Watching Telly: Brian Conley’s Timeline

By | September 25, 2013

Thanks very much to Lewis Murphy of Fifty 50 Show for this, this recording was yesterday.

– For the lazy, here’s the short version: it’s round 2 of Accumulate.

– I had to go all the way to Sky Studios in Brentford for this. A long old trip across London to Osterley tube, then a 30 minute walk to the east, then getting completely lost trying to find the studio entrance with zero help or signage. Not a good start, Sky/Applause Store. Luckily I did find it. Obviously.

– So the set. Studio 5 for this, if anyone cares. Small studio compared to most I’ve been in so the set is obviously small as well, but for this show it works. There’s 3 podiums across the centre of the set for the teams, with Brian’s stand off to one side facing them (he will rarely use this). Behind the 3 teams is a screen mostly for the audience’s benefit, as the podiums have TOUCH SCREEN TECHNOLOGY in them for the gameplay. In front of that is some close-audience seating, then the stands. Here is the whole thing illustrated by a professional. The set is lit orange for most of the show, except for the final round, which I’ll get to when I get to it.

– Each team is a Pointless-style pair who know each other in some fashion. In this show we had a couple engaged to be married, a mother/daughter pair, and work colleagues who I swear I recognise from somewhere maybe they were on Pointless one time.

– We cleverly combine explaining the rules of the show with the order decision-making process: we see a “timeline” or a line with five years marked on it in chronological order. Then we see an event, for example Roger Moore’s birth. The audience is encouraged to give the year they believe it goes onto, then it’s shown if the answer’s correct with a DING! or incorrect with a BUZZ, along with green or red colour filter. If it was wrong, it’s moved to the correct place (I imagine, it was right in this case) and a second item comes up for another example go.

– After this, a third item to place comes up, and the teams must buzz to try to put it in correctly. Get it right, you’re going first, get it wrong, you’re going last. The fourth item comes up and the remaining two teams can buzz in to claim it. The fifth item is filled in, in a jokey manner.

– So on to round 1 proper. The first team is given 3 categories to choose from, then have to fill in an entire timeline themselves with 5 items given to them from the start (for example, one of the questions was to match fast food chains with the year they first opened in the UK, and the items KFC, Wimpy, Burger King, Subway and McDonalds were given). They do this by using TOUCH SCREEN TECHNOLOGY to move things around on their podiums, and the process is also shown on the screen behind them. They have 1 minute to put things in, and can rearrange as much as they like until they hit the button in the corner to stop the clock.

– Brian comes up to the pair to have a chat and then reveal whether each item was correctly placed, one by one. One point for each item they have in the correct place (unlike Accumulate, no increasing point values here). At the end, the correct timeline is shows, so we can see how well we did at home.

– As it goes along, obviously each team has fewer categories to choose from, so there is advantage to going first.

– Nobody is eliminated at the end of round 1, and scores are carried over into round 2. Round 2 plays exactly the same, with 2 differences: the time is reduced to 45 seconds for each team, and we’re no longer restricted to years things happened (for example, one of the questions was to place various UK tourist attractions alongside the number of people who visited in 2012). The lowest-scoring team after round 1 goes first in this round.

– After round 2, the lowest scoring team is eliminated. If there’s a tie for last, then the slowest team in round 2 goes out.

– It’s at this point where we had to re-shoot the intro to the show. Yes now, after a team has been eliminated, but they nonetheless had to act excited. This begins to show the competency level of the team here (admittedly on their second day of recording) that will continue on.

– Anyway, on to round 3. As a team has been eliminated a podium has to be removed and the remaining two re-centred. Since we had an overhead view of each team this means we also have to reposition the cameras to do so. Yes this takes forever.

– Scores are still carried over into round 3 (this will be important later) which is somewhat different. The lowest-scoring team still goes first, and chooses from 3 years rather than categories. They are then given six events, 3 of which did happen in that year and 3 didn’t. They obviously have to sort them out correctly, for each correct answer they get TWO points. Astute readers will notice they can only score 0, 4, 8, or 12 points in this round.

– The highest scoring team after all’s said and done goes through to the cash final (again, ties are sorted by time used in the previous round). Once again a podium is removed and the remaining podium is centred, thankfully the camera in the centre is stationary so there’s no need for any more jiggery there. Funnily enough the set is now lit green for the final, not threatening red as most sets do these days.

– The final timeline has six consecutive years marked on it, and the team are given five categories. For each category a video is played, and they have to put the video onto the timeline correctly. The video could be a music video, a movie clip, a news extract, etc. If they get it correct, they get £500, if not then it’s moved to the correct position.

– This is where the points accumulated in the game so far come into play. They start with 15 seconds, then are given 5 seconds for each time crys- I mean, point they have. This time does count down while the videos are playing, but after they place the video they hit the button to stop the timer and that’s when the reveal is given before the next category is picked.

– It’s an interesting concept. You can save the categories you know less about until later, when there are fewer years to choose from, but because there’s a red herring year there will always be a decision to make.

– After that they have some amount of money between 0 and £2500. They are then presented with one last round-1-style timeline with 5 years marked, and the question they will have to answer, but NOT the items they’ll have to place. They are asked whether they want to play this timeline on double-or-nothing stakes or walk away.

– If they play, they are given 45 seconds (I think) to complete the timeline. The pair I saw didn’t play, but it seems to have been implied that they can push the button Wipeout style to see how many are correct and then keep rearranging as necessary.

