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. Michelle M

    Interesting, the Jo Brand episode was one of the four games I saw being recorded on their last day of filming (26th March).

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I *presume* they’re going to open on a decent win. I don’t know if celeb games will straddle the same way civilian games will.

      Reply
  2. Brekkie

    Looking forward to this but Widdecombe and Du Beke are quite off putting.

    Note it moves to Sunday at 7pm next week at least, so up against Catchphrase and Countryfile.

    Reply
  3. Alex McMillan

    The “coming up…” clip felt ridiculously long.

    Reply
  4. Alex McMillan

    That wordsmith game seems broken, surely you could just keep shouting out the numbers repeatedly?

    Reply
    1. Chris

      I think that’s the counter to ensure someone can actually win it..

      Reply
      1. Alex McMillan

        Must be, doing it the logical way would take much longer

        Reply
  5. Chris

    So basically no one is going to win close to half the prize money based on today’s game

    Reply
  6. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

    Well, overall the game isn’t bad. I would just rather watch it with regular people than with celebs if it’s all the same to you…

    Reply
  7. Brekkie

    If it wasn’t for the recording report I wouldn’t believe it had an audience, but a decent enough debut – though it probably should be called “50 Minutes to losing a Fortune”.

    That said even with the fragmented five minutes it was pacey enough and though impossible to win it’s good it’s a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. The hour glass is very impressive too though the set is a bit lacking.

    Reply
    1. Mart with a Y not an I

      In some of the earlier civilian episodes, there will have to be some ‘blending’ of the audience sound to make it appear there were more there than actually was (like mine for example)

      At max capacity, there’s only room for around 90 – that’s because the screen that the contestant looks at is hung from the lighting grid, centre and front of the seating and covers up around 2/3rds of the remaining capacity.

      Reply
  8. Weaver

    Opening show notes:
    * Does Anne Widdecombe’s agent insist that she’s always pictured on the far right?
    * Games are pretty much as our intrepid reporters have described: mind-twizzlers that look easier than they might be.
    * Long internal spoilers.
    * Davina sounds like a commuter charging down the stairs at Tonbridge station, shouting at the tail-lights of the 7.23, “Stop the train!”
    * The set is solid, and the hourglass empties with a satisfying clunk.
    * Less impressed with the endless walking to and fro.
    * I’m going to have to see more to see if five minutes + an unattainable prize makes for better telly than six minutes + an easier jackpot.

    Will all the celeb contestants have a Channel 4 connection? Widdecombe and Jo Brand have appeared alongside Susie Dent, I see Krish and Snowy from the news, and was that Rachel Riley?

    Next week: going up against Countryfile won’t help bring in older viewers, but that’s not Channel 4’s audience there. After Catchphrase, ITV has a hidden-camera series of old people playing pranks, which could be a Hare-size flop.

    Reply
    1. Lewis

      “Will all the celeb contestants have a Channel 4 connection?”

      You mean like Anton Du Beke, that well-known Channel 4 celebrity?

      Reply
        1. Brekkie

          Every celeb has probably been on C4 at some points in their career. There is a danger of it just being contestants who’ve previously been on the Million Pound Drop, though am looking forward to Jon Snow as it’s not the sort of thing you see him do often.

          And I know it’s for charity but thought £5000 was a hefty consolation prize considering had she managed to win they’d have probably been less than £5000 in the pot. I think £1000 per charity would be sufficient – the celebs on The Cube only get £1000.

          Reply
  9. Barry

    More money for celebs than us ordinary folk? Can we put a end to this please?

    Consolation prizes for celebs where us ordinary folk won’t get them. Can we put a end to this please?

    Celebs who end up with less with £5,000 are better off screwing up in the final. That defeats the entire point of the game.

    Reply
  10. Chris M. Dickson

    I don’t know if this will go the distance as an interesting series, but the first episode was genuinely good, approaching very good.

    So far, I enjoyed the game material, and the variety means things don’t outstay their welcome, and the overarching structure is interesting. That alone is enough to make it, at heart, a solid format, and the hourglass is a lovely toy. The presentation is not obviously missing tricks (I don’t immediately feel it’s outstandingly positive, but I don’t feel “aww, they’ve got this bit or that bit wrong”, which is a rare and good sign) and Davina exceeded my expectations.

    I was much more sympathetic towards Anton and Anne than I thought I would be, and the show paints its contestants as doing heroic things. It’s genuinely positive entertainment; there isn’t the “look at how much they’ve lost” focus of a Million Pound Drop or a Deal or No Deal. That endgame was hard and I suspect that in general they will be pretty elevated in difficulty (I think I might have been able to get four French presidents… and not the most recent ones, as it happens), but the contestants will get a genuine good run for their money, and any wins will certainly be hard-earned. It’s only a shame that it’s practically impossible to win the jackpot outright.

    On the downside, I did feel the temptation to fast-forward from game activity to game activity, and there felt like a fair bit of stalling while the clocks were counting down and the games were in progress, which – while viewer-friendly – feels a shade cheap. I also have concerns about the clock possibly seeming to start early, which also seems awry.

    However, a show with so many interesting internal mini-games to look forward to is clearly doing a lot right, and I can see myself tempted to tune in again and again until the games become sufficiently same-y or something else gets on my goat. It’s far too early to judge based on zero regular contestant episodes, but this might well be worthy of positive consideration in the end-of-year poll.

