Show Discussion: Jeopardy UK

By | December 29, 2023

Monday 1st Jan 5:45pm, weekdays 4pm after

For years and years and years nerds up and down the country have gone “we want a UK version of Jeopardy!” something that’s been done three times in the past now already and I for one am glad it’s finally happening so people might shut up about it.

I don’t hate Jeopardy, not at all, but having banged the drum for “it won’t work” for years and years it would be remiss for me to change now. So here’s a list of things I think are going to annoy the ITV1 afternoon audience:

  • ‘Answer’ and question. It’s just stupid.
  • Jeopardy is played for thousands and thousands of dollars in the US. The top value questions here are going to be £150/300. But at least it’s a real stake and not points. Someone might lose, I don’t know, £500 on a Daily Double.
  • Contestants bouncing around the middle section of categories Daily Double hunting like they’re Jeopardy professionals or something? Irritating to the average viewer in the US, come and meet ITV1’s audience!
  • Smugness of host and clue writing? Come and meet ITV1’s audience!
  • This is going to to be Single/Single/Double/Final, effectively 1.5x the material of the US show, but with about 2.3x the running time. Irritating pacing!

In the positive column, Stephen Fry’s a proper get and I know at least some of the clue writers and they’re talented. Also I was very wrong about the prospects of the Deal or No Deal reboot and look how that turned out. I can’t wait to see how it all goes down, they’ve given it a proper push, saving it from a planned October launch with the berthing on New Year’s Day. Let us know what you think in the comments.

53 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Jeopardy UK

  1. Brekkie

    The promo makes the show look so dreadfully dull even BBC4 passed upon it.

    1. Daniel

      Agreed the trailer doesn’t look very inviting whatsoever. well i’ll watch Episode 1 this evening and see what i think might be one of them shows you watch and get bored after 10/15 minutes i’ve done that with a few shows such as Popmaster on More4 and The Tornament on BBC1 watched the first part and never lasted a single episode without falling asleep.

      1. Brekkie

        Yes, the sleep test is a good way to judge.

        Just to note no real format tweaks for Riddiculous but they’ve knocked the prize money down which takes a couple of grand off the potential maximum winnings.

        1. Daniel

          Went out so only watched half of Riddiculous today sort of a hit or miss show for me. If i’m home i’ll watch not sure i’d catch up though if i missed it whereas with Deal Or No Deal i had to watch everyday it was my daily fix. Not long to go till Jeopardy Episode 1!

        2. Crimsonshade

          For a show to fail the sleep test for ME, a genuine insomniac, is a sign it probably should never have gotten greenlit in the first place. I’ve watched many TV programs that I’ve felt tedious, but to date only two have actually managed to send me to sleep while watching them: Face The Clock and Take on the Twisters.

  2. Henry R

    It’s far too smart for ITV daytime. As a quizzer, I’m enjoying it. But the family members I’m staying with for New Year just aren’t getting it.

    It doesn’t help that it feels so incredibly dry it makes Only Connect and Mastermind feel like The Wheel.

    Ken Jennings has the right balance of hosting and giving tidbits. Stephen feels like he’s trying to hard to layer each question with additional info.

  3. Daniel

    My opinion – The theme tune sounds like a rip off of the nursery rhyme pop goes the weasel and the contestant names on the podium is like a school child has wrote them. I find it very weird that they saved the intros for after the first round usually every quiz show starts by introducing the contestants and telling us a bit about themselves here they have left it till 15 minutes into the program which i’m not sure about. The show itself is fast paced and feels quite complex and the clues are difficult meaning we haven’t really got time to think before the answer is revealed the whole thing just felt dreary and not very entertaining didn’t grab my attention enough. would i watch again ? If it was on in the background yes but i wouldn’t bother wasting an hour if i missed it. Bring back Deal Or No Deal!

  4. Oliver

    It’s Jeopardy!*

    Sadly, as expected, it’s too slow. Stretching the format to an hour kills the momentum and Fry isn’t quick enough delivering the clues, which is pretty much what I expected. A rapid fire quiz without the rapid fire is just a dull, slow quiz. Exact same issue killed the 15-1 reboot. If they need to pad it out, extend the surprisingly short talky bits and speed the rest up.

    Have a few other nitpicks, but all easily fixed if it continues. They need to explain the categories as they are shown rather than as they are chosen.. The FJ wager editing without the ad break doesn’t work – they should cut to a promo or something. Some of the questions felt a bit long-winded. The question difficulty was in the right ballpark but felt a little in the easy side – probably in part because of Fry’s slower delivery. Some of the timing of the editing felt slightly off when it switched to the contestants. But, all in all, nitpicks.

