing i think the red thing should go a touch slower giving the contestant that get’s to the end at least another 2 seconds to breath bit tight on the amount of seconds they give before the red thing catches up. Can see them doing celeb versions of this and i’d be more than up for them making a second series, fairly decent show! Glad they scrapped The Tournament with Alex Scott that was totally rubbish only lasted half an episode before i had to switch off was so boring. BBC’s best performing daytime show is Bridge Of Lies that’s the show that get’s talked about the most with this being a close second look forward to more Finish Line tomorrow 🙂

  12. Brig Bother Post author

    Can you interrupt a question midrace (when not on the buzzer)? I wonder how much of a strategy it is to do a Hail Mary and pass after one word if you’re last and the next person is eight seconds away from finishing in the hope they get it wrong. Obviously there is no point doing this whilst in front.

  13. Joseph H Clarke

    This show is good and the music is epic.

    The issues I have are the overhaul of the Qualifying rounds. (They could have just used one qualifier at the start with six contestants and the worst performance goes home straight away)
    It’s rinse and repeat twice after the first round proper when the order of play should be decided on who finished where.
    The Final round should have had some smaller cash prizes for a head start ahead of the track. (E.G £1,000 if you go for a 50% head start or £3,000 if you start ahead of the other four podiums)
    Or if they were going with an All or Nothing approach, they could have made the five grand rollover to the next show. (E.G. £25,000 if the Jackpot isn’t won four shows in a row)

    I give this 7.2/10 as it’s decent but it has issues to fix if it gets recommissioned.

    And if it does get recommissioned, hopefully Nice One Productions doesn’t butcher it like they did with Lightning by getting rid of the Physical round.

  14. Francis Kuo Lei Chu

    With Sarah Greene there I would like to see a question on Ghostwatch pop up!

  15. Andrew Hain

    Now that a full episode has aired, what’s the complete format rundown?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Five contestants begin, they play a qualifying round where one by one they come up and identify five pictures as quickly as possible, the contestants are arranged on podiums according to how quickly they completed their qualifier.

      When the race starts, questions will be asked in turn from Lane 1 (fastest qualifer) to Lane 5 (slowest qualifer). A correct answer and your podium starts moving down the track and will continue until you face your next question, a wrong answer and your podium stops. It takes about a minute to reach The Finish Line and the round ends when all but one player has reached it, the last player is eliminated.

      Repeat twice, the second qualifer is basically hangman, the third identifying correct pairs.

      The head-to-head is racing on the buzzer, a correct answer and your podium starts moving, a wrong answer stops you and starts your opponent.

      The final has you racing against the track – questions are fired at you and as long as you get them right you keep moving, but a red line on about a 20 second delay moves down the track and if it overtakes you you lose, but if you get to the Finish Line, you win £5,000.

  16. Greg

    I wanted to watch a few episodes before commenting.

    I agree with everything that has been said thus far. Especially about the pacing and the endgame.

    It also baffles me contestants are passing quickly when they are moving. You should absolutely be waiting to be timed out to get every second of movement you can. It’s almost as annoying as contestants not banking answers they know are right on Bridge of Lies.

    It’s not essential viewing by any means, but if I’m in I might watch it.

  17. Brig Bother Post author

    This has increased its audience daily across the week, up to 1.04m on Friday. Everyone will be happy with that, especially if it keeps that direction of travel although next week it faces ‘proper’ Tipping Point.

    This seems to be one of the few cases of hammocking actually working, people increasingly sticking with BBC1 after The Repair Shop.

  18. Oliver

    Having watched a few more episodes on iPlayer, it’s an OK format elevated by Roman, who is very affable and generally a great fit for this sort of lightweight talky daytime game show. I like Sarah Greene too.

    It’s generally a really easy, pleasant watch in a way few shows are, so this might actually have some legs.

  19. Crimsonshade

    Here’s a random question I’m wondering if anyone can help me settle: In Series 2, it appears the podiums always start at the start of the track in every round. However, I seem to recall this wasn’t the case in series one. If I recall correctly, during the head-to-head round, didn’t the contestant podiums originally start slightly forward of the start line, offset from the inactive podiums?

    (As an aside, I’ve also noticed that in Series 2, inactive podiums during a round get lit in purple around their edges, whereas in the first series the podiums were actually switched off entirely. This probably changed because it made those podiums look they were lit grey, which isn’t very visually appealing.)


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