    Reply
  11. James

    I thought the show was pretty promising. The format was really simple to grasp. The set could’ve been a little better, but the hourglass was something of sheer beauty. The games are well thought out, and deceivingly tricky. Davina is Davina, brilliant as always. The structure of the show was good, but I couldn’t help thinking it could have worked well as a 45mins long show.

    I think this could do very well for Channel 4, providing they don’t burn it out like they have done with Deal Or No Deal and The Million Pound Drop. Will report the ratings in the morning.

    Reply
  12. Mart with a Y not an I

    I’ve said most of my likes and dislikes when I saw it in March, but now it’s wandering around the schedules..

    Set looks better on screen than in the studio – but still not sure what those silvery beams are doing at the back of the set. The sound effect of the coins pulsing through the egg timer does sound louder on tv than it did in the studio though.

    “Stop the Drain” is a wretched turn of phrase.

    It’s not Gideon Coe on voice of god duties as previously thought-but the guy they’ve got does have a good voice.

    Still don’t like the dead time wasted revealing the answers for correct questions. I estimated that Du Beke lost around 5 secs stalling over the reveals on the mixed up ad slogan round.

    Hate the ‘peer into the future’ vts into the breaks

    Do like that they’ve not diluted the strength of the questions for celeb version (the reorder the numbers in alphabetical order) was done at my recording.

    Reply
    1. Weaver

      The voice is Gideon Turner, best known as a stage actor, but also as Brett Harrison on Emmerdale late last year.

      Reply
  13. Brig Bother Post author

    They really really need to sort out the quickness of the reveals and moving on after passes, it felt like he was losing 2-3 seconds each time (and it felt like longer than that for the reveal of Meera Syal’s film quotes). If you multiply that by 25, that’s almost a minute in wasted time, or a £10/20k penalty before they even started.

    This being said, for all that everyone says nobody will win the max money – well no, probably not, but he missed so many pretty easy questions last night I don’t see why large wins aren’t possible.

    I don’t remember there being a screen underneath the hourglass. However the money draining out looks much better on telly than it did from the audience.

    I’d be interested to find out how many different question types there are – evidently many are shared across categories.

    Apparently 1.5m for this last night which isn’t awful but also not quite good enough I reckon. It will be interesting to see how it does during the week without a Grand National lead-in. DS thought it was too complicated which is a bit of a damning indictment.

    Reply
  14. Daniel Peake

    Right, time for my thoughts. Overall, I liked this although I’m going to start with niggles first:

    As Brig said, the question reveals are too long in the round. I took ages from someone saying “next” to the next question actually being revealed, particularly in Anton’s Celebrity Spotter round, I thought.

    A bit too much padding, but this show is by no means the worst offender.

    Need to say upfront a little bit more the rate at which the hourglass drains. “This is a 5 minute hourglass” or something (yes, I know 5-minute hourglass doesn’t make sense!)

    Format niggle: Why not alternate between the two contestants for each game? Swap the roles so they each have some time deciding / playing. This again is a fairly minor point though, I don’t mind it too much the way it is.

    The positives: Creative games. Love the set. The hourglass is currently the Prop Of The Year to beat. A hard endgame that seems a little harsh, but I like it very much. It’s akin to the pointless endgame in that if you know the category, you’ve got a chance of winning some money. I like how you get 10 free seconds of answering in that final question as the hourglass takes 10 seconds to turn. I also like how the coins are dumped completely out of the hourglass in the final round. Nice tweak. Rollover contestants! Finally.

    And finally, a production question. After each round the hourglass turns back round to have the coins on the bottom. From the way it turns, the mass of coins is wedged towards one corner of the hourglass. However, when Davina is talking to the contestants at some point the coins have become uniformly distributed in the bottom bulb. My question is this – does this mean someone goes in and rakes the coins around in between each round?!

    Overall, a very promising show. I’m intrigued as to how civilian shows will fair, but I quite like this and shall watch it again. Well done C4.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yep, that’s exactly what happens. One of the panels in the hourglass comes off and a man levels it a bit.

      Reply
  15. Daniel Peake

    A couple more things:

    This show is the mental of the version of The Cube, which I very much approve of.

    The difficulty of the games is appreciated, and I also wonder if later games are meant to be harder than earlier games. It didn’t really seem that way.

    IMPORTANT NEGATIVE POINT: I thought the number ordering game would have been better if after an incorrect answer the list was reset, as otherwise you basically could just keep guessing and rattle through the lists quickly, which Anton nearly did. I think that’s a fairly major flaw with that particular round. But that’s the only round I had issues with.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think games are games are games, I don’t think any are more difficult than the others, but the question length is very variable – note that in the dictionary definition game they only got through two questions in 50 seconds.

      Reply
      1. Lewis

        This is a niggle I had with the show, especially considering it’s about time management. But then I realised that you get shown the game format before the time is assigned so you can give more time accordingly.

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          But not the formats for the other games.

          Also it’ll be an unfortunate issue if you’ve gone short on a game, hit the Emergency Stop then get assigned a game with long questions.

          Reply
  16. Brekkie

    Quick question for those who’ve been to recordings – are the end games basically any game left at random or will it always be a Top Ten list game?

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      It’s always Top Ten in one of the categories that are left. If you don’t use the Emergency Stop then you have the option of two categories to choose from.