– This makes the maximum prize for an hour-long show £5000, which is touted over and over throughout the show, and the audience is expected to “ooh” appropriately every darn time. Compare this to Challenge’s revival of Blockbusters which offered prizes worth up to several hundred quid for a half hour show.

– This recording seemed to take FOREVER. Well ok not quite as long as the infamous Don’t Scare the Hare pilot, but still a pretty long time. Doors closed at 2:15 pm, we started not long after that, and didn’t get out until 6:45 or so. For one hour-long show (breaks are placed awkwardly mid-rounds by the way). Again, this was the team’s second day on the show, so who knows if they’ll improve, but it took longer than a Q&A show should. It was plagued with reshoots, pickups, and technical difficulties in the final round with the TOUCH SCREEN TECHNOLOGY.

Thanks Lewis. I think I’m slightly disappointed by this for two reasons: the description as sold suggested much more of a time is money aspect, or at least doing it quickly during the rounds would help you during the endgame which I thought sounded like quite an interesting short-term vs long-term mechanic but it turns out that’s just down to score (which is fairly interesting in the Every Second Counts stylee but not very interesting). Secondly I find the idea of this taking 4.5 hours to film absolutely baffling.  When I saw Amazing Greys the other day, that had a large set plus several challenge builds and was filmed as an hour long show but they were done in just over 2.5 hours. This is a small set with probably lots of fixed shots. What the hell are you up to?

I hope Brian Conley was entertaining at least.

14 thoughts on “Watching Telly: Brian Conley’s Timeline

  1. Martin With a Y not an I

    #pedantry alert

    Sky’s studios are at Brentford, not Brentwood. Although some would argue its actually Osterley, but Brentford is the largest town nearby.

    And the way I would go to the studios is train from Waterloo to Syon Lane station, turn left out of the station up the minor incline to the A4, head under the subway and find my way from there. Or tube to either Hammersmith station then the H91 bus to opposite the Sky Hq.

    1. Lewis

      1: Oops, my genuine mistake there. I always forget that there two Brent-something places, and whenever I need to say one I just say the first that pops into my head. Please correct, Brig!
      2: The H91 was an option from Osterley too, but I loathe getting on buses if I’ve never been to the area before, as I have a fear of not knowing when to get off. Certainly the train from Waterloo option might have been better (I imagine it’s ok on a zone 1-6 travelcard? I know Borehamwood is, so)

    2. Weaver

      Please don’t get me started on spatial geography. You got me started on spatial geography. The SKY studios are in the Osterley and Spring Grove ward of Hounslow borough council, in the Brentford and Isleworth constituency.

      Syon Lane, like Osterley, is in zone 4. It’s a station where 75% of the trains are paying tribute to ABBA, being on a route from Waterloo to Waterloo.

      Brentwood in Essex is, of course, well outside SKY’s defined coverage area of the north bank of the Thames in west London, approximately bounded by Staines, Kew, and Yeading.

  2. Daniel Peake

    Amazingly, the Sky studios are about a 20 minute walk from my house! You should have popped by.

    Also – love the TL;DR version.

    TRIVIA: The red herring was put in the Accumulate! round as, because of the increasing point mechanic, the difference between getting 3 right and 5 right answers was 6 points to 15 points. Then we found it worked really well and liked it, and so it stayed.

    1. Mart with a Y not an I

      So that’s what Thierry does when he is not filling in for William on Tele Matin!

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      Speaking of French shows, I read the other day that there was a version of The Amazing Race in French. Looking at Wikipedia, the challenges look reasonably spirited and there is more of an emphasis of informative tourism in the programme; I was hoping for this, as a sort of corollary to the principle that much as US versions of international formats often miss the point, French versions often reinterpret the point in an interesting fashion. It’s been broadcasted on a digital-only channel but the ratings were weak even for the channel; nevertheless, I think they signed a deal to make two seasons to cut costs, like Wanted did back in the day.

      Anyone seen it? Any good as TAR versions go?

      1. Setsunael

        Even if they already paid for a second season, D8 (part of Canal+ group) said they won’t produce it and oficially axed it.

        It was quite too long (2+ hour episodes for each leg), with a weak casting. The rating went downhill each episode – curious programming choices not helping since it aired on Monday nights – final episode airing ..for Christmas Eve.

  3. Nico W.

    Although I think, Raab is doing almost everything right, the ratings are different. His daily late night (this sounds so weird) hasn’t had any good ratings and stopped every audience flow on Prosieben for months now. Furthermore the only one of his event shows that works is Schlag den Raab, yesterday there was the Bundesvision Song Contest (BuViSoCo) and it had quiet bad ratings. Only in the 14-29 demographics working superbly, in all the other demographics it was bad and worse than ever since 2005. I’m glad Prosieben won’t put most of his shows on hiatus, as they will be afraid, he’d might move Schlag den Raab and the Wok WM (while writimg I realised that this was still working alright, not as good as it used to be, but good for Prosieben) to another channel, if he’s pissed for all the shows they took from him. Only really special shows like Absolute Mehrheit (he is nominated for a Fernsehpreis for best info programme with this) could be up for cancellation as he himself has said, it might not work and they would have to stop it then.

  4. CeleTheRef

    watching AUA! now. the Ministrel came out. His subject is “question of the day” a question based on something that happened that day, on a past year.
    his entrance music is the theme of “Almanacco Del Giorno Dopo” an old popular RAI program.

    it looked like this

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Ah ha, thank you. He made an appearance last week and I wondered what his subject was.

      Did you see the cloaked ladies the other night? I was trying to work that out.

  5. Pingback: Fifty 50 Episode 41 – Big Star’s Little Star | Fifty 50

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