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”.
OneThree-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.