      Reply
  17. Stuart

    FYi, there are 27 different games in the series, so the variety is good (IMO – I would say that)
    The right contestants can win a lot of cash, I don’t want to spoil it here but lets say some left left with a very large chunk of cash… Not that far of maximum.

    Agreed the question reveal and move on are a little slower than I had wanted – something that will be fixed if it comes back for a second series.

    Also, lots of you asked question about why it isn’t just a 1 player game, or why they didn’t switch after each game, we tested all these options out and liked the jeopardy of this version the best… This way it heaps huge pressure on the ntimekeeper.

    Best Stuart
    5 mins to a fortune

    Reply
    1. Mart with a Y not a I

      Hi Stuart,
      As someone who had a day off work to come down to watch the show (see my oringinal review) I have two questions about the format
      (I understand if the wall of secrecy over these things keep you silenced..)

      1 – Why isn’t any time left during the main 5 rounds, banked, and then given back to the timekeeper in the final round before the 10 second eggtimer upturn?

      or, is that related to…

      2- Is the show designed to dangle the top prize £50,000 carrot in front of the team playing but in all reality it is almost impossible to win the full amount?

      Thanks.

      Reply
      1. Brekkie

        I’d say it’s obvious why money saved can’t be banked – that means the role of the timekeeper actually matters not to waste time on rounds where the time isn’t needed.

        Must say though the time aspect novelty soon wears off though when they’re basically hovering around the 50-60 second mark.

        Reply
  18. Stuart

    We did play with that idea, but we found the contestants started to save time during the main game for the final and as a result crashed out very early (no cash left). Also we liked the idea that to walk away with the cash the final should increase in pressure and jeopardy… So they get 10 seconds to name 5…

    If they play the game well they will have saved a subject they are good at and then could win quickly.

    We wanted the game to be tough, and through rigorous testing we did have one couple who actually took away all the money… Which was through a combination of good subjects, very good gameplay and getting a name ten they knew (was a geography name 10). But we don’t want this to be a regular occurrence.

    There have only been 6 winners of the million on millionaire over 15 years… I suspect our jackpot win to be similar ratio.

    Stuart

    Reply
    1. Mart with a Y not a I

      Stuart,
      Thanks for answering those questions. I’m glad to read that at least one team got the full amount out of the eggtimer!

      I like the show, and I hope it does well (although as I say in my review, it’s up against The Chase and Pointless, so Channel 4 is going to shout a little louder about it than other programmes put in the 5pm slot)

      By the way, if you do get a second series, try and come up with another phrase for Davina instead of “Stop The Drain”.
      “Stop the Drop”, for instance (although thinking about it that may lead to confusion with her other quiz show..)

      Reply
  19. Alex Davis

    Liked the show a lot. Great idea. Only thing that really bugged me was the massive delay between right answers and new questions appearing. Beyond that, I truly did enjoy it. It’s a lot more possible to win 40K+ than people were initially letting on.

    Reply
  20. Delano

    7.5/10, coming down from 8.0/10 when considering the niggles others before me pointed out. Probably the best quiz show to debut in 2013.

    @Mart with a Y not a I: You probably going to like the fact that Ken Bolam and Nick Foster (who also provided the scores for The Exit List) are credited, and not Marc Sylvan.

    Reply
  21. GIzensha

    Seems like a good (and mostly interesting, though “identify the silhouette” was a bit of a weak link in the opening episode) mix of games, the giant egg timer had a bit of a jerky motion for my tastes but that’s fine overall, and the overall format comes together nicely… Although the titular Five Minutes lasting around 45 does rather suggest a lot of padding (Yes, I know, the titular Five Minutes doesn’t count the money egg timer, or the 10ish seconds it takes for the hour glass to turn for the time keeper’s game, but…), although for me the show goes at a reasonable lick despite there being at the back of my mind “Five minutes of game play just lasted 45.” – Title disconnect there.

    Davina is… Exactly how you expect Davina to be in anything, so no surprises there.

    Strong opening, look forward to checking out the 5pm version.

    Reply
  22. Poochy.EXE

    I think it’s a good format, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. As everybody and their brother already mentioned, the delay between questions really bugs me.

    My other criticism is that several of the categories and questions, particularly in the pop culture department, tend to be too much “either you know it or you don’t”. The obvious strategy on these is to just keep passing until you see one you recognize. I’d much prefer to see questions where you can slowly work out the answer (like the number ordering game, but without the possibility of brute-force guessing – I agree with Dan Peake’s suggestion above), forcing contestants to decide on the spot whether or not skipping to the next question would actually save time.

    I wouldn’t mind shortening the chatter between rounds either, since I ended up just fast-forwarding through most of it.

    Overall, I do hope this returns for a more polished second series. It’s a solid B in my book, and only the execution is preventing it from being an A.

    Reply
  23. John R

    After watching it today (I did watch the Zeleb edition on Saturday too) :

    Some games need explaining slightly better. For example, the one where you had to spell out the answers using words linked to a subject. I didn’t know if you could use the same word twice i.e. John if the word contained two of the same letter until the contestant encountered that situation.

    Get rid of the bloody ‘Coming up / next time’ spoilerviews. They aren’t needed.

    I do appreciate the roll over format rather than trying to spin out single games to fill the timeslot.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      In fairness, they did do exactly that in the example (and contestants are encouraged to ask questions if something occurs to them, which will be edited out most likely).