    Otherwise, it’s a faithful adaptation of Jeopardy! – if anything, perhaps too faithful.

    It also gets bonus points for probably having the brainiest contestants in on an ITV show in decades, let alone ITV daytime. It’s not been turned into Tipping Point. I do wonder if the audience would rather watch Tipping Point, though.

    Anyone know how much can they bet in a daily double if they are low on cash?

    * You can tell it’s Jeopardy because Little Women was an answer

    1. Another Oliver

      Thought I heard Fry say at one point that contestants can bet as little as a tenner when they land on a Daily Double.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Basically, if you have little money you can bet more than you have up to the maximum on the board, but you can’t be in the red by the end of Double Jeopardy or you won’t be allowed to compete in Final Jeopardy.

    2. Oliver

      Having watched most of the episodes, I still agree with my first impression and think the pacing issue is crucial.

      I’ve warmed to Stephen’s delivering extra facts and it doesn’t need to be as fast as US Jeopardy, which is arguably a little too quick these days, but it needs to feel a little less slow to inject some momentum and energy into the whole proceedings.

      I just wish I could suggest a simple solution. I don’t think adding a fourth board is it, playing two games per episode would make it too quick (and not cost effective), and ITV isn’t compressing it to 30 minutes. I think the best solution would be to add an extra couple of categories of the board, and maybe add an extra value? You’d have to change the set and graphics but an extra 10-18 clues per board (30-48 extra clues across the episode at 15 seconds each is an extra 7.5-12 minutes) would go a lot way without fundamentally changing the show or breaking the prize money bank.

  5. Brekkie

    It is as dull as I expected and the answer/question format is more riddiculous than a 3pm quiz show. That said though I thought Stephen Fry hosted it well and I thought the pacing was fine – think it’s 91 questions across the hour which is very good going.

    It was the poor production that baffled me – just nothing distinctive about it from the theme to the set and then pretty much silence throughout. I know it might wake the audience up but baffling not to have a buzzer sound for an on the buzzer quiz.

    The core format makes no sense either – when all questions are answered on the board anyway and virtually all questions are open to all contestants it really makes no tactical sense for contestants to have to pick the next question to take other than the slim chance they might land on a double.

    And nowadays we’re so used to the winner having to play an endgame just finishing off with the head to head final round, which should be the most exciting point of the show but somehow felt like the dullest, it felt like the show had something of a rushed ending.

  6. Mark A

    I always thought the theme tune sounded more like “I’m a little teapot” myself.

    Pretty faithful adaptation of the American original, although personally I would’ve made it 25-50-75-100-125 and make it single-double-triple with 1-2-3 daily doubles respectively.

    I liked it and Stephen Fry is perfect for the slower pace they are going for. I’m sure if this gets recommissioned they will iron out some of the issues mentioned here already (even if they didn’t bother me very much).

    1. Crimsonshade

      Funnily, I mentioned to my mother while the show was on air about how the theme tune originated as a lullaby, and my exact words were, “….which you can kind of tell by the end beat, since it sounds very much like ‘tip me up and pour me out'”.

  7. JohnH

    Honestly, if there was ever a dictionary definition for the phrase ‘Lost In Translation’ it’s Jeopardy. A subversion of the quiz show format that has endured for 60 years in US, and UK viewers can’t last 60 minutes without groaning and sneering!
    No wonder we are where we are!
    It did seem a little slow, but you have to remember that the subversion of answers responded by questions is it’s USP. I bet even in the early days, there were a few teething troubles.
    Also, just in case you haven’t got it yet, the Jeopardy is in the test of risk vs reward, which makes it all the more unique as you’re putting your faith in your own knowledge. Confused? Wait til you see when someone on zero gives a wrong response…

  8. Alex

    I quite enjoyed it and would argue the show kept itself to a relatively speedy pace and wasn’t slow like some primetime BBC gameshows that host 7 celebrities every episode.

    Stephen seemed a good host and I’d argue his wit, genuine interest in the players and anecdotes/extra facts of his own added some good value to proceedings. I also really liked the ambiguity and obscurity within the category names (taken from the US show surely).

