That’s Yer (Pi)Lot: Epic Win

By | June 28, 2011

Right, it’s very late and I’m very tired so let’s get straight into this:

  • Well done BBC, cashing in on an internet meme just five years too late.
  • This is more of a run through than a pilot I suppose, as the show has already been comissioned and begins going out middle of August.
  • The set has a black background. The word ‘Epic’ is written in giant stones on the right hand side, the word ‘Win’ down the left. To the right of “epic” is a video wall, in front of “epic” are the judges postions. Middle of the set at the back is a tunnel of concentric rings, and a big staircase leading to the floor where a small raised stage, the “epic centre” is. The “I” in “win” lifts up to reveal the host, Alexander Armstrong. One of the uprights of the “N” has a 5ft door built into it, and the sign “FAIL” that lights up above it.
  • In this show people with extraordinary but pointless talents come on and test them out. The idea is that they’re superheroes but with super pointless powers, this is set in the slightly OTT title sequences and set.
  • Armstrong is ably assisted by upcoming comic Joe Lycett who I haven’t heard of before. On the one had I couls say his job is basically to mimic Peter Dickson’s voice as closely as possible, and it’s quite a good impression to the point where I wonder if it might cause a bit of a stink. On the other hand I feel this is doing him a bit of a disservice because certainly on the challenges where he got chance to seemingly ad lib a bit I think he’s got quite a good grasp of what’s funny in a situation.
  • The three judges were apparent regular Micky Flannigan, the largely irritating Jared Christmas and some actress from EastEnders who provided reasonable value but I don’t remember her name as I don’t watch it, sorry.
  • It looks like there will be four challenges on each show. Each Hero is introduced by an introduction film – these are not these people in normal situations, they’re comically scripted mini-films in the main. They then come down the stairs and join Armstrong on the Epic Centre. They have a chat and the panel also probe.
  • The challenge is revealed – three of these were done live in the studio, one was a prerecord. The Heros don’t set the challenges themselves, the producers do it for them. This makes for some quite wacky challenges but I’m not entirely sure the difficulty for each one was pitched quite right – this is always likely to be a minefield when the people setting the challenges aren’t experts in the field, I would have thought.
  • I’ll tell you the challenges from this evening, because if the contestants come back for the proper shows they will be “similar but different”. One Three-time world-memory champion is challenged to become a human barcode reader. He was given 100 items with prices and an associated barcode. He lies under a till whilst items are put through above him – each one is nailed to a bit of wood with the barcode written in large font underneath. The object was to get 12 right in 60 seconds. He managed ten, but it’s fair to say everyone thought that that should be a win.
  • The second challenge involved a plumber who customizes his own vehicles. He stuck a motorbike engine in a mobility scooter. But could it cover half a mile in 30 seconds? The third challenge involved a dancer. Could she kick herself in the head 40 times in 60 seconds? Finally a fishmonger is challenged to name three out of five fish whilst blindfolded just by being slapped in the face with them.
  • If the Hero fails the task, then it is an Epic Fail. After a chat with the judges, they’re given a small sticker as a prize and sent through the “epic fail” door – the idea originally was to do this without any audience reaction, tumbleweed style, but changed on the night to quiet applause.
  • If the Hero succeeds in the task then it is an Epic Win – they win the Epic Win trophy and an Epic Win bumper sticker, and they get the chance to win some money.
  • The judges each write down a figure between £1 and £1,000. These are totalled up and represent the secret maximum the player can take home. What follows is basically the Bong Game – a number comes up on screen, Joe reads it out, player chooses to push the button or not. If they push, and the figure is below or at the total figure the judges put together then they win the money buzzed on and they get to leave the show going up the stairs whence they came from with cheering fit for a Hero. If they oversell themselves they go home with “zero pounds”.
  • To be honest this was the weakest bit of the show for me. Firstly, my gut feeling is that a rising cash clock looks and feels more the part than just a series of figures. Secondly, if they’re going to keep it then they should at least give Joe his own monitor to look at, as him turning round to look a number and turning back round to say it feels very irritating.
  • Thirdly, I largely suspect the optimum strategy is going to be to takie the first value above £1,500 that comes up because I very much doubt the judges want to be seen as a bit mean, and largely suspect few will go below £500. “Rubbish jeopardy” always comes third place to “Exciting jeopardy” and “no jeopardy at all”.
  • Alexander Armstrong is excellent as I always find he tends to be, comes across as genuinely enthusiastic for the contestants.
  • In a nutshell I’m largely favourable towards it despite its flaws. There is going to be a lot of chat, but it is pitching itself as a “comedy entertainment” show – it feels like a British take on a Japanese variety show, really. The challenges are fun (although they are not lengthy compared to something like You Bet!) I think the money aspect needs looking at but it’s remarkably not a dealbreaker. I did have ‘Epic Meh’ lined up as a headline, but the truth is I think it’s going to be a fun show.

29 thoughts on “That’s Yer (Pi)Lot: Epic Win

  1. Joe

    Doesn’t sound too bad. But they’re asking for trouble with that title. “Epic Fail” headlines being a possibility.