      If you want to know genesis of ‘maybe they should give them more time to play with and less time in the hourglass’, it’s partly because ithe episode I saw live featured this game (under history) and the dictionary definitions game (under books). Quite the double whammy I’m sure you’ll agree.

      Reply
      1. Luke the lurker

        Maybe it’s just my particular preferences, but I thought that today’s dictionary definition game was quite easy. (With the exception of the spelling one, it seemed like an easier episode overall – the spelling seemed not only to take a long time to work out but each word appeared to have one particularly tricky letter where there weren’t many options to choose from, thus relying on you to remember the one particular answer – H for states, G for elements, I for girls’ names… That one seemed like a particularly nasty time suck.)

        Reply
        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I agree it didn’t seem too bad today, although I also suspect the pool of two word telly shows isn’t so big if you can get one word it’ll lead you to the other in a way it’s not quite so easy with films and books.

          The spelling game is a beast. Pray you don’t get it for an emergency game you previously budgeted 45 seconds for.

          Reply
  24. Kniwt

    Watched only the civilian episode so far, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this, especially the two-level-thinking categories, many of which were indeed more difficult than I was expecting for afternoon TV. Not sure I want to invest the time for a 5-per-week dose, but perhaps I can save them and savor them.

    I wasn’t expecting straddling games to be part of the picture, and that makes it a lot better right there, since you can’t look at the time(r) and know that someone is about to lose it all.

    Reply
  25. Kniwt

    Also just spotted in the end credits: All contestants’ names, both first and last. Is that something new?

    Reply
    1. Delano

      Battle of the Brains (BBC 2, Eggheads short-timed filler) springs into mind, albeit team names.

      Reply
  26. Brig Bother Post author

    0.8m for first episode, so Paul B suggests.

    Pity, but it’s a tough slot to launch a new show in so not unexpected. I’d hope it might find an audience, but with three good shows on at the same time, two of which well established, it’s going to be hard to get a foot in the door.

    Reply
    1. Alex Davis

      Two questions.

      1: What figures would 4 exactly be happy with in this slot

      2: Would any new quiz launch work here regardless of how excellent the format is? There’s two really popular shows which already have their audiences and have been established for a while. I think figures have shown that those two shows are pretty unwavering and are going to get their audience every day regardless of what goes on the other. Would anything truly make any sort of an impact there? I don’t see how it could.

      Reply
      1. Paul B

        I don’t know how much it’s costing, but I assume it’s more than the £35-40k per ep they spend on things like Coach Trip and Come Dine With Me, so with that in mind I’d think they’d want numbers at least comparable to those shows, or particularly strong demographics.

        I don’t have the breakdown by age, but in ABC1s it finished behind Pointless, Chase, Flog It and Neighbours, and only narrowly beat Channel 5’s Thatcher special yesterday, so not the most encouraging figures there.

        Anyway, I think it’s worth pointing out that The Chase and Tipping Point (and Breakaway as well, to some extent) both took time to grow into hits, so I’d reserve judgement for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

        As for whether any show could succeed there, I think it definitely could if it caught people’s imaginations.

        Reply
        1. Luke the lurker

          Hmm. Very disappointing. I’d suggest that Deal or No Deal probably doesn’t have that much life in it, this may well turn out to be cheaper, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t do significantly better than 0.8m in the 4pm slot.

          (Whether it would do as well as Deal or No Deal does now? Trickier. Does Deal still have a summer hiatus? If so, I’m surprised they didn’t save it for that.)

          Reply
        2. Brig Bother Post author

          Anyway, I think it’s worth pointing out that The Chase and Tipping Point (and Breakaway as well, to some extent) both took time to grow into hits, so I’d reserve judgement for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

          Yes that is true.

          Reply
  27. Mart with a Y not an I

    Plus, I suspect as there are celebrity editions running throughout the civillian run at the weekend in or around the edge of peak time, there may be a element of finger crossing over at Horseferry Road, that it this bit of scheduling may give the weekday shows a little nudge.

    But so far, 3 couples – total win £0.
    Plus the same television category ‘reorder by colour’ round across two sets of contestants recorded at different times, is already indicating slightly careless stiching together in the edit suite.

    Reply
  28. Brig Bother Post author

    Winners today! Decent ones as well, £20k+.

    Now trying to work out the hourglass rate. We suspected it’s £10k a minute for a straight five minutes, but Davina’s timings for the final game suggest it’s a bit quicker than that. So either:

    1) We’re right and they give a shorter time so they can edit silence out without seeming too unnatural.

    2) it is actually faster. They won’t have plucked a number out of thin air though, so what could it be? My guess is it *could* be 270 seconds – 4:30 minutes, which is about £185 a second and would represent 50 seconds drain a game. I was discussing on Twitter earlier that you probably aim for an average team to take about 1:10 a game, so with 50 seconds extra that’s a round two minutes. I’m probably talking rubbish.

    Edit: I am talking rubbish, that’d be 250 seconds at £200 a second, which doesn’t sound right either.

    Reply
    1. Lewis

      If we assume Davina wasn’t telling us porkies for the edit, then £21k is roughly a minute and a half, which would give us roughly £14k a minute. A nicer number is £15k a minute, which fits 3 1/3 times into £50k, giving us an unusual 3 minutes 20. Perhaps it’s along the lines of 3 and a half minutes.