    I think where the main problem of the show lies is whether a viewer goes into UK Jeopardy with (or without) interest/knowledge/appreciation of the highly popular American format that essentially serves as a foundation for the British show.
    – For a viewer who appreciates the American version, it’s expected they’ll enjoy the format, appreciate ITV’s faithfulness to it and see it as a cosy British equivalent to watch at 4pm on a weekday
    – For a viewer who has no interest in the American version and hasn’t heard of J! full stop, I think they might just see the show as a bit of a bore and a bit dull (which is what I’ve inferred from some tweets).

    I’ll give the show a 7.5/10 and will certainly be giving it a watch tomorrow. Also, the winner banked a good amount of money against the show’s budget (think 4pm ITV daytime and Tipping Point levels, in fact the winner ended up with a figure often higher than a non-jackpot win on TP).

  9. Alex

    I’ve done the maths and the theoretical maximum is as follows (assuming one player plays a pErFeCt game and the Daily Doubles replace 1x£150 for each of the SJ rounds and 2x£300 for DJ):

    – Single Jeopardy #1 and #2: if one player dominates and leaves a £150 Daily Double until last then that’s £2250 until they reach the DD and with that wagered and a correct responses means + £2250, so £4500 (x2), meaning a maximum of £9000 for the first two rounds

    – Double Jeopardy: if one player dominates and leaves two £300 Daily Double until last then that’s £4200 until they reach the two DDs and with two correct responses and wagering the lot means (£4200 x 2 x 2) a theoretical maximum of £16,800 for this round. Added to Single Jeopardy bank, that’s £25,800.

    – Final Jeopardy: wagering your whole bank and giving a correct reponse means the most one could bank with at the end of the show is £51,600.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      No you have worked it out wrong, scores and potential bets are cumulative from board to board, the top theoretical prize is well over £100k.

  10. Daniel

    I will be curious to see the overnight figure for Ep1. Guess at 1.5M for today down to 1M by tomorrow.

  11. Brig Bother Post author

    Oh my god this was *such* a drag, that’s what kills it for me more than anything else, the other reasons I can learn to get over but the clues feeling longer and Fry’s reading of them being so glacial kills it for me. It’s the pacing. By the time the UK one finishes its second board, the US one has completed its entire show five minutes ago. It’s also a shame there’s nothing to cover the awkward bit where they write their wagers the US one has a break, the old UK ones advertised it’s grand prize or application address. Not a big thing, but awkward. Perhaps use the time to explain only the winner takes home their money and comes back tomorrow so the strategy is important.

    I haven’t read your other comments before writing this, I expect if you were predisposed to like this you liked it, I don’t think it’s going to make many new converts.

    There is almost no point in trying to gauge how well it’s doing from Monday’s out-of-slot number, we’ll have an idea by Friday, I can’t see people freely joining in late pre-The Chase in the same way Deal or No Deal did, but you never know.

  12. Brig Bother Post author

    2.2m for first ep Jeopardy, difficult to know what to make of that really – if it gets that at 4pm that’s very successful, at 5:45pm not really so much, and also it’s a Bank Holiday. I don’t know the breakdown so don’t know if it grew out of The Chase or what.

    Edit: I’m told fairly steady across hour, but did drop from 2.4 The Chase got. Edit Edit: although I’ve seen another source with 2.1 for TC, so dunno.

  13. Andrew Sullivan

    My back-of-a-napkin maths has the theoretical maximum as £141,600, if the Daily Doubles are in the right places.

    6x £25 = £150
    6x £50 = £300 (£450 total)
    6x £75 = £450 (£900 total)
    6x £100 = £600 (£1,500 total)
    5x £150 = £750 (£2,250 total)
    TDD on the last clue to double to £4,500

    Add another £2,250 for 29 clues on the second board for another £2,250 (£6.750 total)
    TDD on the last clue to double to £13,500

    6x £50 = £300 (£13,800 total)
    6x £100 = £600 (£14,400 total)
    6x £150 = £900 (£15,300 total)
    6x £200 = £1,200 (£16,500 total)
    4x £300 = £1,200 (£17,700 total)
    TDD on the final 2 clues to double to £35,400 and again to £70,800

    Wager everything on Final to double to £141,600

    1. Andrew Sullivan

      Now for my thoughts on the show itself after 2 episodes. Personally, I’m enjoying it and so is my mum. She found the ‘response as a question’ part of the show quite easy to pick up, but then again, I have often put some episodes on my phone to watch on long coach trips, so she has a little grounding on how the game is played. At the moment, I have Jeopardy Masters, the 2022 Tournament of Champions final games and a batch of 5 episodes that I found on YouTube once.

