Show discussion: 5 Minutes to a Fortune

By | April 6, 2013

Premiere episode: Saturday 6th April 5:10pm, Channel 4,
Subsequent episodes: 5pm on Channel 4,
Celebrity Specials on weekends.

davina5iveWell we’ve been looking forward to this for a while and it’s opening today after the Grand National with a celebrity special featuring the teams of Ann Widdicombe with Anton de Beke and Jo Brand with Meera Syal.

It’s a pretty simple game – one person answers questions, the other person determines how much of the five minutes their partner is going to get. If the gameplayer gets five questions right in the time allotted, great. If not, a massive hourglass filled with prize money flips over and starts draining out until they succeed. After five games, the timekeeper has one final list based challenge to win all the money that’s left in the hourglass.

Some of us went to see episodes being recorded. From the recording I think it’s a really strong concept with a nice variety of interesting quiz ideas, but also that it’s probably one or two playtests from being perfect (five minutes doesn’t feel like quite enough time to be able to have a proper strategy given the questions, and the five minutes it takes for the hourglass to drain might not look quite as exciting as the idea sounded). That hourglass is a GREAT prop though.

Of course we have those opinions on the basis of one game and without the benefit of seeing how it’s been edited.

Civilian episodes go out during the week with a £50k top prize, celebrity episodes on Saturdays with £100k on the line. Just as it will be up against Pointless and The Chase on weekdays, it’s up against them on Saturdays as well which is an interesting scheduling decision.

139 thoughts on “Show discussion: 5 Minutes to a Fortune

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    For the record (as it was edited out today) Sonny suggested he misunderstood the ‘replace the letter with the one after it’ game as he thought it could be a letter either side. Unfortunate, but the description seemed pretty clear to me.

    Also Gideon Voiceoverman read out the wrong question during the ‘spell the answer out with words’ game yesterday which presumably was a script error. There was a stop down whilst they sorted it all out which seemed fair and amicable.

  2. Chris M. Dickson

    I’ve just caught up with the show to date. Still my favourite show of the year and it’s demonstrated the solidity and variety to climb from a solid seven to an excited eight as far as I’m concerned.

    The question-writing is pretty variable in difficulty. For instance, I don’t think anyone has demonstrated quite as much mental agility as Rachael Riley, though (a) she got stuck with more than her fair share of not-necessarily-hard-but-long categories and (b) she was inadvertently let down by her persistence at working through the early questions in those categories. It does seem to be the case that the questions get easier as each round progresses (not unreasonable at all, though – as someone else has said – I’m tempted to wonder what the questions are like after 15-20 passes) and it almost becomes a valid tactic to spend the first 20 seconds passing the first eight questions before cleaning up on five daisy-cutters. The production team would LOVE you if you tried that, I’m sure…

    There’s also been a couple of examples of ill-fated use of the Emergency Stop by the Timekeeper and the randomly selected round surely was a much worse result than persisting with the round in progress, but that’s a very valid part of the game.

    1. Stuart

      Hi Chris
      We have had a couple of occasions when players have gone through the entire stack of questions and have started over – both times they competed them second time round… Sometimes they knew the answers but struggled under the pressure.
      We also found most people have one category they really struggle on, in the case of Rachel it was literature.
      Illfated Emergency Stop use – we’ve had a lot… In some cases they as virtually finished?
      Glad you liked the show.
      Best Stuart

  3. Brekkie

    Today was an example of the questions cycling – must be 20 or so I guess.

  4. Chris M. Dickson

    Some unusual typeface infelicities in today’s episode. This is perhaps the epitome of obsessed nits to pick but it always leaves me wondering why they might have occurred.

  5. Delano

    And 5MtaF has crossed its borders: TF1 is the first international broadcaster to launch a local format.

    It is called ‘Pas une seconde à perdre!’ (Don’t lose a second!), and will air right before ‘Les Douze Coups de Midi’. Couples will play for € 25k (at the time of writing equal to £ 21k-plus-something).

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Hold on hold on hold on, are we definitely sure this is the same thing? Research suggests it’s a reworking of a show from the 60s.

          1. Setsunael

            That’s weird – first time i’ve heard of the format getting a pilot , it didn’t had any link to “Five Minutes to a fortune”. (pitch being “you have 12 seconds to answer each question, unused time rollover to the next questions”)

            Also, the title share his name with another game of the end 50’s in France – but seems there’s no link at all between them.

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