      Reply
      1. Lewis

        because I can’t edit…

        Wait a second. 3 minutes 20 isn’t so unusual, that’s 200 seconds isn’t it.

        Reply
      2. Brig Bother Post author

        But we also had just over ten grand yesterday at coming in at ‘just under a minute’. Increasingly suspect it’s for editing purposes, I’m 95% confident a full glass is quite a bit longer than 3:30. When I timed it at the recording, around 100 seconds was around £17,500, which was how we arrived at £10k a minute.

        Reply
        1. Lewis

          I suppose the best way would be to time a couple of drains in the normal rounds, but then a string of passes there might be edited out too I guess.

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          1. David B

            Not least to add that a real egg timer would drain the money earlier faster because there’s more ‘pressure’ caused by the coins above. If their electronic simulator takes this into account (probably doubtful) then it might explain why you’re having trouble deducing a figure.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            Interesting thought, but the rhythmic sound it makes suggests it’s not yer standard egg timer (also the suggestion is it drains faster later).

            I *suspect* where the neck of the glass is are two tubes, each with a camera shutter style lid on either end. One has bottom shutter closed and top shutter open (to allow coins to fall into the tube), the other has top shutter closed, bottom shutter open (to drop coins in tube out). Alternate every half a second. That’d allow standard flow, wouldn’t it?

    2. Stuart

      It drains in 4 minutes, so £12.5k per min or 217 per sec.
      The drain speed doesn’t change.

      Reply
      1. Lewis

        I’m the kind of guy who wants to do the maths on this anyway. Excuse me if this comes off as me being a doubting Tom, that’s certainly not what I’m trying to be. I just like crunching numbers and figure it might be of interest to others to see how this checks out with what was described above.

        First of all, double checking the per-second value. 4 minutes is 240 seconds, £50,000 divided by 240 = £208.33 per second. £50,000 divided by the £217 per second quoted would give us 230.41 seconds, which is of course about 10 seconds shy of 4 minutes. I’m going to use the £217 per second figure anyway, since if that’s what Stuart says then I imagine that’s what’s used by the computer actually working things out.

        According to Davina, £21k is “about a minute and a half”. If we take this figure to £21,700 to make my life easier, then clearly that’s 100 seconds. Which is indeed just over a minute and a half, so this figure checks out. (at £208.33/s then £21k exactly is 100.8 seconds)

        Just over ten grand clocks in at “just under a minute”. £10,850 (half of the above figure, again making things easier for myself) becomes 50 seconds, which I would describe as “just under a minute”. (at £208.33/s then £10,850 comes to 52.08 seconds)

        One more example, from today’s episode since I brought it up on 4OD, the final amount was a whopping £37,273, and Davina said this equated to “just under 3 minutes”. £37,273 divided by £217 comes to 171.76 seconds. Yup, just under 3 minutes (of complete dead air, but I’ll let that slide). (at £208.33/s it comes to 178.91 seconds, even closer to 3 minutes)

        Incidentally, the timer doesn’t count in whole seconds (unsurprisingly) since the first amount lost in today’s show was £500 exactly, which obviously doesn’t divide exactly by either per-second figure above. 4OD’s timer was kindly ticking roughly in sync with the game timer, so I know it was about 2 and a half seconds between the clock hitting zero and the emergency stop. £500 divided by 2.5 works out to £200 per rough second by my reckoning.

        Reply
        1. Stuart

          Hi Lewis
          My apologies I put the wrong figure down in my previous post.
          The regular contestant version the hourglass drains at 208.33′ per sec, or £12,500 per min.
          The cel version drains at double this rate – 416.66′ per sec or 25k per min.
          Both are a 4 minute drain.
          Hope this helps.
          Stuart

          Reply
          1. Lewis

            Aha!

            As you can see, I’d accounted for this. So take all my parenthetical statements above to be the correct ones then. Obviously it still all works out.

            In the meantime I also kinda realised Davina could just be guesstimating times herself rather than being given a time by the gallery. If she knows it’s 12.5k per minute then working out the nearest half-minute isn’t a particularly taxing task.

  29. Chris M. Dickson

    OK. So I’ve seen the first and third civilian episodes, but not the second, for no better reason than that the first and third are available on V+ and the second is not. No clue why.

    The game material is really compelling. I am FFWD-ing from game to game but this is a compliment to the game material rather than anything else. The difficulty is very variable which is sub-optimal but that’s sort of a pleasant change from the final game looking like it’ll always be very hard.

    The time aspect… the challenge is partly to determine an easy game for the gameplayer from a difficult game, but also partly to determine a long game for a short game. The game format where things get flashed up on the screen is something that can be knocked off in seconds, the definitions game is longer than looooooooooongcat.

    Let the contestants interrupt! Some know they can but not enough. When it’s a time-based game, interruption is crucial.

    The hourglass is a toy; the money mechanism works properly, which is the main thing, but it doesn’t correspond to the hourglass. It looks very awry when money starts falling with 2-4 seconds left on the clock, even though I suspect money is actually being deducted on the basis of actual timings rather than flow through the hourglass. Again, presumably, things are actually the way they should be, but they just don’t quite look like they are.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yep, the coins and the weighing are just for visual representation and the timings are all electronic so it’s been said. Not sure where you’re getting the earliness from, although I’ve seen occasions where I think they hadn’t cleared the mechanism so when it flips back some loose coins get deposited.