      I LOVE that they managed to get the actual theme tune, sound effects and the iconic music sting for Final Jeopardy as well as the set, graphics and clue font as similar as they could to the US version. OK, the guy at the start who says the opening monologue is no Johnny Gilbert, but he’s not at all bad. I don’t mind Stephen as host all that much as he does get on with the game fairly quickly and his little asides about the correct responses don’t get that annoying to me either. It might for other people, so of course, your mileage may vary.

      To answer Daniel’s question in an earlier comment about why they introduce the players after the first board is finished, it’s kinda how they do it on the US one. Once they get a few clues into the Single Jeopardy board, they cut to their first commercial, then interview each contestant for a short moment and get right back into the game. And the reason for the names on the podiums looking how they are is because the contestants ARE writing their own names on them.

      I’ll take interest in seeing some of the more quirky categories in the coming shows should they arise. Overall, I’m enjoying it.

      1. Brekkie

        I think it’s increasingly common now for just a short intro at the beginning and then longer discussion with the contestants later in the show. That way you avoid it taking 5-10 minutes to actually start the game.

    2. Josh Woo

      Right idea, but the Daily Doubles need to be in the top row (i.e., where the cash is the lowest). The American show has put one in the top row before but never all three in the top row. But with that in mind, the math would be adjusted as follows:

      5x £25 = £125
      6x £50 = £300 (£425 total)
      6x £75 = £450 (£875 total)
      6x £100 = £600 (£1,475 total)
      6x £150 = £900 (£2,375 total)
      TDD on last top row clue doubles to £4,750.

      Second round: £4750 from round 1 + another £2375 = £7125. TDD on last clue in top row doubles to £14,250.

      Double Jeopardy: Both Daily Doubles need to be in the £50 row, so…
      4x £50 = £200 (£14,450 total)
      6x £100 = £600 (£15,050 total)
      6x £150 = £900 (£15,950 total)
      6x £200 = £1,200 (£17,150 total)
      6x £300 = £1,800 (£18,950 total)
      Back-to-back TDDs = £18,950 x 4 = £75,800.

      Wager everything on Final to double up to £151,600.

      1. Andrew Sullivan

        Yes, you’re quite right. Your maths makes much more sense. OK, it’s a £10k disparity, but it makes all the difference 😀

  14. Greg

    I just knew I was going to be in the minority but I really enjoyed it.

    Is it perfect no, but neither was the Deal reboot in the same slot and I enjoyed that. I really think this will pull similar numbers.

    One thing I was shocked by, my mam really likes it. She is not into quiz shows and happened to catch it while I was making the new year day tea, id left the TV on. Came back in and she said oh I am really enjoying this when is it usually on so I can watch it again. Sure enough 10 to 4 today she comes in to the room where I’m working. Jeopardy is coming on she excitedly claimed. Never seen this kind of reaction for anything other than Vera (we are in Newcastle) so this was a real surprise.

    The pacing for her is just right she can hear a clue and has time to think of the answer and was playing along.

    Questions are quite a mixed bag which I like. 70s food came up and we said bet Black Forest gateau and Fondue come up but then others have been a bit more on the obscure side which give a nice variety.

    Fry is quite frankly excellent and makes this show. He can do great contestant chatter, confidently reads the clues and is fair when contestants buzz in and it’s almost right really excellent pick of host.

    However for the negative. It suffers the same thing deal does. The amounts are not quite right. I feel contestants are not really able to pull far away if they are getting question after question and the low amounts make the daily doubles far less exciting.

    I will absolutely be back for the whole series ( as will my mam)

  15. Brig Bother Post author

    > I feel contestants are not really able to pull far away if they are getting question after question

    Amusingly it should be *easier*, if the US one is effectively 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, the UK one is 1, 2, 3, 4, 6.

  16. Brig Bother Post author

    1.7m for Tuesday Jep in its natural 4pm slot, a bit less than what you’d expect Tipping Point to do but not a disaster by any means. One number not a trend, we’ll have a better idea by the end of the week.

    1. Daniel

      I have a feeling it will drop further people will eventually get fed up there is no chance 1.7M people can last through 20 episodes. 1.3M will be it’s peak i reckon. It will get to Riddiculous level eventually

  17. Alex

    I think the one thing that could boost Jeopardy’s ratings is a long-time champion but not only that – someone who is consistently clearing the opposition with ease and generating high amounts of money. When you see people such as James Holzhaeur in the States who last 32 shows and, in one particular show, banked $131,127 on one show. For the ITV show and providing the £ stays the same, that’s the equivalent of lasting 10-15 shows and banking around £10-£15k in one show.