    1. Alex

      Then again they were setting themselves up with Pointless and look how that turned out.

      1. Joe

        True, you have a point there.

        I like the idea of the show. Any ideas on what time it’ll be shown? Is it more like 6pm/7pm/8pm/9pm type show?

      1. David B

        Also, shouldn’t this feature now be called “That’s Yer (Half Tau)lot”?

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          You see, I had read that story. However I’ve used so many different titles for recording reviews over the years I’m going to stick with what I’ve got now.

          1. Jennifer Turner

            Besides, you don’t change titles on the say-so of some publicity-seeking cunt.

          2. Jennifer Turner

            You should have seen the rant I deleted before posting.

          1. art begotti

            At the risk of provoking Ms. Turner’s wrath, could someone explain to me what this is about? Is tau apparently now 6.18318?

  2. Chris M. Dickson

    Have some respect, please: three-time world memory champion! He didn’t blog about his experiences, but suffice to say that he had a good time.

    There’s a part of me that kind of wants the Epic Fail door to have a different sight gag attached each time it’s used – one time the handle falls off, one time the door frame collapses, one time the door hinges are attached on the wrong side, one time there’s a tripwire, one time there’s a bucket of feathers atop it and so on.

    My favourite inherently ill-fated game show title remains “Remotely Funny”. It wasn’t even.

      1. Zoomy

        That’s okay, remembering numbers can be difficult. 🙂

        Nice review – I’m glad it looked good from the audience too, because it was a lot of fun to make, and I really got the feeling it’d be a great show!

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Nice video. It’s interesting because I think PD got a bit upset when E4 dropped him and they just got a soundalike in.

      The impression is brilliant, the timing and slight-gasps are spot-on.

      1. Jon

        The thing is Pete Dickson inherited that E4 roll roll Patrick Allen, so how he can bothered I don’t really understand. Unless Dickson was doing that voice before Allen got the E4 gig with it.

        1. Jon

          That should read; inherited that E4 role from Patrick Allen *

  3. Chris M. Dickson

    I’m a lot more hopeful about this show, based on Brig’s review, than I was before; perhaps it does hit the tone and character right after all.

    The stunts do sound quite fun, but I’m not sure if they’re particularly epic. It’s probably unfair to compare them to those of You Bet!, or if not unfair, clouded by the heavy nostalgia of having seen every repeat in Challenge’s library; perhaps we should rely on Red or Black (or is it Black or Red?) for truly spectacular stunts. I fear that the show might be quite light on stunt-to-filler ratio, particularly if there are essentially only four one-minute stunts in (say) a one-hour show, though your assessment of the comedy value of the banter between Hero and panel, or the comedy value of the Bong Game routine, may differ from mine. Tell me if this is unfair criticism, but the stunts could well be made more epic by simply requiring them to be on a bigger scale; make the memory challenge more epic (and funnier) by having an amusing assortment of items to identify, from something as small as a box of matches or a packet of gum to something as large as, perhaps, a concrete mixer or a six-foot cuddly toy. (On the conveyor belt. Hooray!) Likewise, perhaps the fish challenge could be funnier by having an amusing variety of sizes and shapes of fish, or some silly gags like Michael Fish.

    Ain’t prejudice great? In fact, I’ll go ahead and review the show now purely based on my preconceptions of it: six out of ten.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I don’t believe it to be an hour show, I think that would struggle. Maybe 45 minutes tops.

      Don’t worry, there was a decent selection of different sorts of fish to be selected (there were 12 – they had mocked up a fishmonger’s stall for it, and the judges selected five by number). Obviously thr bigger/lengthier ones (an eel, for example) provided for more comic moments. Ditto they had mocked up a supermarket for the checkout game and although it would be nice if they had things like a cement mixer, it would probably take ages to set-up (to the show’s credit, it only overran 15 minutes from the predicted finish time).

      There were certainly lots of fish based jokes from the panel afterwards.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        While there is nothing to suggest that any of the participants in the pilot have anything other than the utmost integrity, if it were to be the case that a contestant in the pilot had deliberately blown their challenge so that the producers might make their challenge in the real show easier, then that would be metagaming of a quality yet unseen on television. In fact, it would be…

        …no, I can’t say it.

  4. Mart with an Y not an I

    Ok, so the proof is in the watching (via the edit) but reading it first I thought “ahh, so it’s You Bet for the easily amused”, but then some of the challenges, then sound like Reeves and Mortimer were behind them (espc the dancer trying to kick themselves in the head one. Sounds v sureal)

    I for one would like to see epic fail contestants walk off to the sound of their hollow footsteps. There is something amusing about these people coming on in a blaze of faux-hero status, only to mess it up and walk off as a miserable failure (in the confines of the programme)

    Actually, thinking about it. The BBC could be onto a winner here. Promote it the right way, with ITV pulling out the massive arena challenges for Red Or Black, and this could be trailed as the antidote to it.

    Plus, the format sounds flexible enough for it to reappear in a couple of years for the envitable Comic Relief celb specials.

      1. Alex

        That headkicking bet was actually used in Wanna Bet, I think.

  5. Pingback: Show Discussion: Epic Win | Bother's Bar

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