      Reply
  30. Brekkie

    No surprise about the ratings – C4 have no idea when it comes to scheduling lately and putting what could be a breakout hit in one of the toughest slots on TV was never going to do it any favours. Really it should be either a replacement for Deal – or for the run bump Deal to 5pm (it’s ratings are freefalling anyway) and see how Fortune does at 4pm.

    Still liking the difficulty level of it but 4 episodes in now finding the games quite repetitive and as such can’t help but feel it would be better airing weekly – it’s not so bad the same game turning up every couple of weeks rather than every couple of days. Upping the pace would be nice too – initially I quite liked the lengthy answer reveal after each round but now we’re familar with the games I do think just putting the answer on screen during the round itself would suffice.

    Reply
    1. Weaver

      I agree that Channel 4 has a scheduling problem. Too many modestly successful shows have been allowed to become fixed points.

      Deal at 4, The Simpsons at 6, Hollyoaks at 6.30, the license-requirement news at 7. Countdown at 3.30 used to be a fixed point, but now it’s not, and the world still turns. I do wonder why Hollyoaks is still on Channel 4; it gets similar ratings there as on E4, I suppose it would bring in people who wouldn’t watch C4 otherwise.

      If Channel 4 wanted to, and if their contracts allowed, would Five Minutes to a Fortune work in a 5.30 – 6.30 slot? Or in two half-hour episodes, wrapped around The Simpsons?

      Reply
  31. David

    The final round is a big flaw, based on Thursday’s episode….

    Reply
    1. Simon

      The 2nd of today’s final round was a real stinker of a question.

      Reply
      1. David

        I thought the 2nd final question was more gettable than the first- at least you could make reasonable guesses if you didn’t know it.

        Reply
        1. Brekkie

          I agree – the first one I’ve even come close to getting five on.

          Reply
      2. Brig Bother Post author

        I find that quite interesting, if you just kept naming South American countries you’d get there eventually.

        To be honest, for all the kvetching, none of the Top Ten questions so far have required obscure knowledge. After the answers have come up I’ve gone ‘oh yeah’ to all of them.

        Reply
        1. Chris M. Dickson

          I defer to your knowledge of French Presidents in that case. 🙂

          I suppose that you don’t actually need to be able to guess the whole of the top ten and there just have to be five gettable ones, but questions where the universe from which to draw answers is – for instance – the list of countries as opposed to the list of human beings are rather easier.

          Still digging this and for me the two shows of the year have been this then Britain’s Brightest in that order, though I don’t claim anything other than that saying more about me than anything else. It’s coincidental that two biggish-budget mental mini-game shows have cropped up so near each other after a long drought.

          Reply
          1. Brig Bother Post author

            I’d have blanked, but the names on the list weren’t on the whole obscure. Read more news!

            Besides, if my final category is politics, something has gone very wrong somewhere.

            Edit: I’d have greatly preferred British prime ministers, it has to be said.

          2. Lewis

            SPOILERS for today’s show if you wanted to watch…

            Apparently to get the last 10 British PMs you have to pick history, not politics, given today’s show.

          3. Chris M. Dickson

            Ha, I’m two games into today’s show upon seeing that comment – specifically, commenting during watching the unskippable first break on 4oD. Wonder if the current team manage to get through all five games and make it to the end?

          4. Luke the lurker

            Hmm. Unless the celebrity editions are deliberately meant to be harder, I suspect they may have realised after episode 1 that they’d overegged the pudding somewhat and have made things a bit easier. Pure conjecture, mind.

            The morphed faces game was fun, though it did bring into sharp relief the different challenges of playing in studio vs. on 4oD.

            I’ll be disappointed if this doesn’t get a second run, partly because I feel like it’s a cut above a lot of the new shows we’ve seen lately (looking at you, Face the Clock and Common Denominator), but mostly because I’d quite like a go myself…

          5. Brig Bother Post author

            It’s all cut and paste, I gather Widdicombe and Du Beke were the last to be filmed, so goodness knows what the thinking of the broadcast order is.

            I’m also not sure I buy that it’s too tough, currently we have a win rate about double that of The Chase and about ten times higher than Pointless. This as a thing is not going to change until the public go ‘yes, £3,000 IS an exciting amount of money, I’ll drop everything to watch that’ which isn’t going to be anytime soon.

    2. Kniwt

      Just got around to watching Thursday’s episode. What’s with the mismatch between the displayed amounts at the start of the final round in both games?

      The men supposedly have £28,587 remaining, but when the coins start dropping after the turn, the on-screen amount starts at £22,796.

      For the ladies, Davina tells them they have £22,838, but when the coins start dropping after the turn, the on-screen amount starts at £24,180.

      It’s like the men’s counter was accidentally shown for the ladies, but there’s no explaining the other direction. Of course, given the stellar quality of play in those final games, it’s not like the outcome was affected anyway, but it still seems like a significant production error that should have been caught.

      But I’m still lovin’ it.

      Reply
  32. Brig Bother Post author

    Oh dear, this was down to half a mill yesterday.

    It’s not looking good for an improved second series. Pity.

    Interestingly my Mum said she enjoyed it with Anton du Beke, but has found it ‘a bit draggy’ with civilians and tha she prefers the straight questions of The Chase – some of the games are hard to get your head around.

    As someone who has played tons of Mario Party, I can understand mini-game fatigue.