    It’s a show with potential for media attention if something like that happens. Important to remember we’re only two shows in.

    I’m vouching for a second series as it looks fun to play and I haven’t been too shabby (and, quite interestingly ;), have got both Final Jeopardy questions correct so far). If Alphabetical can get a recommission, I hope this can too.

    1. Oliver

      I agree a long-term champion could help – but the questions are a bit too easy and the standard of contestant is too high to allow for someone to win consistently. Games are going to largely end up as buzzer races since the contestants will be able to answer 90%+ of the questions correctly

      1. Brekkie

        I actually think that could hurt it – it’ll get boring seeing the same person dominating every day.

        It did hold it’s audience from Tuesday to Wednesday so we’ll see how it pans out. It still sticks out like a sore thumb in ITV daytime but perhaps that is what will find it an audience rather than lose viewers.

  18. Brett Linforth

    Well, I’m two and a quarter episodes in and I’m enjoying it, frankly. It’s certainly the UK’s most respectful version – similar set, identical music cues and, though understandably lower, real money up for grabs as opposed to the flat £500 prize previously offered. Stephen Fry is predictably excellent – yes, he may not be the quickest at reading questions but, for me anyway, that’s ITVs problem for insisting on all of its gameshows lasting an hour: that is the major flaw for me. I wonder what would’ve happened if, for just four weeks, ITV shortened their national news to half an hour and given Jeopardy a 30 minute slot before Emmerdale?

    1. Tom H

      And 1.6m on Wednesday – very stable.

      Unlike virtually everyone else here – but like Brett – I’ve been enjoying it – as has my wife who’s on mat leave. Yes it’s 15 minutes too long and the long periods of gameplay without any soundtrack are a bit weird but Fry’s a delight and the core game is tried and tested.

      I’d fancy a recommission.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        It’ll probably get a recommission to keep Fry sweet, but let’s be honest, it’s 20% down on what Tipping Point would get in January, even worse against Deal or No Deal last month and its showing no signs of growth, indeed it’s dropped a little every day so far and it’s having a knock-on effect for The Chase in what should be its strongest period. And this week has the advantage of people who have taken an extended Xmas break.

        I hope if it comes back they liven it up a bit.

  19. Brig Bother Post author

    1.55m on Monday, beaten by both Repair Shop and the new series of the Travelling Auctioneers (the latter of which was getting 2m+ when it was up to speed).

    It’s not yet a disaster, but it’s well down, maybe the ABC1s will save it.

      1. Daniel

        I’ve not watched since Episode 1. Accidentally seen the opening titles to yesterdays episode had to change the channel quick to stop the views going up!

  20. Brig Bother Post author

    Wowsers, 1.25m Friday I’m told, well into ‘yikes’ territory if that’s the level across the next fortnight.

  21. Brig Bother Post author

    Bless that the only person who seems to be engaging with UKJeopardy’s heavily video-based X account appears to be whoever is running the ITVX one.

  22. Oliver

    I really dislike some of the recent Final Jeopardy clues which have tended towards “lucky guess” questions (pick a year/number/colour) of things you are unlikely to know for certain – it feels unfair. This is in contrast to the slightly tougher general knowledge questions of the US version.

  23. Brett Linforth

    Well, I maintain that I really enjoyed this revival. Stephen was as great as I imagined he’d be, I enjoyed the standard of trivia and having it keep the look and sound of the US original was a fine move. So, do I want a recommission? Absolutely! Do I think it’ll get one? I’m rather pessimistic. I suspect people enjoy watching contestants give silly answers to easy questions in Tipping Point’s opening round (no slight on TP – I enjoy the show and I’ve even attended a Lucky Stars recording) than being quizzed on more highbrow topics on Jeopardy! I still think bringing back the 7.00pm quiz slot and doing a 30 minute version before the soaps would’ve been interesting.

    1. Crimsonshade

      Yup, I can confirm (because I was one of them) that Whisper North sent out emails this afternoon to people who have either previously applied to Jeopardy!, or expressed an interest in other Whisper Productions shows, inviting them to apply for a future series. They aren’t retaining applications from Series 1, however, so it’s a clean slate for everyone (unless you were actually a contestant on the episodes already broadcast).


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