In short, it is a show where the app playing public actually have influence over the results of the on-screen contestants.
At the recording, there was the main studio audience in HQ1 at Media City, and about 600 people spread across HQ3 and the mezzanine. The latter two, of which I was included, were watching the show on ‘cinema like’ screens, acting the part of the ‘nation’, playing along on the iOS app. Basically, that’ll be the public if the show gets a run. It is to be noted that the play along warm up, Andy Collins, said some of the HQ1 lot had keypads so that if the app failed, the quiz could still go along as per the independent adjudicators rules. Anyway, there was a lot of faf with WIFI (imagine 600 iPads trying to connect to the same network), but eventually most seemed to be online and working- even if it was after the test run. For note, the main warm up guy in HQ1 (who actually did most of HQ3/mezzanine warmup via the screen, Collins just ate Crunchies and threw Maoams), was Stuart Holdham (?), the Dale Winton lookalike. He seemed brilliant.
Onto the main show and the hosts were Alex Jones of ‘The One Show‘ and the upcoming ‘Tumble‘ and comedian Frank Skinner, with the five contestants being #EssexLAD and mummy’s boy Richie; Welsh opera singer Gary; Scottish duck herder Mark (he wore a kilt); Sophia, who had the world record for longest kiss and is a keen kickboxer and Northern Irish Pam, who lost five stone through hula hooping alone.
The show opened with a cheesy VT from Skinner and Jones, and after some cringeworthy and totally ‘unscripted’ scripted ‘banter’, there was info on how to play along, even though it had been drilled into our heads before- DO NOT TURN OFF THE APP, DO NOT DRAIN YOUR BATTERY LIFE (I did, what else was I expected to do in the arduous and ludicrous two and a half hour wait?)
Before the show began, the five were asked a survey question, ‘what percentage of households have a dog’. As Richie answered the closest (I think it was about 23%), his VT was played and he stepped up to the hot seat. Here, Skinner introduced the five categories on offer to him- Food and Drink, UK Landmarks, The Royal Family, Pop Music and Sports Stars. He went for Pop Music and chose to face Mark (the person in the hot seat choses category and opponent) so Mark’s VT was played and after more classic bantz, Jones went through the five questions and four answers for each, but not before saying ‘press start now’ to the ‘viewers at home’. (This was a major flaw, as unlike the Million Pound Drop app, the questions are not wholly synced, instead you must press at the right time or the timer won’t match that on the screen. This was a nightmare because sometimes your timer had run out before the song had played on the show, during a name that tune style question, for example). So after the questions were read, they went through them again, one by one and each gave the answer they locked in. For each correct answer, they got £1,000, but if they had beat the nation too (less than 50% of app players got it right), they would get an extra £1,000. As Richie won this round, he stayed in the hoteseat and Mark went to the losers’ lounge (a sofa opposite adjacent to the main set bit). Richie then picked Gary and played The Royal Family. Gary won so moved to the hotseat and picked Sophia and UK landmarks, he won again and was left with Pat and picked Sports Stars. He defeated Pat, also, meaning he was in the final round. (As a side note, before each round, the app players were asked a survey question, such as do you prefer Prince Harry or Prince William; do you prefer rock or pop music etc, and that was used for statistics- ‘Prince Harry fans were better at that round’.) After each round, the winners’ money was added to the prize fund.
So, in the final round all Gary had to do was Beat The Nation. He would be given five questions, one from each of the five categories presented earlier. For everyone he got right, he got a point. For every one that more of 50% of app users got right, the nation got a point. If he beat the nation, his £22,000 accumulated would be doubled to £44,000; if he drew with the nation, his £22,000 would stay the same, and if the nation won, his £22,000 would be halved to £11,000 (the main flaw in the game, it should have been nothing for a non-win, in my opinion). Anyway, the questions were played as normal but after, the hosts told Gary that for one of his questions, during the answers, he could ask the ‘losers lounge’ for their opinion- at this point he has the choice to stick with his answer or go with the losers. It was the final question and whether he took away £44k or £22k relied on them, really, as he was unsure. He changed his answer and went with the losers, but it was wrong (his first choice right) and so he drew with the nation, winning £22k. But, if the losers would have been right, they would have got £1k each too, as ‘compensation’.
With the app side of it, other than the issue above, and a few teething problems displaying images and round names, it was alright. The Facebook and Twitter integration was already setup, and there was a clear leaderboard by round and by game (your money is also doubled if you beat the nation etc).
Overall, it was decent. People walked out though (of the screening room). But this was because of the lengthy waiting around, I think. Maybe not the best choices for hosts, either but they certainly weren’t horrendous.
So there we are.