    It is looking like a show genre fans like but the general public aren’t warming to.

    Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Digital Spy forums, mainly.

        Although it’s back up to 0.8m yesterday, apparently.

        Edit: Interestingly, not far behind Pointless and The Chase in the youth demo, so don’t write it off just yet.

        Reply
  33. John R

    First things first, is it an inside joke with the production team to get Anne Widdecombe mentioned on literally every show?!

    Secondly, that alphabetical numbers game is this shows answer to ‘Barrier’ on The Cube.

    I’ve got to the stage now where I’m just fast forwarding through the crap and watching the games. By the way, is it just my connection or does YouTube totally suck for 4OD? Maybe to do with my ad blocker but it took me several attempts to get it to play properly.

    Also one thing that is annoying me in a geeky TV presentation fashion is the catchy theme tune just leads into Davina in a rather quiet studio rather than Davina appearing from behind a door and walking up some steps to a rather loud audience. Not that I’m making any sense but if anyone has the full clean music for this show I would love to own a copy cheers.

    Reply
  34. Annie wilson

    I have no idea who devised this but it is too difficult and far too demoralising for the contestants. They are very good so far

    Reply
  35. Daniel Peake

    I’ve decided I think this is better as a weekly show than a daily show (regardless of civilian/celebrity contestants). That way the games don’t get quite as stale as quickly.

    I feel this would benefit from being more “event television” and produced live – ironically the opposite of what would have helped The Bank Job.

    Reply
    1. Brekkie

      Absolutely agree – it’s a great format but just not quite right for a daily slot and you kind of need 5 times as many types of games airing it in daytime than you do airing it weekly in primetime.

      I do think most games don’t seem quite so difficult once you’ve seen them played a couple of times, but that one yesterday with clues like “52 C in a P” was beyond difficult.

      Reply
  36. Luke

    I was yesterdays contestant with my boss Nigel! Hope you enjoyed the show!

    Reply
    1. Delano

      Deserved win, although the Top Ten question was way too easy.

      Reply
    2. Brig Bother Post author

      Nice one! Just caught up with it.

      I think the contestant coordinators have done a pretty good job actually.

      Reply
  37. Brig Bother Post author

    Right, look, I know the show isn’t doing as well as we’d like, but goodness the official Twitter feed (@5MinsToAFortune) is a bit needy and irritating.

    Reply
    1. Weaver

      The first rule of Tw*tter: be excellent to each other.

      The second rule: everything is permanent and public.

      The third rule: it is not necessary to retweet everything you see.

      I’m still casting an eye over the titular show, wondering if Davina is deliberately being an antidote to Gordon Burns’ robotic calm.

      Reply
  38. David

    I don’t know which was more painful- that first round on the celeb show yesterday or this final round on the show today..

    Reply
    1. Lewis

      For people like me who could probably have saved the entire hourglass worth of cash, definitely the latter!

      Reply
    2. Delano

      Victory Television breached on of the Ten Game Show Commands (it’s apparently easy to break one or more of these).

      I fear 5MtaF may have jumped the shark.

      Reply
    3. Chris M. Dickson

      Eh, I dunno, I’m glad that the final game super-crash happened once, more as a demonstration that the theoretical possibility can actual turn out in practice, but I wouldn’t want to see it more than once every year or two. Still show of the year so far for me, though it’s probably got to be worrying for someone with my preferences that none of the mental mini-game WarioWare-esque shows have caught on with the public. At worst, I hope that the Britain’s Brightest game material team are watching and seeing what’s possible if it gets a second series.

      Reply
  39. John R

    When contestants apply, are they asked on their interests and such? It seems a bit suspicious that the time keeper was a Doctor Who expert.

    The end game needs tweaking. There should be an emergency stop that would half the prize money or something but at least give them a chance rather than just having someone stood there like a sitting duck for several minutes!

    Reply
    1. Alex

      An emergency stop that switches out the category for a double-rate drain?

      Reply
    2. David

      I think the Top 10 just doesn’t work for this. It’s a little too different than the others games they have- and if you have no knowledge of the category that’s picked, you’re hosed (and have a ton of dead air).

      The game where the player has to spell out the answers to questions using words that fit specific categories comes to mind as a good final game- give them 30 seconds before the money starts to drain (60 if they keep the Emergency Stop- they only play with 6 categories to begin with instead of 7).

      Reply
  40. Brig Bother Post author

    I should add that the *theory* of Top Ten I don’t mind, I think the effect they’re after is that they rattle off 3-4 correct answers quite quickly then panic as they try and finish it off. Unfortunately this has only “felt” right twice, with the coffee producing countries and Olympic cities ones, the others have come across as too easy (a bit tensionless) or too hard (dead air).

    Not entirely sure what the solution is off the top of my head.

    Reply
    1. Lewis

      Better top ten writing would be a start.

      The link between those two you mentioned is that they have a reasonably small pool of possible answers: countries in the world, and major cities. You can have a go at just naming some randomly if you don’t actually KNOW any answers. Compared to, say, most popular autobiographies or Doctor Who actors, where if you just don’t know then stumbling upon a correct name is nearly impossible in the pool of all possible names, and you get that dead air effect.

      I’d love to see what kind of top ten a Wordsmith category would produce, but I guarantee it will never happen. The timekeeper will want to keep an actual subject of knowledge they feel they know about, rather than a word game.

      Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I would suggest once you drill down into naming cities you’re on a pool level with A/B-list actors.

        I maintain that none of the questions asked so far have been particularly outre.

        Maybe there is mileage in changing it to “Five That Fit” and making it a bit more like the end game from La Cible. You’re after something simple with a big standard deviation, at any rate.

        Reply
        1. Delano

          And with the option to toggle between three questions as well, to limit the possibility a finalist is fighting a losing battle.

          Reply
  41. Alex

    I like the idea of having a special version of one of the normal games as an endgame. However I don’t know what game would make it stand out as being the ‘important difficult bonus round game’.

    That Wordsmith one is good difficulty-wise, but not particularly fantastic game-wise.

    Reply
  42. Mart with a Y not an I

    Ok what about this for the final round.
    The timekeeper has to answer 1 question from each of the categories played during their game (for the purposes of this chin stroking exercise) say the next question that would have been asked had the five correct answers not had been achieved.

    That would then, of course, penalise the emergency stop during the main game, because playing it means the timekeeper has to answer an extra question to win the money.

    Reply
      1. Brig Bother Post author

        If you go through with this, I might recommend a graphic explaining each game in a short sentence (‘name the diguised celebrity!’ ‘Find the hidden acronym!’) to put up whilst each game is played as a casual viewer aid.

        Reply
        1. David B

          Surely the whole idea of the top 10 list was that it’s technically possible to get all five answers within the 10 seconds that the egg timer turns around? There’s no way you’d be able to do this with 5 ‘front game’ questions so if the couple only had a few thousand left then it’s hardly worth playing.

          Reply
          1. Luke the lurker

            One possible solution – have the hourglass start turned over but only start releasing money after the first pass?

            (Also, this would be a good opportunity to repatriate the excellent endgame from Don’t Blow The Inheritance…)

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            I’m not sure that would work, you’re effectively taking the time element out of a time critical game where most of the questions aren’t that hard. Far easier to just allow 45 seconds grace.

            I think it’s an interesting idea, in practice I think it will be far too unwieldly, you’re going to be shifting graphics and shots on the fly every few seconds. How’s that going to come across? The alternative is pausing after every correct answer, but that’s going to dampen the high pressure impact.

          3. Mart with a Y not a I

            Hmm. The first Lord of OC has a point with my original final round format tweak.

            What about this then…
            As before – one question from each round played, but for every round (except the Emergency Stop game) where all 5 questions were answered within the set limit, 3 seconds per round are added in ‘free’ time in the final round before the timer flips over.

  43. illy

    me and my pal wayne were on the show yesterday , had a great time and hope you all enjoyed watching, looking forward to the rest off the shows.

    Reply
    1. Alex

      Congrats on the win, being given the two hardest games and coming out with a decent amount is really quite good.

      Quick question: with rounds like the one with the keypad, were you allowed to give answers even though they hadn’t displayed them on screen? A lot of teams seem to be doing each individual bit of an answer, waiting for it to be confirmed, and then doing the next part (the coloured name song title game yesterday, for example).

      Reply
  44. illy

    yes you have to wait for the answer to be confirmed , hope that helps.

    Reply
  45. Brekkie

    The Top Ten is a bit down to luck I suppose, but so is the final question on a show like Millionaire or the Million Pound Drop. Do we know if they have their Emergency Stop whether they can use it to change the question (picked from the other remaining categories). Perhaps one pass should be allowed.

    On a similar theme I wonder if in the earlier rounds whether they should limit the number of questions to 10, so if you pass you’ll eventually come back to the first question. I do think most games it is a case of working out the answer, rather than knowing or not knowing the answer, and it becomes a bit ridiculous with pass after pass after pass – though that is a good tactic with some games.

    P.S. Is Tommy (from yesterday) the thickest quiz show contestant ever?

    Reply
    1. Alex

      He may be the first one who talks about himself in the third person. After every question.

      Was quite funny when he yelled “WHAT DOES THAT MEEEEAN” after hearing “You Learn This At School”, though.

      Reply
    2. Delano

      At least Gok got the answers, but failed the extra oomph to enumerate them.

      Tommy, on the other hand, just didn’t invest any effort in trying to work out the questions. I guess his fiancée put their engagement rings for sale on eBay.

      Reply
  46. Delano

    Got some geographic nitpicks:

    -French Guyana was listed as one of the 10 countries bordering Brazil whereas it’s just a French Overseas Department (Wayne won that final game, but didn’t mention that country).
    -Dubai, which includes Al Makthoum Airport, was treated as a country rather than one of the United Arab Emirates.

    And then you have ‘Who Dares Wins’, where a team thought Finland’s flag had the colour red in it and weren’t knocked out the list (they eventually lost later on).

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I gather the reasoning for that (Finnish flag) was they listed the Encyclopedia Brittanica as a source where it’s shown as a variant, or somesuch, so it’d be difficult to disqualify.

      Reply
      1. David B

        I just checked this. If you go to the EB article for “Finland, flag of” you get this:

        “when flown by the government, it incorporates a red, white, and yellow coat of arms featuring a lion”

        and indeed the only picture on the page is of the government version with the extra red square at the crossing point of the blue cross.

        Reply
  47. John R

    How big are the question banks for the various games?

    With the rate some of the contestants have been passing this week I’m surprised they haven’t ran out! (Or duplicated questions on different shows).

    Reply

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